In the last article of our 7 Ways To Get A Gig series, we covered how investing in a PA system can multiply your chances of landing gigs. This time, we’ll talk about landing DJ gigs in less conventional venues…
You might have already exhausted all of the “standard” options when trying to get yourself a gig. Places like clubs and bars will already have lots of DJs lining up to play there. If that is so, why not think outside the box and find your own niche? It may well lead to you getting more gigs.
7 Unusual Venues
1. Shops and clothing stores
Most shops will have some form of music playing for their clientele. This means that they already have a built-in system ready to use. For them, a live DJ is a great way to drum up interest around their business; they may be happy to have you play instead of their usual music from CDs. The same goes for real estate open houses, new art gallery installations and perhaps more obviously, record shops. There are lots of options open to you here.
Get on it: The next time you are shopping in the city centre, do some research on places that you think could do with a live DJ or those that you would like to play in, regardless. When you have a plan, go into the place you have chosen and pitch your idea to the owner / manager. This could well be a great way to increase your visibility and if you smash it, is pretty much guaranteed to lift the mood of bored shoppers. Win-win.
2. Showrooms, fashion and otherwise
Fashion and car showrooms often have DJs playing at the unveiling of new clothing lines and car models. Fashion, sports cars and partying often go hand in hand, so if you do a good job, you might come away with some useful contacts to help further your DJ career.
Get on it: Do you have any friends involved in the fashion scene? How about any that work in car sales? If so, get in touch with them and let them know that you would be glad to play at their next big event. If you lack these contacts, find out when the next fashion event is in your area. Get down to the car dealerships. Contact the appropriate people and offer your services.
3. Aboard a boat
Canals, lakes and of course, the deep blue sea. There are plenty of places where you can hire a boat out and set up your equipment for a floating party. The bonus of this novelty style party is that you can even use this as a springboard for a series of events which, in turn gets your name out there and can make you some extra cash in the process.
Get on it: Have a look at local boat hire companies, get a few quotes and start to sketch out a plan. Get some friends on board (puns ahoy!) and you have a choice, you can go on a DJ fishing trip with your buddies or you can be a bit bolder and organise a full-on boat party.
4. At local leisure and entertainment centres
Every town has some form of leisure or entertainment centre. These include places like ice rinks, bowling alleys, roller halls and even water parks. These places always have some kind of music and sometimes a DJ too. It can never hurt to ask if they would like to switch their CDs for a live DJ or if they have any free slots going that you can fill.
Get on it: By now you know what is necessary, do some research and make some calls. Even if these things don’t exist in your town, there is likely to be at least a hall or school gym where you can throw your own roller disco. If you take a step back and pay attention, others are doing this kind of thing all the time, so why shouldn’t you?
5. Conventions & trade shows
There are conventions & trade shows for every conceivable line of trade and industry. The best thing is that they are held practically every day, in every place, all over the world. Get in touch with your local exhibition centre and find out what is going on in your area!
Get on it: Find out about local trade shows and conventions, contact your local exhibition centre. Another good resource is the trade show indexing site 10times. Get in touch with the event organisers and ask if you can play, it doesn’t matter what kind of exhibition it is. A gig is a gig, right? In the past, deadmau5 has closed Valve’s yearly e-sports competition.
6. Cafes and tea rooms
Coffee shops, tea rooms and basically anywhere serving food and drinks are venues often untapped by DJs. By default, there is a chilled environment for people to enjoy your music in. However, these kind of gigs are potentially quite tricky, as your track selection will have to be spot-on so as not to disturb the laid back mood of the room.
Get on it: These types of establishments are everywhere. Spend some time checking a few of them out, until you settle on one that you think suits your style of music. Make a mixtape and speak to the manager about potentially playing there for them. You might want to suggest that they try out your demo over their sound system and see how their clientele respond. If everything goes to plan, you’ll swiftly be setting the mood.
7. Sports stadiums
Any venue with a tannoy system is a great choice. Why not offer to do some DJing there, since they’ve already got a sound system in place? It might be a tad unrealistic to aim to take over a slot at the Super Bowl or the NBA Finals, but there are lots of events taking place weekly at stadiums that you might not have previously paid attention to: Junior and reserve team events are a good example of this.
Get on it: The key is to get your foot in the door, and then by default, you increase your chances of being given a slot at a more important event or game. Get yourself down to the local stadium and ask if you can spin some tracks pre-game to warm the crowd. It doesn’t matter what the sport is, nor who is playing. To use a football saying: “If you don’t shoot, you can’t score.”
There are tons of different places that already have the necessary sound equipment in place, ready for you to play. All you have to do is research and find a suitable one that you are confident of performing at. Promote yourself to the appropriate people and if they give you a chance, always be ready to blow them away. Push yourself. The more gigs you get under your belt of any type, the greater your chance of getting more gigs becomes.
Check out the other parts in this series:
- 7 Ways To Get DJ Gigs When On A Night Out
- 7 Ways To Get Gigs Without Leaving The House
- 7 Ways To Get DJ Gigs By Owning A PA System
- 7 Ways To Get Gigs While You Sleep
- 7 Ways To Get Gigs While You’re On Holiday
- 7 Ways Partnering With Others Can Get You Gigs
Is there anything that we have missed out in this list? Where were you surprised to see a DJ? Where was your first gig in an unusual venue? Let us know in the comments below…