Have you ever wanted to play your harp outside but were worried about it sitting on dirt, grass, sand, or gravel? I too used to have this dilemma, trying various solutions for years. I tried everything from doormats that were too thin, ugly, and shaped wrong to large, heavy, cumbersome platforms that took up too much space and I could not set up by myself. I was never happy and always searching for something better, until last year when I came across the perfect platform.
This beautiful bamboo chair mat made by Real Space is the perfect solution.
The mat comes in several different wood finishes and sizes. I have the extra large, which is plenty big enough for my pedal harp, bench, and music stand. The dimensions are 48 inches wide by 52 inches long (121.9cm x 132.1 cm). While my platform has the dark cherry finish to best match my mahogany pedal harp, it also looks beautiful with my natural finish lever harps.
Not only is the mat able to match the classy wooden look of the harp, but it rolls up for easy moving. Warning: I have pinched my fingers while rolling it up, so be careful! The 2-inch wide slats fit together tightly, which is great for looks but a little tricky to navigate. I recommend rolling it from the edge and getting a strap of some kind to secure it when rolled up. Ribbon or velcro would work well.
While I can move the mat by myself, it is rather heavy, and it does make for another trip to and from the car. I have even used my harp dolly to move it (prior to getting the harp out of course) as it is tall enough and can nestle into the curve on the dolly. Despite the weight, it is worth it for outdoor gigs. The mat still needs to be set on relatively flat ground, but it works on sand and soft grass, so the ground does not have to be perfect.
I bought my mat from Office Depot for $99. It is by far the best looking, best size, best price, and easiest to move while still being safe for the harp to sit on of all platform solutions I have seen or tried.
What do you use when you play outside? I’d love to hear from you and see your pictures.