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The Impact of Extreme Temperatures on Music Festival on-site Equipment.

Andy Robertson

Music festivals in remote locations rely on a variety of electronic equipment which can be sensitive to extreme temperatures both hot and cold. What factors do festival organisers need to consider when arranging for the supply of electronic equipment and what steps can they take to ensure there are no failures.

A large array of electronic equipment is required to make a music festival operate in a remote location and can include the backline, mobile devices, scanners, computers, telecoms towers, walkie talkies, lighting and power generators. Most electronic equipment will have a recommended operating temperature range but what happens when the ambient temperature of a summer festival exceeds 40°C or a winter ski resort festival drops to -15°C.

Potential Damage. 
High temperatures can cause electronics to overheat which may lead to a triggered shut-down or even permanent damage. Most electronic equipment contains components that generate heat and if there is an insufficient heatsink system or other external cooling, they can overheat. High temperatures can cause electronics to expand, which puts stress on components and damages connections. The extreme freezing temperatures experienced at a ski resort music festival can cause components to become brittle and crack, leading to malfunction or permanent damage. Battery life is severely impacted by low temperatures and LCD displays can become sluggish and unresponsive.

Supply Specifications and Contingencies.
If the proposed music festival has a possibility of experiencing extreme hot or cold operating temperatures it is essential that suppliers of electronic equipment are briefed correctly. Suppliers will know the normal operating temperature range of their equipment and will make recommendations about necessary precautions to be taken with installation and use. A professional supplier will also provide on-site support to ensure that equipment continues to operate as it should. To negate any possibility of failure due to adverse temperatures it is recommended that suitable backup systems are installed in case of failure.

Recommended Precautions. 
Some backline equipment, computers and other handheld devices are available for performance in extreme outdoor conditions. The rugged outdoor specifications can make equipment more expensive but provide more reliable service in extreme temperatures because they have been designed from the outset to continue operation in a variety of conditions. Larger summer music festivals with bigger budgets may install temporary air-conditioned rooms where sensitive computers, telecoms, and backline equipment like mixers can be located. As a minimum electronic equipment should be located away from direct sunlight. Suppliers responsible for installation of any electronic equipment on-site should be continuously monitoring operating temperatures for the duration of the event so that remedial action can be taken if necessary to prevent failure and any permanent damage.

Careful selection of supplied equipment along with professional support services and on-site planning with adequate contingencies will help avoid potential problems caused by extreme temperatures.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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