You’re planning an outdoor event a few months out. You’ve got audio, lights, entertainment, marketing, invites, and everything else in place and ready to go. The day of the event comes and, when you look outside, you see clouds and rain with no signs of going away.

Ever happened to you? 

Dealing with and preparing for bad weather is an inescapable issue when planning events outdoors. Even when conditions, locations, and time of the year are working in your favor, there’s still a chance of inclement weather taking a toll on your event.

I had an event a couple of years ago in the middle of the summer in the desert of Dubai and, like clockwork, it ended up raining for the first time in two months on the day of the event. And that’s not counting plenty of other events I’ve worked where we had to deal with rain and storms (check me out in the picture at the top of the page…).

You can’t escape bad weather at events, but you CAN prepare for it! Let’s explore 4 simple ways that you can prepare for whatever comes when planning an outdoor event.

1. Bring Covers

Almost all events have some aspect of audio, lighting, and other technical equipment that is expensive and adverse to water. If you’re planning an event outdoors, there’s always a chance of rain coming in and down-pouring on everything that you have set up. The cost of replacing all of this equipment can make the effects of a short rainfall last and affect everything from the event continuing to a largely changing budget for the event (depending on how much equipment is set up).

It is always prudent to bring along enough tarp or other type of water resistant materials to be able to cover all materials that cannot get wet. That way, if it starts raining, you are able to minimize water damage regardless of whether or not the event continues. To make the most of your coverings, make sure that you have a plan in place.

2. Make Sure Your Employees Know the Plan

Now that you have your tarp to cover up equipment in case of rain, you need to have a plan for covering everything up and this plan needs to be communicated to the rest of your team. If it starts to rain or storm, everyone should know who is covering what, who is moving which pieces of equipment, and where to find the coverings.

Taking time before the event starts or even before setup to have a meeting with your team going over the logistics will ensure that everyone is on the same page.

That way your team can be the most efficient when the time comes to save your precious, expensive equipment. With a plan, you will minimize the water damage to your sound boards, light boards, speakers, lights, projectors, and more.

3. Have an Evacuation Plan

In the event that the weather turns for the worst, the top priority needs to be to evacuate your attendees to a safe and secure location. An evacuation plan needs to be in place that everyone working the event, from stage managers to security, needs to know about.

This way there will be the safest and most efficient evacuation in case of dangerous weather. Make sure that everyone working the event has a contact sheet with everyone’s contact information in case it is needed during an evacuation.

4. Have a Backup Location

If possible, always plan on having a backup, indoor location for an event that is being planned outdoors. I know this isn’t always possible with budget constraints and size of events, but having a place nearby in the back of your pocket that you can transfer the essentials of your event to in case of rain or bad weather can allow you to continue with the most important aspects of your event at a safe location.

Dealing with bad weather is pretty common for event planners. 

Tell us about your experiences dealing with bad weather in the comment box at the bottom of the page!