Make Sure Your Event Has Enough Power – And What To Do If The Unexpected Happens

Each moving part of your live event requires electricity. Your caterer needs power supplies for the refrigerators plugged in near the buffet line, your AV production team requires power for lights and sound, the speakers need electrical equipment to run their PowerPoint presentations and mics, your attendees need outlets to plug in their phones and computers to charge between sessions — the list is almost endless! 

Event planners have to think about all sorts of things when planning for a live event. Even though you may not think about it, electricity is #1 when it comes to an event, and reliable power at any event is critical to your event’s success. It’s important for you to plan ahead for the electrical needs and make sure that the venue has the necessary power requirements so you can have a successful event. 

Here are some electrical supply tips from our team of event professionals. 

Four-piece band performs on a small stage in a tent with bright lighting design and people dancing

What Should You Know About Electricity At Events? 

Whether you’re planning a small corporate outdoor event or a larger event like an arena concert for 30,000 people, it is your duty as the event organizer you need to research and determine the energy and power requirements for your events. Electrical and power system terminology gets pretty technical, so working closely with the venue or a professional event production company to help with the planning of the electrical needs will help ease the technical work. It will also help ensure you have the correct power sources for your upcoming events.

 large amount of cable plugged into equipment on a tableFirst, you need to determine what and who will need a power source during your event. This includes the laptops for your presenters, caterers, entertainers at concert events, AV, lighting, computers, LED screens, vendors on the tradeshow floor, and anything else that may be specific to your event design. 

Once you determine the electric utility needs for your event, you can then look for a venue that has the power requirements you need. The electrical power you need for your event should be negotiated in your event contract. Remember, each of your vendors may have different power needs, so get the power specifications from the venue and provide those specs to the vendors ahead of time.

If your venue can’t provide the necessary power supplies for your event or the outdoor venue doesn’t offer a power supply at all, you may need to rent a generator. When renting a generator from an event production company or other equipment rental company, make sure you have the cable lengths necessary to reach all your vendors. Also, make sure you get spider boxes (also known as portable power distribution boxes) to provide adequate power around the entire event space.

Two diesel generators are parked behind concert stage and mobile LED screen on a sunny day

What Happens If A Power Disruption Occurs?

On Saturday, January 29th in Pikeville, KY, the city suddenly went dark. The fourth show of Cody Johnson’s 2022 tour started with Easton Corbin opening the evening. Then a transformer blew in downtown Pikeville. This electrical outage cut the power to Appalachian Wireless Arena and sent the fans at the sold-out show into a brief panic. While the house lights quickly came on with the backup generator, there wasn’t enough generator power to run the full concert performance.

music performers on stage in a dark arena with audience members waving cell phone lights in the crowd

With the unexpected loss of power, our communications system went down. Our crew on the tour, Lance, James and Britin, connected with the engineers on tour with Cody Johnson to talk about the options to continue the show with backup power. There wasn’t a generator available to the crew, but our techs got creative. Lance, James, and Britin helped run power from Cody Johnson’s tour bus outlet to the stage to power four channels: Cody’s microphone, Cody’s guitar, one fiddle, and one acoustic guitar. 

As the crew set the stage to run the smaller PA speakers, Cody took the stage and talked with the fans to let them know what was happening. He let them know that our crews were working to get something set up so he could continue the show. “Thanks for being patient,” Cody said to the crowd. “Thanks for being out here earlier. They’re gonna get it fixed and there’s no way we’re leaving, so stick around.”

 

Despite the musicians on stage not having any monitors to hear themselves, they played with a passion and created an unforgettable musical experience for the 7,000 country music fans in attendance. 

 

Cody’s production team was able to mix and communicate during a 40-45 minute acoustic set. The city of Pikeville made it a priority to restore power to the arena as soon as possible. Everyone at the concert was thankful for that. No equipment was damaged in the outage, and the production crew was able to quickly troubleshoot and reset. The rest of the show went on as originally planned.  

@harrisonpedalsteel

Story time! #cojonation #codyjohnson #fyp #tourlife #countrymusic #concert #kentucky #foryou #foryoupage #livemusic #storytime @Cody Johnson

♬ Nothin’ on You – Cody Johnson

The teamwork that happened between our team and Cody Johnson’s crew was incredible. It was the quick thinking of the teams, the talent behind the consoles, and the trust in the musicians that allowed this night to be one to remember for the country music fans in Pikeville, KY. 

We are so proud of our Wired Production Group touring crew for being so professional and strategically supporting this once in a lifetime concert experience. 

This is yet one more reason why it’s important to have a professional production team at your next event. If you want to talk with us about your event needs, contact us today.