Digital DJ Tips reader Ashley writes: “I run a very successful mobile DJ business working in the wedding industry. My career started out as a club DJ and I’ve also worked as a freelance producer for DMC. I have high level mixing skills, and I even wrote a whole series of articles about mixing for a magazine.
My problem is that, lately, I’ve become very tired of fending off drunk guests from potentially hurting themselves and / or my equipment, to the point that it makes me consider leaving the industry totally. Ideally, I’d like to DJ in a non-hostile environment where the drunks are kept well away from me and the kit. Something like a festival DJ comes to mind.
“So, my question is, what is the route I would need to take to achieve this while sustaining the same level of income I have become accustomed to? Any advice would be much appreciated.”
Digital DJ Tips Says:
If you want to be very far away from a drunk crowd (or from any crowd, for that matter), then festival DJing could be that – you’re high up onstage and there’s absolutely no space nor time to take requests during a set like this, so you can rest assured that no one’s going to crawl over a steel barricade just to ask for a rewind of Roses by The Chainsmokers.
If you’re dead-set on getting started, find out who the festival organisers and promoters are in your area and reach out. You’ve done a lot of networking already in the mobile and pro DJ industry, so I’m sure that you’ve got the social skills and won’t have any problems connecting with these folk.
What you’ll want to do, though, is to consider your branding: you’re basically reinventing yourself from a professional wedding DJ and entrepreneur to a festival DJ, and doing something like that takes time. Update your press kit and make sure your website and social media profiles reflect your new persona. At this point, I wouldn’t recommend totally removing your wedding DJ identity just yet – after all, that’s your bread and butter at the moment, and it’ll keep the lights on, plus look at the average festival line-up and most of the names are DJ/producers, not plain DJs.
You could also try DJing for a crowd that doesn’t drink (yes, they exist). Breakfast raves are a thing in big cities like New York where guests come and dance for an early morning workout and pick-up. Sober raves have crowds that don’t do alcohol or substances, so perhaps you’d like to try that out too.
Having said that, none of these will be as financially rewarding as the mobile DJ business you’ve built through all the years you’ve put in as well as the network of connections you’ve built – at least not yet. Why not continue playing the wedding gigs to keep your bank account happy, but actively seek out festival slots and these alternative type of parties to satisfy your soul? When these gigs start to become lucrative, you can then begin to lessen the weddings and put more time into bagging larger, better-paying festival slots.
We’ve all been there though – wanting to DJ where the “grubby public” can’t get near you, while still bringing in the cash… I am sure you’re not the only person who’s felt this way, as we’re likely to find out in the comments…
What advice would you give our reader? Should he stick with mobile gigs and suck it up, or should he drop everything and get started in the festival circuit? Share your opinion below.