The sun has finally arrived and set up shop until September – which means plenty of busy beer gardens, buzzing alfresco dining areas, and big, boisterous outdoor gigs from hereon in. Regardless of whether they’re karaoke singers, resident musicians, or professional bands, all the entertainers in open-air venues will need a super stage on which to strut their stuff. Here are a few ways to create a first-class performance area for your venue and get the summer crowd in full swing. Who’s getting in on the act(s)? Before you even begin to think about assembling a performance area for your restaurant or watering hole, it’s worth considering who will be taking to the stage. Sure, it looks fab to have a striking multi-purpose platform, but do you actually need it if you’re only hosting sing-a-long Sunday sessions in your pub’s beer garden? On the other side of the coin, if you achieved something of a coup by securing the services of a popular band, they won’t be able to wow the audience constricted to a tiny podium. Really think about who you’re going to realistically book throughout the year, and consider the amount of space you have to use outdoors. When you’re able to answer these questions confidently, you’re ready to start building your stage. Put your performers in the spotlight It’s worth splashing out on good stage lighting if you have the budget to do so. Even in the middle of the day, lighting can play a strong role in creating the right mood during a performance. At night, it has an even stronger effect – clearly illuminating the people on stage and putting them at the centre of attention. There are loads of lighting options to consider, so it’s worth consulting an expert if you want something more advanced. However, the simpler models are usually very easy to find and can also be hired rather than purchased outright – which is particularly appealing to venues who only use their stage area sparingly or on a seasonal basis. Eye candy to go with the music Having a video screen propped up in the background can give singers and bands a brilliant backdrop to perform against, and offer a truly memorable audio-visual experience for everyone in the crowd. The intermission also offers you the opportunity to beam adverts and offers to your audience. Of course, you’re going to need to make sure your audience can actually see this screen in the squint-inducing afternoon sunlight, which brings us conveniently to… All under cover Parasols are paramount for any business looking to make a real show of their outdoor area – protecting crowds from the scorching sun and allowing them to gaze at the stage for long periods without turning lobster-red. They’re also enormously beneficial for the platforms themselves, shielding the musicians from baking temperatures (it’s already hot enough when you’re up there) and blinding reflections. If the band are safely covered in the shade during their set, you’re bound to get the best performance out of them. For outdoor parasols, Instashade have got you covered! Check out our commercial range to pick up a luxury parasol that will function as a perfect accompaniment for an outdoor staging/performance area.