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The Ever-Changing Role of the DJ

The Ever-Changing Role of the DJ

It’s a little past midnight. The music is loud, the dance floor is crowded, and I am responsible for keeping the energy up. I’ve been here since 3:00 pm and I will be here for another 2 hours, if not more. This is the life of the DJ during an event night. But is that all that we do? If you think it is, then boy are you wrong! Professional DJs wear a lot of hats, especially when it comes to weddings and special events, particularly when the professional you’ve hired cares about the work that they’re doing – aka someone like me.

We all know how high stress event day can be for those who’ve planned the event, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a walk in the park for the vendors assisting with the event, such as the DJ! My event day begins, with the packing up of my equipment, 3 or more hours before the event starts. The reason for this is so that I can arrive at the venue at least 2 hours prior to the event’s start.

As soon as I arrive onsite, the first thing I do is find the site manager and review the plans and housekeeping rules for the venue and this particular event. This may involve a quick tour around the event space and a discussion of any changes that have occurred since our last meeting. Once I know all of the details from the site manager, it’s time for setup!

From unpacking to setting up the audio equipment, microphones, and lighting equipment, I keep busy! And that’s not all! For some events, I need to also set up a projector and slideshow and/or all equipment needed for the performers (including bands). But setting up isn’t where the work ends, as the DJ also needs to leave time for a proper sound and light check for optimum performance! That performance is not segregated to just the music, but also includes clarity on the microphones and tuning the balance for the band’s audio!

After the required sound and light checks, it’s time to change my outfit and get ready for the event to kickoff. A quick once over of the plan, setting the music cues, and picking that perfect first song for guests to hear is the last piece of the puzzle before the doors open! These pre-event steps are all essential to ensuring that the event begins with the right atmosphere!

If I was honoured with the opportunity to be the Master of Ceremonies (MC), the night will begin with the opening remarks and welcoming to all of the guests. Depending on the type of event, this may lead into the introduction for awards, award recipients, and speeches.

Then throughout dinner, I switch back to being the DJ, providing the music throughout the meal! While I have likely discussed with the event planner the type of music that they want to be played, I also take some time to speak with the guests, asking them for any music requests that they may have! When I return to my music, I tabulate the results and start to mix in some of the guests’ requests – helping to ensure that the event is a total success, from both the perspective of the event planner and all of the attendees.

After dinner, it’s time to transition to the dance party aspect of the night. This is where many of those previously discussed guests’ requests get mixed in, and I’m able to create a musical journey! The music flow changes throughout the night, based upon the reactions and energy of the audience to ensure that I am able to maximize their enjoyment! In order to create an atmosphere that leaves the guests wanting more, even after the encore, I dedicate my full passion and every bit of my energy into hosting an interactive performance! This takes us back to the start of this article, as the music begins to wind down around 1AM, the standard close out time!

When the music has stopped and much of the crowd is starting to leave, I await the thank yous and conversations that always follow an incredible night of entertainment! Following this, I need to change my clothes and begin the teardown. Teardown always seems to take less time than the setup, but after putting all of my energy into the event, the takedown is always completely exhausting.

Following the long drive home, and reminiscing about how much fun I had at the event, I fall into bed – totally drained but with adrenaline still pumping through my body. It might be 3AM by this point, but I lay there and try to sleep, with try being the operative word.

And that’s it. Simple, right? Event days are a lot of work, but they are definitely worth every moment. Getting to be a part of some truly wonderful events has made the last 10+ years with By Request Entertainment Inc. worth every single late night! But if you notice, one thing wasn’t included in this article for event night – nutrition! Next week, I’ll discuss how I’m able to do all of this over and over again with high energy, thanks to the right nutrition and training program.

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October 28th, 2016

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