Live Outside Gig! Heat 😭

I had the opportunity to play a cool gig at the Busch Gardens food and wine festival here in Tampa this weekend. We opened (kind of, tiny stage and he was on the main one) for the headliner Brett Micheals. It was fun! Loved using C3 to fly between my VSTIs for our different songs! Until…
We played 3 separate sets 1.5 hours apart. Early in the day, I was on the shaded side of the stage. But after the last break, the lead guitarist and I were baking in direct sunlight. Worse yet, I left to wander around the park to ride roller coasters and consume exotic foods and various beers. When I got back to the stage my Surface Pro was shut down due to heat and I had to switch to a hardware Roland board (always have backup!). She never came back up the rest of the day.
She seems ok now, but do any of you guys have any advice on using computers in potentially hot conditions? This thing doesn’t even have a fan inside! Thanks for your responses

First: never have a laptop / surface in direct sunlight - I use something like this:

Also helps see what’s on the screen…

Second: if it’s hot, I’d shut down my machine between sets to give it some time to cool down - maybe take it off-stage to somewhere cooler.

Next: there are some external ventilator solutions to cool your machine:

But of course there are limits; if the air temperature is too high, you’ll run into issues whatever you try. Plus, a combination of moisture and heat is a killer - you’d probably need a special toughbook-type device…




I was at a big event 2 years ago, on concrete, in the Memphis heat and humidity (real feel was 112 degrees) . I used a cooling pad under the laptop, and rigged some shade for it. There was no covering for the band. In direct sunlight on concrete was not what I was expecting, and 3 of the 5 band members had heat exhaustion afterwards. I really thought I was going to pass out before I packed all my equipment. It is really hard to breathe when it gets that way here. I was sure I destroyed my equipment that day, but everything came thru fine, except me. Took me 3 days to get my body back to normal. If I do outdoor gigs in the summer now, it is only with conditions in a contract. Don’t know what would have happened had I not brought a couple of shop fans that day.



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I recommend the Lenovo Thinkpad T-Series. They can stand up to 60°C at 98% humidity.
Mine (T440p, i7) has no problems standing in the bright sun on a hot summer day. No throttle!
Many of them are rented by companies. You can buy 1- or 2-year old laptops for a fraction of the initial price.


They are total workhorses.

Thanks for the suggestions! The laptop puptent is a total no-go… the guys would laugh at me off the stage and Id never hear the end of it. Tablet looks funny enough as it is sitting above my controller.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T-series…that’s what I’m looking for. I never set up in direct sunlight because physically, I don’t like to be standing in the heat. But sometimes, the sun moves over you when you’re not watching and it can happen relatively quickly here in Florida. Some Hardware that’s rather heat resistant is probably the answer I’m looking for. Thank you for the info! Would love to hear more along those lines from other C3 Warriors. Thanks!

I love the tent but I haven’t looked at the cost. Generally a cover and a fan does the job- if it’s so hot the laptop shuts down even with that I’d probably shut down before it did. Of course, newer faster machines run hotter and hotter. Often I used to just sit my machine in an empty 8 space rack. Luckily I don’t really do outdoor gigs much any more.

Edit- $60 for the tent, eh, that’s really not bad. If it doubled as a laptop bag they’d have something there.

Were the they skimpy dressed fans waving the big feathered things like the pharaohs or just the regular groupies?

I got a tent like that … but the cat lives in it.


Just regular sweaty Mom type groupies blowing on us as they would hot food. So embarrassing. :unamused:

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As I get older my standards relax accordingly…


Used to live in Tampa. Now I live in Austin, TX. Both can get unbelievably hot. I had a wedding gig outside once in San Antonio in July. My laptop freaked and horrible noises came out where “Trumpet Voluntary” was supposed to be. I got a bag of ice from the bar keep and set my laptop on it to cool down. It was pretty much over by then, though. The marriage didn’t last either. They were divorced in 6 months.

Funny you mentioned ice. I even put my Surface in a plastic bag and laid in in the ice cooler that our free waters were in…didn’t help. And I was afraid it was going to get wet anyway

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Don’t know what would have happened had I not brought a couple of shop fans that day. I like something like this

I am gigging regularly again, but, there are more outside venues than ever before. No doubt, it is because of social distancing, and the venues will do anything to keep their business afloat.

We’ve been experiencing several weeks of oppressive heat…upper 90’s (fahrenheit) and 70% humidity. Needless to say, I’ve been taking all precautions at my convenience. The concrete and paving in this city contributes to the retention of the heat. So far, no problem with equipment, but I have air circulating from several sources, cooling pads for laptops, and dry towels to wipe sweat off keyboards and guitar. Even with an overhead covering, it becomes brutal. Before playing, I have to change into dry clothing as my “load-in” clothes are totally drenched.

So, as I stand there, wringing wet and cranky, I wonder why in the hell I still do this. Yet, I go back this evening and chance it all again. It proves my theory that all musicians are crazy, in one form or another. :crazy_face:


I had an outdoor gig in the Louisville KY area last night, and although the air temp was not too bad because of thundershowers earlier in the evening, the 75 degree dew point and lack of air circulation made for a stifling atmosphere. Maybe it’s a good thing, with my need to lose some weight! :laughing: