January 14, 2020
Professional DJ hire is important. As a supplier of marquees for weddings and luxury events, we are often asked to source or recommend suppliers of other event services. It’s part of the service that we offer to or clients. We’ve been in the events industry for over 40 years – so we know plenty of great suppliers.
We’ve also seen our fair share of poor-quality suppliers too. So, when it comes to making recommendations we are always careful to ensure that we only recommend companies that we have worked with and that we trust.
One area that is so often overlooked is entertainment. In particular the DJ. After all, anyone can spin a few discs, right? Well, it turns out that that’s not quite the case.
We spoke to our friend, and industry specialist, DJ Mark Fellowes and asked him why hiring the right DJ is crucial to ensuring a successful event.
Mark, ever the professional, provided us with his 5 top tips, along with some anecdotal evidence highlighting why you want to make sure you get the right DJ on board for your event.
1. Hire an experienced DJ
You can’t buy experience. Experience has to be earned through years of DJing at a wide range of events. An experienced DJ can read the audience and knows how to select the right tracks to keep the dancefloor full. An experienced DJ won’t be fazed by any situations that arise; they’ll have seen most things and will know exactly how to deal with them.
I’m a musician as well as a DJ. This means that I understand how music works and exactly what delivers a great set. I am also a sound engineer so I can set up my equipment perfectly for the environment I’m playing in. And if anything goes wrong with my kit I know exactly what to do about it.
I’m experienced enough to understand the value of top quality equipment. Though my kit has never failed I’m wise enough to bring spares – just in case (see point number three!).
2. Check your DJ’s musical knowledge
It sounds obvious and perhaps it’s an easy tip to overlook, but you’d be surprised how may DJ’s are genre specific or only understand (and play) music that appeals specifically to them.
Musical knowledge goes hand in hand with experience. That said, a less experienced DJ could still have great knowledge. But do they understand how the music fits together? How one tune slides into the next and which track transitions will keep the atmosphere alive and make the evening a success?
A knowledgeable DJ should be willing to help their clients, or the event planner organise their playlists. They should be willing to listen, but also keen, ready and able to advise on the best set for the event.
And sometimes musical knowledge simply means musical knowledge. There’s nothing worse than requesting a track and getting a blank stare in response… Your DJ should love music, should be a student of music and should be aware of tracks across all genres. They should ready, willing and capable of playing anything requested – so long as it matches the vibe and doesn’t disrupt the set.
3. Ensure your DJ has top quality equipment
A good DJ will always maintain their kit extremely well and will have spare kit to cover all eventualities. This means that their clients can rest assured that whatever happens the event will continue.
I always bring a variety of equipment to my gigs. I make sure that I have spares too. Regardless of the fact that my kit is meticulously maintained (and the best that money can buy), you never know what might happen. Be prepared – as they say in the scouts.
A great sound system is worth its weight in gold. It will be loud, clear and adjustable for the setting. But DJ equipment extends beyond the sound system – it covers lighting too.
Great lighting helps to create a great atmosphere. Cheap lighting does not! Ensure that your DJ is bringing a variety of high-quality lighting equipment with them. It’s crucial for setting the right mood and must not be overlooked.
4. Communication and reliability
How communicative is your DJ? Do they respond quickly to your emails? Do they always call you back in a timely manner? If their communication is a little patchy then how can you be sure they are reliable? Might they have double booked themselves? Good, prompt and clear communication is a sign of good organisation. A good DJ needs to be well organised – It’s crucial.
An organised and communicative DJ will turn up on time and will be ready to go, with the right playlists, when the party kicks off.
You should never have to worry about whether your DJ will tun up or not!
5. Make sure that you get on with your DJ
Meet with and chat to your DJ. You should get along with them. Conversation should be easy and flowing and you should feel comfortable around them.
They should be well mannered, polite and respectful. They might be good at what they do, but they shouldn’t be arrogant about it. You’ll want to be sure that they will listen to you and create a playlist – and an evening – that is suitable for you and your guests.
A word of warning
I’ve been DJing for over 25 years and I’ve seen a lot of things in my time. Recently whilst working on a superyacht for a client at the Monaco Grand Prix, I once again saw evidence of exactly why you need to take care when selecting a DJ for your event.
On this occasion I was working with a DJ that I have known and worked alongside for a very long time. All great so far…
A guest DJ, that I was not familiar with, was also booked for the gig. No problem for me; I’m a professional and I enjoy meeting and working alongside my peers. The first few evenings were great – however, the last night was a different matter altogether.
When the second DJ hit the stage he hit the bottle too! The Vodkas were going down, as was the quality of his set. It soon became clear that he was abusing other substances too.
The guest DJ had borrowed some of my cables for his set. As I was heading back to my room to prepare for an early start to my journey back to the UK I politely asked him if he’d mind removing them and leaving them aside for me once he’d finished his set.
I’m not sure why, (though I have my suspicions) but he completely lost his rag at my request! He warned me not to make an enemy of him – shouting and swearing in front of the guests -all of whom had paid thousands of pounds to attend.
The atmosphere went immediately flat. Many guests left the yacht while others left the dancefloor.
For me, it highlighted the importance of getting to know your DJ and checking them out thoroughly. Make sure that they love the industry that they work in, rather than the boost that it gives to their ego. When hiring a DJ make sure that you check reviews and testimonials from their previous clients and ensure that you are hiring a professional.
Professional DJ hire
Did you find Mark’s blog and tips useful? If you are looking for a professional DJ for your next event, give us a call – we can put you in touch with Mark. We can also offer recommendations for a variety of other wedding and event related service suppliers. Plus we offer free, no obligation estimates for marque hire. We look forward to speaking to you: 01372 459485, firstname.lastname@example.org