Out and About

What to Take to an Open Air Concert

Have you considered the things you’d take to an open air concert?

The idea of spending any time considering what we’d need or how to prepare ourselves never occured to us.

The Kate Rusby concert last Saturday night was, strangely, the first time I’d been to something like this. By the time we saw the Grimethorpe Colliery Band on Sunday, we’d moved a huge way along our learning curve.

And so, in the spirit of life being about learning from experience, I thought I’d share the benefits of that curve.


‘Must Have’s

A chair each. This seems really simple.
I’d wanted to take a pair of wooden chairs that we have for sort of occasional occasions when we’re inundated with people visiting (which is never) or when Mike’s dying my hair in the bathroom and I need something to sit on because he’s so slow (which is about every two months). But Mike said that would be daft and took himself off to Argos on Saturday morning to invest in a pair of special outdoor concert chairs.
(When we read the reviews beforehand, a man had complained that the metal frame has bits at the front which are a bit oppressively poking, which they kind of are – but that didn’t really matter because our legs were almost numb with cold after about an hour).

Warm Clothes. Don’t underestimate.
My first effort was to wear a fairly flimsy jersey top with a fleece jacket over it. And that was it.
On Sunday night, I had hat, gloves, jumper, Mike’s big coat and my fleece over my knees.I was still cold.
(Mike wore a t-shirt and a gillet, but I think he was making a statement of some kind).
Be windproof, be tucked in and have at least a double covering everywhere.

Extra Warm Clothes. Really. Don’t underestimate.
Take more than you think you’ll need.

A Flask.  This was one that puzzled me and I’ve only just got to the bottom of it.
We’re not always as frugal as we could be, but neither are we fond of paying lots of money for what’s really only a cup of water with some brown stuff in it (we both drink our coffee black).
I’d wanted to take a flask on Sunday. Mike talked me out of it, which is really unusual for him.
It turns out that there was a very nice lady vicar in the tea tent who he was quite taken with on Saturday and he’d decided that he wanted to go back and support her efforts.
Otherwise, I think we’d have taken a flask.


‘Nice to Have’s

Table. Don’t laugh. We were really out of the in crowd without one.
The thing is that foldable chairs aren’t really made for a lot of bending down and leaning over to fetch things. So a little table would have been useful to put the drinks on (and picnic – see below).

Picnic. It turns out that there’s a break in the middle for food.
We were a bit perplexed at that at first; it was much longer than a normal theatre interval.
On the Saturday night, Mike and I had to entertain ourselves with gentle chat with each other whilst all around us people were tucking into all manner of things.
On Sunday, we were ready and waiting for the break so we could start unwrapping the various bits that we’d brought with us.


Borderline Eccentricities

Candelabra. I can see the fun in taking something like this along, and they do look kind of pretty.
But I don’t think that I’d want to be bothered in fetching something along that I’d be fretting about blowing off  / being knocked off the table.

Little Bits in Tupperware Boxes. There were people all around us who’d really gone to town with bits of things brought along to put the finishing touches to a really exotic picnic.
We’ve never really been tupperware picnic people, and so it was quite strange to be amongst people who had boxes and boxes of the stuff. Savoury things, sweet things, little bits of salad chopped up in separate boxes. Portions of things like yogurts poured out of their perfectly useful pots and into tupperware.
I don’t think I could face the washing up afterwards.


The thing that really made me smile was that all of the people we saw at the weekend seemed to be really practiced outdoor concert-goers and were all so much better prepared than we were. They clearly had ‘kit’ that comes out ‘specially for these occasions, and they were really clear on making a beeline for their favourite spot.

Our next outdoor event (and part of the reason that we went to these two to get a bit of practice in) is on the 10th of September in London. I’m so looking forward to feeling a bit more prepared this time…

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