Six Tips for Surviving Outdoor Summer Gigs

This year I’m performing about one hundred days outside at fairgrounds across the USA. That’s a lot of shows outside!  Over the years I’ve learned a few things to make performing outdoors a little easier on your body.  This is what works for me, your mileage may vary.

Hydrate:  If you’re going to be performing outdoors, you need to hydrate. That doesn’t mean just drinking water during  your show, it means drinking water the day before your outdoor gig.  You need to start the day hydrated.   For me that means drinking at least a gallon of water a day the day before my first day of outdoor gigs and at least a gallon every day I’m in the sun. 

A good indicator of hydration is the color of your pee.  More info on this is at

Sunblock:  Use it correctly.  Apply it 15-30 before you’re in the sun.  I use one that’s for waterproof or for “sport” due to sweating during the show.

Summer Costume:  You need something to wear that’s consistent with your character that is also lighter weight and breathable.  One thing that I do is have a version of what I wear onstage for indoor gigs, but had a tailor convert the pants into shorts and cut the sleeves short.  It makes a huge difference!

Keeping Fresh:  Use a 50/50 mix of water and cheap vodka and put it into a spray bottle.  I use this to deodorize my clothes between shows or at the end of the day.   More info at:

Stay Dry:  I keep a hand towel in my case to dry myself off during shows when I get sweaty.  A magician dripping with sweat isn’t the best look.

Take Breaks:  In between shows I get out of the sun. There’s no shame in sitting for a bit in your car with the AC on to cool off.


Making it Rain!

Performing as many shows as I do around the country at all sorts of different venues you encounter a lot of things. I just had a new one, it was a gorgeous sunny morning, but it was raining onstage!

stage magic show in the rain
stage canopy

What had happened was it was really dewey this morning and moisture had collected on the underside of the stage’s canopy. The top edge of the canopy wasn’t pulled very tight, so it had little valleys the water could pool on and form droplets that fell down on me during during my show.

It was the strangest thing because the audience really couldn’t see this, so it was something that I had to deal with. I did mention it to the audience, so that they were aware of it. That was it didn’t look strange when I pulled out wet props!

magic show case

I did have to move things around to keep more water sensitive things dry. For example my notebooks (svenpads) I put another prop over to keep them dry.

This is a case of be ready for anything that can happen when performing. You never know what you’ll be walking into!