I played a small acoustic tent set yesterday, only half an hour, at a local "picnic in the park" event in Bearwood near Birmingham. The chap running it does it in memory of his daughter who was sadly killed by boy racers on a road nearby, which I remember happening and not being far away from it at the time (plus being roughly the same age), was understandably quite a big deal, so was quite keen to be involved again to keep this going.
Anyway, whilst it was quite fun I learnt a few things that I thought might be useful here, both for others who also inexplicably find themselves in such situations, for myself, and for anybody who may have solutions to some of the problems.
1. Playing acoustic and singing at the same time, is really quite difficult to do well. Particularly when you aren't much of a singer, or indeed an acoustic guitar player, such as I am. There were others who were better at singing than me, others who were better at guitar than me, but not really any that did both really well. The good singers all just went for the loud twangy strumming to the beat of where a drum would be which sounds ok, but not all that musical.
2. I struggle with background noise, and even with a little iem type setup that I came up with I struggled to hear enough of my voice to pitch the lower notes. I used a mixer with in-ear headphones but still seemed to have difficulty albeit less than before.
3. I prefer electric music. Even doing the same songs in the same way, but with an electric and amp/modelling, I'd have enjoyed much more and my voice goes better with it I think. I also think it would less expose my voice. (more on this in #4)
4. Performing this way exposes your voice and playing a lot. It seemed much less of an issue where there were multiple people playing together, in the groups the vocalists were nowhere near as good but were more enjoyable. I did try to have somebody to play some percussion at least with me but he decided instead that going for drinks in Clent was a much more enjoyable way to spend the afternoon! Which it probably was.
5. I'm a bit boring. In person I'm a fairly jovial kind of person, albeit grumpy - but stage persona is a strange thing and when I don't do it very often, I find I go into a bit of a nervous panic and I don't seem to have either the patter between songs or a way to sustain the interest during the songs. I've got some videos to watch on vocal techniques that may help a bit with the voice but essentially my voice is rather dull and dour, as are the songs I can do with acoustic guitar, and it's all just a bit too boring to sustain interest (hence why my family and friends have hardly listened to anything I've asked them to, and my percussion friend preferring not to turn up, I think).
6. I want to try doing this again with electrics instead...
What is love, where is happiness, what is life, where is peace