Your Questions: How Can I Become A Winery DJ?

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winery gigs
Last updated 3 August, 2017

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winery
Parties at wineries where our reader Simon lives don’t have music, but he thinks they should – and rather than bands, he wants them to have a DJ – him! We offer our advice…

Digital DJ Tips reader Simon writes: “I am an older guy (52) and I have been around music for 40 years. I have dabbled with DJing over the years and build a substantial record collection – soul, jazz, Latin etc. I live in a smaller city in Australia that’s famous for its wine. There are many wineries around and most have lively cellar doors with food and outdoor areas. Generally there is no music playing.

“I can see a market for the cellar door DJ spinning laid back vinyl and really setting a cool vibe. I am having trouble getting any traction though. I am not a natural born hustler. Do you have any resources for the like of me? The older guy looking play laid back gigs at cellar doors, gallery openings, beer gardens etc? Basically where the DJ is not the centre of attention with adoring fans at his or her feet…”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Nobody is a natural born hustler. Think about it: You have a lifetime of cool music a world apart from today’s dancefloor sounds, you’ve identified a whole host of venues with ready-made crowds crying out for some music, and you have the vision already – it’s now up to you to make it happen!

This is not a unique situation, Simon; For instance, I live on a stretch of Mediterranean coast where bands, DJs and streaming services pump all kinds of laid-back music to sunsetting clientele, which is also – just as you say – a world apart from the “full dancefloor with DJ as centre of attention”-type stuff. Aside from playing bigger gigs, playing such venues has always been a passion of mine, as I can spin stuff I’d never get away with elsewhere. We saw a DJ playing 1920s, 30s and 40s music from vinyl and totally rocking it down here in a lounge bar just a few weeks back.

You need to do all the right marketing things (simple but visually appealing website, Facebook Page, a mix up on Mixcloud, business cards), work out what gear you need to buy/hire, then approach the winery you choose for a test event. Do it at cost, with a promise that if it works, you’ll be paid X amount for the next one. And have faith in your vision, because that’s what entrepreneurs do – and don’t mistake it, seeing a gap in the market and plugging it with your vision of how it should be DJed is definitely entrepreneurial behaviour.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on 🙂

Do you play a gig that you’d count as “unusual”? How did you get your foot in the door? Any advice to offer Simon? Please help out in the comments below…

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