Scouting the Venue

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This article is part of the Succeeding in the Performing Arts series. These questions were contributed in Scouting the Venue — a discussion on the Bose® Pro Portable PA Community

Questions to Ask When Scouting the Venue

General Questions

Most of these have been incorporated into the Who, What, When... model below.

  • What volume is acceptable in this place?
  • What external noise factors are there?
  • Does the type of crowd change throughout the night? How quickly?
  • Are there sound issues you weren't aware of?
  • How far ahead of time can I set up? Is the stage area being used for something else before I play?
  • I have my own PA.
    • Am I allowed to use it, or
    • do you insist on my using the one you have set up?
    • Is there a house sound-man?
  • Which entrance do you prefer I bring my equipment through, and how far is it to the stage?
  • If you won't be at the venue when I'm playing, who is my contact person, for pay and instructions?
  • And of course:
    • How big is the stage?
    • IS there a stage?
    • Is it raised at all?
    • Do you have lighting of any kind?
    • How far away is the power?

Topical Break Down

You might use a different model based on a time line through the event, or centered around the physical layout. This is far from complete, but food for thought.

Who
  • Who is in the audience?
    • Does the type of crowd change throughout the night? How quickly?
  • Who do we talk to if there are issues?
  • Who do we talk to to get paid?
  • Who is running the sound system?
  • Who else will need to access the stage?
    • Special events may have talkers, announcements, auctions, guest performers.
What
  • What volume is acceptable in this place?
  • What external noise factors are there?
  • What kind of music are you expecting?
  • What kind of sound system do you have?
  • What kind of music do you play in the background?
  • What kind of stage do you have?
    • How big is it?
    • Where is it?
    • Is it elevated?
  • What is the dress code?
  • What is your policy about food and drink for the performers?
  • What is your policy about having non-paid performers on the stage?
  • What is your policy about original music?
When
  • When can we gain access to the premises?
  • When can we access the stage area?
  • When will the audience arrive?


This can be important if this is a special event.

  • When do we start playing?
  • When do we take breaks?
  • When will the announcements, events or speeches happen? (Special Events)
  • When do we shut down?
    • Are encores okay?
Where
  • Where do we park?
    • Is there a loading zone or loading bay?
  • Where do we load in?
  • Where do we store gear, bags, cases, anything that should not be visible on the stage?
  • Where do you want us to go during the breaks? (the bar, the lounge, a "band" table).
  • Where is the stage?
  • Where are the electrical outlets?
    • What else is on the same circuits?
    • Are there any outlets that we should not use?
  • Where does the sound have to be heard?
    • Is there any place where the sound will not be reachable from the stage? (outside, separate rooms, balconies)
Why
  • Why does this venue have live music?
  • Why are the people in the audience there?
  • Why are you holding this event? (Wedding, Funeral, Concert, Party, ...)
    • Will there be photographers, video, recording?
How
  • How big is the room?
  • How big is the stage?
  • How do we get paid?
  • How do you want us to handle requests? (Happy Birthday?)
  • How is the stage lit?
  • How do you want us to access the stage?
    • Is there a set route through the venue.