5 Tips to DJing gigs in small or unique places

July 26, 2017 11:14 PM

DJing in a small or unique place can create great challenges as indicated by the deadly fire that took many lives in the Oakland Ghostship Warehouse Club fire in December of 2016. While there are many to blame for this tragic incident, there are ways that a DJ is in charge of the venue in which they are performing and there are precautions that can be taken to avoid situations such as this.

There are many considerations that go into putting on a great party and the DJ can play a very important role in this. Here are some helpful tips to DJing in a small or creative venue.

  1. Power. The more access to power that you have, the more flexible you can be with your set up. Upon arrival, you will want to determine where the circuits are located. This will be particularly important if you need to run power to a large sound system. Utilizing more than one circuit can cut down on the chances of blowing a fuse in the middle of the event. Arriving early can help you rectify any trouble that can be caused by power such as buzzing sounds or malfunctioning equipment. Being prepared with extra audio cables and power strips can also be a great way to troubleshoot.
  2. Speakers. It is important that you use the appropriate size of speakers that will fit your venue. If you are playing in a small space, you do not want speakers that will overpower the place and cause hearing loss. On the contrary, if you are playing in a large or unique venue that has several rooms or spaces, you will want to make sure that your speakers are not too small. It is also possible that you may need several speakers if your space has several breakout rooms or outdoor areas. When choosing your speakers, be sure to read this before making a decision on what to purchase.
  3. Safety is a priority. Contrary to popular belief, a DJ does not just show up and play music. A DJ has the right to speak up and voice any concerns that they may have about the venue equipment or spacing. It is important as a DJ that you check for marked and lighted exits, a smoke detection system, and the location of fire extinguishers. If something were to go wrong, you will be needed to make an announcement so knowing where these things are before you begin playing music can save your life or another patron’s life. Finally, make sure you tape down your cables. This can ensure that people will not trip over your equipment or worse, accidentally unplug something.
  4. Bring your own accessories. If you are new to the business, you may not think about the minor details that can create a big impact. You have all of your equipment and the venue is providing a table, but there are many other things that you should bring with you just in case the venue cannot provide them. Be sure to bring a long sharpie markers, a cart or dolly to load and unload your equipment, a ladder, and ziplock bags to organize your cables. You may also want to consider bringing some extra people along to help with your setup. It is always better to be over prepared than underprepared.
  5. Business cards. It is always a good idea to bring business cards or other information about your DJing business with you to your gigs. You never know when you will be approached for your contact information by a patron who is interested in using your services.
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