Outdoor events are always at the mercy of the weather in England and the Sheldon Open Air Theatre is no exception! Some of you have asked questions about how we make the decision when to stage and when to cancel a concert when the weather is unfavourable, so we thought an explanation page would be helpful.
These are the 3 big questions
- Are the performers happy that conditions will be safe for them to go ahead and perform?
- Can we get everyone booked safely in and out of the carparking field?
- Can we get everyone booked safely in and out of the theatre?
If the weather looks problematic this is what we do
- We talk to the performers and their technical people. Are they okay with their electrical equipment? Are they willing to go ahead?
- We check the ground conditions in the parking field, pathways and the theatre itself. Ground that is already saturated from weeks of rain turns into a slippery mudbath much more quickly than dry ground that can soak up rain. If we have already staged one wet concert, conditions may be more challenging for the next one.
- We check the number of tickets sold. A concert with a smaller audience can be staged more safely than a large sell-out crowd.
- We check the team. Do we have plenty of experienced team members to be confident in our stewarding?
- We check the forecast carefully as the concert approaches.
- Are all the forecasts saying roughly the same? What are the maps showing? What are the % chances of rain?
- A 90% chance of heavy rain throughout the concert - almost certainly cancel.
- Heavy rain through the day clearing up in the evening - more dependent on ground condtions and numbers (see above)
- In between the two - more dependent on ground conditions and numbers (see above)
- A 20% chance of light rain during the concert - almost certainly go ahead.
- If the decision is completely obvious (90% chance heavy rain all evening) we will make the decision early in the day
- If it is touch and go, we will leave it as late in the day as possible - but generally no later than 4pm
Over the years we have had many occasions where weather has been drier at Sheldon than in the surrounding area, and just a few where it's been wetter. Obviously we make the decision on conditions here at Sheldon.
Report on 2017 concert conditions
- The Take That Experience. Ground conditions good. 75% capacity crowd. A very few spots of rain. No issues.
- Go Tell Alice and Quo-Incidence. Ground conditions good. 50% capacity crowd. Intermittent light rain during the concert. No issues.
- Gala night (Mad Dog Mcrea and Wildwood Kin). Ground conditions good. Sell-out. Forecast 90% chance of heavy rain 6pm - 11pm. Cancelled.
- Joey the Lips. Ground conditions good. Sell-out. Forecast rain during the day clearing to 20% chance of light rain during the evening. Concert staged successfully.
Report on 2016 concert conditions
- All 6 concerts staged successfully. No weather-related issues.
Report on 2015 concert conditions
- 4 concerts staged successfully with no issues.
- Quo-Incidence concert cancelled due to illness of band member
- Paul Metcalfe is Rod Stewart concert cancelled due to heavy rain.
Report on concert conditions 2005 - 2014
- Every single concert was staged successfully - there were no cancellations in this decade.