There is nothing better than playing an outdoor gig. Summer sunshine, smells of barbeque or seafood boil, girls in sundresses and shorts; all add up to a good time for everybody. BUT, what about the times when that beautiful, warm sunshine turns into cold cruel rain? The guests at the party can grab their hotdogs and drinks and seek shelter but you’re standing outside on stage with $$$$ of gear. What do you save first?
Simplify the situation by planning ahead. If there is any possibility at all of rain, go ahead and bag your speakers prophylactically. Extra large garbage bags will fit over most main speakers and monitors. If your speakers are bigger than that, you can wrap them in plastic drop cloths secured with duct tape.
Here’s the thing: the only difference you will hear in the sound is a slight rattle or pop of the plastic on the kick drum hits. Everything else sounds fine; vocals are clear, guitar and keyboard loud, snare and cymbals crisp. Sure, they don’t look as cool but playing through garbage bags is far more attractive than shelling out the money to replace your speakers! If you’ve covered them thoroughly, they should be undamaged by a downpour. Wind and lightning are different problems that need their own consideration.
I’ve played entire shows this way with no comment from the client or audience. If somebody does ask about the plastic covered speakers I just tell them “We always practice safe sound”.