Choosing the Right AV Equipment for Outdoor Festivals

Outdoor festivals are unique events that bring people together to enjoy live music, art, and culture in an open setting. These gatherings, ranging from small community fairs to large music festivals, require planning and execution to ensure they leave lasting impressions on event attendees. An important aspect of event production and planning involves selecting the right audio-visual (AV) equipment, which significantly influences the festival experience.

The essence of an outdoor festival lies in its ability to deliver clear sound and visuals and seamless performances, regardless of the environmental challenges posed by the great outdoors. The right AV equipment for outdoor festivals ensures that every note of music, every visual effect, and every announcement reaches the audience size as intended, enhancing their engagement and enjoyment.

Understanding the Outdoor Festival Environment

Unlike indoor venues, where conditions can be controlled, outdoor settings introduce variables that significantly impact the choice of AV technology when planning an outdoor event.

Weather Considerations

Equipment needs to be resilient enough to withstand conditions such as rain, wind, and extreme temperatures. Waterproof or weather-resistant speakers and microphones are essential to ensure functionality regardless of weather changes. Additionally, measures should be taken to protect other equipment from moisture and dust, which could compromise sound quality and equipment longevity.

Space and Layout

Outdoor festivals are often spread over large areas, challenging sound and visual quality. The size of the space and the layout of the audience area dictate the type and quantity of audio-visual equipment needed. Directional speakers and large LED screens ensure that sound and visuals are distributed evenly, providing a cohesive experience for attendees, whether they’re in the front row or at the back of a large crowd.

Power Requirements

Power distribution for AV equipment outdoors requires strategic planning. The availability of power sources and the need for portable generators or battery packs should be assessed in advance. Wireless systems can reduce the need for extensive cabling, but their battery life and range limitations must be considered. Efficient power management ensures all equipment operates smoothly throughout the event, preventing interruptions and maintaining the desired atmosphere.

AV Equipment for Outdoor Events

Specific AV equipment is indispensable for an outdoor festival to captivate its audience. These tools ensure the delivery of clear sound and visuals across expansive outdoor spaces, enhance the overall attendee experience and create lasting memories. 

Sound Equipment 

The backbone of any festival, sound systems, must be powerful enough to carry audio clearly while overcoming ambient noises. Selecting speakers offering wide coverage and consistent sound quality include line array speakers, which are ideal for projecting sound evenly over long distances. Similarly, wired and wireless microphones ensure that vocals and instruments are captured, which is essential for live performances.

Lighting Equipment 

The lighting design of outdoor concerts is just as important as sound. From stage lights that sync with the music to ambient lighting that illuminates the venue, the strategic use of lighting can dramatically affect the attendees’ experience. Outdoor lighting like LED fixtures, floodlights, and laser lights, known for their energy efficiency and versatility, allow for a spectrum of effects, from subtle washes to intense beams, creating an immersive environment. Proper lighting highlights performers and guides attendees through the space and ensures safety after sundown, an element in the festival’s visual and experiential design.

Visuals and Video Equipment 

Visual and video equipment ensure attendees far from the stage are captivated by the performances. High-brightness projectors, large outdoor LED screens, and video walls offer clear, daylight-visible visuals, while high-definition video cameras capture and stream live action, ensuring no one misses a moment. This enhances the atmosphere, bringing a cinematic quality to the festival and making every performance visually stunning and memorable.


The staging is a pivotal aspect of the outdoor festival’s AV setup. An optimally designed stage enhances visibility and engagement by elevating performers and seamlessly integrates with AV components for a flawless presentation. Durable and strategically designed outdoor stages ensure safety and functionality, accommodating the unique demands of outdoor environments. This integration supports the overall performance quality, ensuring every aspect of the festival’s audiovisual experience is cohesive and impactful. The right stage design considers the placement of AV equipment, maximises space for performers and crew, and incorporates safety features, all while creating a visually appealing focal point for the event.

Mixing and Control Equipment 

Reliable mixing and control equipment is essential to blend sounds and visuals seamlessly. Digital mixers allow precise control over audio levels and effects, which is necessary for live performances. Video mixers and controllers synchronise visuals with the music, creating a cohesive experience. Equipment that offers flexibility and ease of use, especially in live event settings, can significantly improve performance quality.

STLS’s experience in delivering effective AV solutions is highlighted in our case studies of Black Pride 2023 and Camp Wildfire Festival, showcasing our role in turning an outdoor festival’s vision into reality.

Installation and Setup Tips for Outdoor Festivals

Proper installation and equipment setup for outdoor event production will determine its success. This process requires careful planning and execution to ensure that the event runs smoothly and that all attendees have a great experience. 

Site Planning

Before any equipment is installed, thorough site planning is essential. This involves mapping the festival area to identify optimal locations for stages, speaker placement, screens, and lighting fixtures. Consider factors like audience flow, sightlines, and the natural acoustics of the outdoor space. Ensure that there is enough space for equipment and that it is placed in locations where it can perform optimally without obstruction.

Technical Setup

Once the planning phase is complete, the technical setup begins. This includes the physical installation of speakers, screens, lighting, and any other AV equipment. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation to ensure that equipment is set up safely and correctly for health and safety regulations. Conducting sound checks and visual tests is essential to adjust settings to the outdoor environment, ensuring clarity and visibility are maintained across the festival site.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Issues can arise even with planning and setup, so be prepared to troubleshoot common problems. This might involve having backup equipment on hand, such as spare microphones or cables, and ensuring that technical staff are available throughout the event to address any technical glitches quickly. Knowledge of quick fixes for common AV issues can prevent minor problems from escalating and disrupting the festival.

Recognising the complexities and challenges of selecting, installing, and managing AV solutions for outdoor festivals, STLS offers event production services tailored to meet the specific needs of your festival. With our technical expertise and extensive inventory of high-quality, reliable AV equipment, we alleviate the stress of technical planning and execution. Our team of professionals will handle everything from initial site planning to the final setup, ensuring that every aspect of your event’s audiovisual experience is seamless and impactful. Partnering with STLS means entrusting your event to experts committed to making your outdoor festival a memorable success for you and your attendees. Let us take care of the technical details so you can focus on creating an unforgettable experience.

Planning an Outdoor Festival? Choose STLS Audio-Visual Equipment Hire 

As you plan your next outdoor festival, remember that the right AV equipment will create memorable experiences for your attendees. With STLS’s range of high-quality, reliable AV equipment and our expert support team, you’re not just hiring equipment but partnering with professionals dedicated to making your event a resounding success. Whether you’re facing the unpredictability of weather, the complexities of outdoor spaces, or the challenge of engaging a large audience, STLS is here to ensure your festival sounds and looks its best. Don’t leave your event’s success to chance. Contact STLS today to discuss how to assist with your outdoor festival.