It has often been said that a disc jockey represents the lifeblood of any gathering. Whether referring to a wedding, a birthday celebration or a large music festival, the fact of the matter is that these professionals keep attendees coming back for more. While there is no doubt that this role can be a great deal of fun, we also need to remember that a great deal of preparation needs to take place in advance in order to ensure that no unexpected surprises arise along the way. Let’s, therefore, take a quick look at a step-by-step overview of how a typical DJ prepares for an upcoming gig. It will, therefore, be clear to appreciate just how much effort and insight are required in order to enjoy success.
Clothing and Travel Considerations
Travelling to and from a venue can actually be a bit more challenging than it may initially appear. Disc jockeys will often be required to transport a significant amount of equipment. Examples include portable equalisers, cables, computer stations, turntables, and records. While there is no doubt that we live in a digital age, many of the most successful jockeys still rely upon vinyl to entrance their guests. The sheer bulk of these accessories will normally require a larger vehicle. If one is not immediately available, a short-term rental may be needed. This should be taken into account with how much the venue in question is willing to pay for the gig.
Clothing is a lesser-known concern and yet, it is critical to address in advance. Most disc jockeys prefer to wear loose-fitting garments that reflect the latest fashion trends. Why is this the case? Most would argue that the primary reason involves the heat associated with large crowds and while on stage. Temperatures can easily exceed 35 degrees; causing an uncomfortable situation if tight garments are worn. Ensembles such as tracksuits are excellent alternatives, as these provide a superior level of ventilation while helping to wick sweat away from the body. After all, there is nothing worse than trying to mix a series of tracks with clammy hands. Those who are interested to learn about the benefits of a tracksuit can read more in order to make the best decision.
Shoes are a final variable to address. The chances are high that a disc jockey will have to remain on his or her feet for hours at a time. Not only does this refer to the gig itself, but setting up and subsequently dismantling the equipment is normally required. This is why a pair of comfortable shoes (such as trainers) is an absolute necessity (unless the disc jockey needs to adhere to a specific dress code).
Addressing technical aspects before the set
Disc jockeys are masters of their trade and artists in their own right. However, even the most memorable set will fall upon deaf ears if technical aspects are not addressed well in advance. We need to keep in mind that no two sound systems are ever alike. Some venues might be fully equipped while others will often require the individual to bring along his or her own accessories. Some common examples that can fall into this category include:
- USB and MIDI cables
- Graphic equalisers
- High-definition speakers
- Mounting brackets and similar accessories
- Records and/or compact discs
- Equipment associated with special effects such as a smoke machine
This is why it is a good idea to visit the location in question well in advance of the gig. It is then possible to create an in-depth checklist to ensure that nothing is forgotten on the day of the big event.
The final step that is normally taken by a disc jockey is meeting with the staff members associated with entertainment. This is critical, as these individuals will often work directly with the DJ during a live performance. They typically oversee important metrics such as the volume of the music, lighting and crowd control. A disc jockey needs to be aware of their capabilities as well as their experience. This can help to guarantee that no technical faults occur during a performance.
Most jockeys also agree that it is a good idea to perform a brief walk-through an hour or two before the gig. This enables them to check the status of any cables, to check for electrical faults and to review their musical selection. When they ultimately step on the stage, they can rest assured in the knowledge that nothing has been left to chance.
While each disc jockey will have his or her specific preparatory routine, these are some of the most common steps to be taken before a festival. With a bit of foresight, even the largest of crowds can be pleased.