Over To You: What Should I Play At Holiday Resort Gig?

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
Holiday resort DJ
Last updated 7 November, 2017


Landing a gig while you're on holiday on a resort is a great move, but what, wonders today's question asker, should be on the set list?
Landing a gig while you’re on holiday on a resort is a great move, but what, wonders today’s question asker, should be on the set list?

Digital DJ Tips reader DJ High Voltage writes: “I have a small problem, I may have a spot opening up to play at a resort in Jamaica. I have absolutely no clue what they may want to listen to, the manager is saying to just make people dance. Since I am a guest at their resort over the week, I asked to be put in for one of the nights I am there (may as well since it’s at no cost to them and it’s some practice) and so I really want to ensure it goes well, but the nerves are even higher than my own local gigs!

The resort is people from mostly Canada, USA, Australia and Great Britain. I know what the people from Canada want as it is my country but the rest I have no clue. I’m not asking for your personal song list, just suggestions on how to make this go well and to have some fun.”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Well done! Always great to land a gig whenever you’re away on holiday. OK, first advice would be to get to the venue a day or two before and see what the other DJs are playing, which will help calm your nerves when it’s your turn and at least give you some clue. Make sure you take a wide selection of music, sorted into folders of tunes you’ll be likely to want to play together (pop, hip hop, EDM etc.); this will give you an easy way to jump between genres on the night.

Nowadays audiences aren’t so different worldwide due to global hits and the internet, at least at the more commercial end of things, which is where you should be pitching – this is a holiday resort, not an underground club! For the same reason, don’t be scared to go back through the years – basically any music from when your audience was young enough to listen to music right up until today is fine. At gigs like this I always try to play a bit of everything for the first, say, third of the set, and watch carefully to start to work out what people want, so having a variety through genres and the years helps with this.

Finally, I would’t worry too much about what the manager will think – you’re playing warm-up, there may well be nobody there anyway (often the case, sorry to break it to you!) and there is so much out of your control (mix of people, what nights are busy in the resort, other entertainment, the weather) that you may as well accept you can’t be sure how things will turn out and enjoy it for whatever it ends up being. Que será será, as they say here in Spain. I wish you the best of luck!

Have you ever played a “guest slot” while on holiday? Please share your story below! Or, are you a resident at a holiday resort club who could help DJ High Voltage with some tips? Again, please leave your advice in the comments.

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