When concerts happen in the rain, you’d think it would dampen everyone’s spirits. However, the show still goes on often even in the middle of a downpour.
Concerts happen in the rain both at music festivals and in stadiums, however organizers need to make sure that all electrical equipment is protected, the crowd can remain safe, and the weather does not present a health risk.
Plenty of music fans have endured wet weather to see their favorite acts perform no matter if there were a few hundred or tens of thousands in attendance.
However, bad weather can cause stage crews and event organizers plenty of challenges.
What Concerts Are Impacted By Rain?
Anyone attending indoor gigs doesn’t need to worry about getting wet at a show. However, for anyone heading to an outdoor show – there’s always a slight risk it might happen.
Should you plan to attend any outdoor event, there’s always going to be a battle with the elements. Even a show that starts with blue skies might turn as hours roll on.
It’s particularly true when heading to bigger shows. You will find that festivals and major shows last for at least several hours. That’s more than enough time for the weather to change for the worse.
Therefore, anyone involved with staging a concert will have a backup plan ready in case it starts to rain – and enable it if necessary.
How Are Concerts Affected By The Rain?
For anyone planning a concert, a rain shower can cause havoc for several reasons. This could be due to:
- Affecting stage equipment
- Causing a slippery stage
- Unsafe crowd environment
- Risk to general health & safety
Therefore, if anyone wants a concert to happen in the rain, they will need to think about what this weather might do in the grand scheme of things.
Everyone knows water and electricity don’t mix. And there’s no bigger disaster for roadies than seeing amps and pedals shutting down to water exposure.
So when the rain comes, all the stagehands know that everything needs to be protected adequately to stop it from shorting out.
And killing the sound isn’t the main concern either. When water connects with live electricity, it sparks and becomes a major fire risk. This puts everyone on stage and in the crowd at risk.
Therefore, if there’s any slight chance of rain, all electrical platforms need to be covered properly to minimize any chance of this happening.
Considering health & safety
Most people will agree that a little bit of rain doesn’t hurt anyone. But that mantra doesn’t stick if a concert happens in the rain.
For performers, a wet stage can be extremely slippery increasing the risk of an accident.
Therefore, the act will need to assess conditions before heading out on stage. By making this assessment they can judge how they can play or if it should be postponed.
There’s also the crowd to consider as rain and even storms can put an end to concerts.
If a show is happening in a muddy festival field, it is easy to slip over. Slipping over when hundreds of people are around is an easy way to get injured. Particularly if everyone around you hasn’t realized you have fallen.
Should the rain turn into a storm, lightning also poses a risk to a show.
It’s these occasions when everything stops immediately, especially since staging can act as a lightning rod and increase the risk of being struck.
How To Rainproof A Concert
Even though rain might make the live experience a disappointment, there are still plenty of ways for the show to go ahead. There are steps that can be taken by both the act and fans.
A bit of initiative and preparation goes a long way into making a concert happen in the rain.
If rain is forecast for a concert, the organizers will have plenty of different plans to make sure everything goes ahead smoothly.
The most common way is by erecting extra cover around the stage itself to minimize any water exposure. On a set stage, this can be done by extending side barriers or overhead rigs to act as a shelter.
This minimizes the stage area from becoming wet but also helps equipment stay dry – especially if a guitarist’s rig is full of pedals and switches.
At stadium shows, some stages are in the middle of the floor – away from direct-side staging. In these cases, a special canopy can be erected to cover the top of the stage.
This still helps keep the stage dry without sacrificing allocated floor space for fans to attend. This way, the performer can minimize any interruptions to their performance routine.
Dressing for the weather
The best thing for fans to do when concerts happen in the rain is to dress appropriately. It’s by far the best chance of reducing any injury and having a good time.
For many fans braving the wet, plastic ponchos are always the preferred item to wear. Not only are these easy to put on & take off, but they are fully waterproof too. It means anything worn underneath won’t get wrecked by a short shower.
There’s also the nature of footwear to consider too. If you know it’s going to rain, bring grippy footwear with you.
Wearing shoes with soles that aren’t going to slide makes it easier to control your movements on wet surfaces. It means that you won’t be likely to slip and fall when jumping or heading into a mosh pit.
You can also bring a change of clothes with you and leave them in your bag in the cloakroom if necessary too. It’s not a bad way to ensure that you get warm if prolonged to the wind and rain. This helps make sure that you feel dry and comfortable on the way home once everything has finished.
What Happens When It Rains At Concerts
Over the years, there have been some hugely iconic moments that arose when concerts happen in the rain. They have gone on to create striking images that define a tour or even the artist themselves.
Prince – Super Bowl XLI
Prince was always a flamboyant character on stage. A performer with a huge stage presence. Well, nothing showcased this better than his half-time show at Super Bowl XLI in 2007.
Prince reeled off hit after hit in Miami but the finale was held in the middle of a huge downpour.
Playing his signature song “Purple Rain”, Prince embraced the downpour and shone as the rain teemed down.
As the outro solo was played, his iconic silhouette image with the rain mesmerized fans. The lasting image has gone down as one of the greatest half-time shows in Super Bowl history.
Few images were more iconic during the 1960s than those taken at Woodstock.
This 1969 music festival has become synonymous with hippie culture as over 500,000 fans revelled over three days. Yet most of the entire event was held in rain-soaked muddy fields. T
he likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead and Creedence Clearwater Revival all played at the show. In particular, it was Hendrix’s performance at the festival that defined a generation of music lovers.
Taylor Swift – Eras Tour
She might be one of the biggest pop stars of today but Taylor Swift is always up for a show. She proved this on her Eras tour in May 2023 where she played a 3.5-hour set in torrential rain.
Held at the Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts, the rain teemed down where Swift kept up with both energetic dance routines and full acoustic sections.
The pictures of her dancing in the rain became huge memes that took over social media and gave her more kudos from music aficionados. Proof that she was anything but a diva on stage.
Concerts can happen in the rain as long as the right precautions are taken.
Organizers will need to assess the risks and weather before a show goes ahead. By doing this, they can erect any stage changes or implement new rules to accommodate the weather change.
Fans can also enjoy their experience more by dressing appropriately if rain is predicted. It’ll help them stay safe when moving around and still allow for them to have a good time.
Many artists have used the rain to put on iconic performances in any era as proven by Prince, Jimi Hendrix and Taylor Swift.