I have been torn up about this and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to even say anything but I figured that since I’m in the business of educating the public, making sure you’re exposed to all aspects of the industry, and not just looking to make money, I’d make the effort to both educate the public and save face to the DJ while pointing out the importance of doing your due diligence and researching your DJ.
This Saturday I was invited to attend a wedding with my friend in a town that’s located about an hour and a half away. I said sure and I was excited that I’d not only be a guest to a wedding but that I was fortunate enough to see how their DJ performed.
As soon as we got there I noticed that the DJ had a very basic set up (speakers on the floor and not on stands), only a laptop and two light systems. The person who invited me is a good friend of the bride and groom and she told me that perhaps they went with the cheapest option so they could concentrate on spending money on other items which I thought was fair so I sat and watched what was going on, hoping to get my socks blown away by a DJ who seemed competent and seemed like he knew what he was doing.
Shortly after we found our seats, it was obvious that the recessional was supposed to be happening but there was nothing going on. We looked around and it was apparent that the DJ was having issues. Finally, the song played and the singer that was there to do his thing started singing. The song suddenly stopped and the singer paused for the split second. The bridal party continued into the room and took their places. After the couple was officially married, there was supposed to be an outro (recessional) with the same singer but nothing happened. Everyone was waiting for the cue (the singer) but the singer was waiting for the DJ to play the song. I’m not kidding when I say we all waited 10 minutes in total silence waiting for the DJ. I later found out that the DJ told the singer “uh, it’s not going to play” and the singer (a teenager) was quick on his feet and sang acappella (very nicely, too!). The recessional happened and we went into a quick break before going into the dinner portion.
Dinner had some low-volume Spanish music that was more for dancing than for eating but that might have been a request from the bride and groom so nothing of note there.
The interesting part was when dinner was over and the first dance happened. Not only did the DJ botch the names but the bride and groom were standing on the dance floor for five minutes before their song started. Ok, so mistakes happen and so far this guy has shown that he’s not prepared just based on the frequent issues he is having (speakers buzzing, music not playing, popping sounds from the speakers, etc.) and his gear is not up to par with one that is meant to be used to perform. Well, the music is finally playing, the bride and groom are about a minute into their dance and then the music abruptly stops. Like, it just stopped. It was not accidentally stopped, it was not purposefully stopped, this guy’s gear just quit on him. About 30 seconds pass by and the music resumes. The bride and groom continue to dance and just as soon as they go back to dancing, it stops again! The crowd is upset and start to boo. The bride and groom are looking at their guests and it is obvious that they are embarrassed. About a minute passes by and the music resumes again for about 5 seconds and just as the bride and groom grab each other to dance again, the song suddenly starts from the beginning and then stops! We start singing to help finish the song and the groom announces to us to go back for seconds (dinner) and to continue enjoying ourselves as they walk off stage visibly annoyed and frustrated.
I later found out that this DJ stemmed from the same place that I am currently at and does gigs around town with similar results.
-Out of professionalism, I will not reveal this person’s name-
The points here are many:
- Ask the DJ if his or her gear is up to par and if they have any issues they’re currently dealing with
- Ask what the back up plan is in the case something unexpected happens
- Research the DJ’s experience and skill (this DJ does not have a web presence nor was he found when searching him by name online)
- Do a ‘system check’ with your DJ before you start, if possible, or assign someone to do so
- Ensure you review your agenda BEFORE your event starts (I was sitting next to the door when he asked the Bride and Groom what song they wanted him to play for their first dance).
I did not talk to the DJ and in fact, the person that took me decided we should leave the event early because of his awful performance and the embarrassment he was causing for the bride, groom and their guests. This event reminded me of the time that I had to step in as a DJ in my friend’s Mom’s wedding in Iowa because the DJ was being awful at his job. She literally told him to give me the Mic and I conducted the grand entrance, cake cutting, and announced the first dances before releasing people for the dance/fun portion.
I’m not saying ‘Hire me’, what I am saying is do your research, pay attention to whom you hire and the last thing to remember is you get what you pay for!
…but if you want to hire me, that’s cool too.