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If you are preparing for a DJ performance or event, and it is going to be set in an outdoor space, then the first thing you need to know is that the setup will be slightly different from the usual indoor venue.
For obvious reasons, of course. Outdoor spaces are usually less prepared for performances, and you have to consider some basics such as being able to plug-in equipment, where to position your equipment, possible shelter, and a lot more.
Also, in indoor venues, they usually already have some of the basic equipment such as cables and the likes, so for outdoor spaces, you really do have to prepare a lot better!
But…what do you need in order to DJ outside? Well, I might not be an official expert, but I’ve had plenty of experience with outdoor DJs, and I have a fair bit of knowledge on the matter. So let me walk you through all the essentials!
Static Vs Portable Outdoor Setups
The first thing that you need to consider is whether you want your outdoor setup to be static or portable.
A static setup is one that is designed to remain in the same place for a long amount of time, it is more stable, usually more professional, and it is for when you’re going to play at an outdoor festival that will last several days, or similar.
A portable setup, on the other hand, is light and convenient to carry around, usually slightly less professional because it prioritizes being moved around with ease.
This is more suitable for when you’re going to be playing outdoors for very little time, or for when you’re going to be “hopping” from place to place. It is also what a busking DJ would use out on the street.
In order to choose between one or the other, consider these basic factors:
- How long will you be performing outdoors?
- Do you need to be able to move the equipment with ease?
- Is it one set location, or a tour of several locations?
- The type of performance and event
Power Options For Outdoor DJing
The main concern for when you DJ outdoors is how to power your equipment, as it’s not as easy as plugging them into the socket in the wall…cause you know, you’re outside.
The main power options that you can consider, are the following:
If the outdoor location is near enough to a main source of power, then you can use extension cables in order to connect your equipment and have it work. This can be convenient, fast, and easy.
However, there are some downsides to this power option. Mainly, connecting too much equipment to an extension cable can cause it to malfunction or blow up, unless it is of very high quality and tested for safety beforehand.
But do you really want to risk your equipment powering down in the middle of a set? The other downside is that the extension cables might get in the way, causing people to trip over them, or being inconvenient for the location that you are in.
A good generator is usually the most reliable power option for an outdoor DJ set, especially as they come in many different sizes, and with many charging options.
A big generator that holds a good amount of power will be the best for a long performance. Plus, you could also have smaller backup generators, pre-connected, just in case something goes wrong, so that your set isn’t interrupted in the slightest!
Battery packs are the most portable and convenient options, as they are easy to use, and you could have several of them to switch between during the performance, depending on how much power you need and for how long.
Just to be on the safe side, I’d say that it’s always better to have plenty of spare battery packs!
Basic DJ Equipment
Regardless of whether you are going to be DJing inside or outside, there is some basic DJ equipment that you are going to most definitely need.
The only difference with it being outdoors is that you have to make sure it is slightly more portable and that you have a good table or stage upon which to place it all!
Here are the basics you need to DJ:
- A DJ controller (preferably, I would recommend using an all-in-one controller for outdoor performances, as it means less equipment is required, and the setup will be a lot more convenient and easy)
- Speakers (keep in mind that for an outdoor space, you will need more powerful speakers that are able to reach the entirety of the public)
Of course, every DJ has their own basic setup and equipment that they deem essential, so make a list beforehand and make sure it is apt for use outdoors!
Shelter (If Needed)
As you are going to be outdoors, it is very important that you consider whether you need some sort of shelter or not, and I would personally recommend that you do have one, for many reasons:
Unless your equipment is completely waterproof, you are going to 100% account for the possibility of rain. You should, of course, check the weather forecast beforehand, but you never know, so it’s best to protect just in case.
Plus, a tent or gazebo will also help protect your equipment from the wind, so that nothing gets knocked over or flies away!
To offer shade
If you’re playing throughout the day, during the summer, you’re going to want to have some shade in order to avoid a possible heat stroke. Plus, you need to be able to see what you are doing, so you can’t be blinded by the sunlight!
To create a “DJ bubble”
Having a tent or gazebo area for your DJ setup will visibly create a space in which you operate, to keep others out of it, and to allow you to organize yourself in the best way possible.