In the last article of our “7 Ways To Get A Gig” series, we talked about how to get shows and promote yourself while you’re sat around the house. This time, we’ll cover how investing in a PA system can multiply your chances of landing gigs…
Just like owning a van and offering to schlepp a band’s gear around was a great way for musicians to get gigs in the past, having your own PA system these days can have the same effect. Check out how having your own PA system can get you rocking a party.
7 WAYS TO GET A GIG
1. Throw “proper” house parties
Having your own PA system to go with your DJ gear means it’s easier to convince someone that you should be playing at their party. It’s also a very good (the best, actually) excuse to host your own party! House parties are a great way to start out, with a little bit less pressure than a larger-scale event. They are also an ideal way to get through any teething problems you might have with your equipment before you head out into a more professional setting.
Get on it: Let all your friends know that you have got a PA system and are ready to DJ at any upcoming parties. If there aren’t any parties on the horizon, then arrange one! Just be sure that all your gear is protected from spillages and all your cables are taped down properly to prevent an untimely end to the party.
2. Offer your services as a mobile DJ
A small PA system with maybe a light or two can be enough for you to play all kinds of different mobile events. This can be anything from friends’ weddings and birthdays to corporate events and bar mitzvahs. Do a sterling job and your name will soon be passed around, getting you repeat gigs left, right, and centre. Mobile DJing is quite a competitive market, but standards are also not particularly high – go in and do a good job and there is definitely room for you.
Get on it: Social media and your contacts book are your friends here. Does anyone you know have an upcoming special occasion? If you aren’t sure, ask around. Now you have a PA system, you can offer a professional package and make some money to put towards adding to your setup. Offer your services to reception halls, function rooms and party planners, you never know what might come of it.
3. Set up at impromptu urban outdoor parties and venues
Having your PA system allows you to pop up, set up, and put on a show anywhere with a power source. This could be in a car park or on a rooftop, and you could even think about hosting your own street party on a holiday weekend. If you want to do something at an established location, then there are loads of restaurants, pools, and bars lacking in the musical department that could do with your help. It can never hurt to ask.
Get on it: Have a brainstorm, which places or events local to you could do with the added magic of a live DJ to supplement their festivities? When you have a plan in place, head down to the place or establishment in question, scope it out and, if it’s suitable, offer your services. If you want to do something outdoors like the block party pictured above, make sure you have all the relevant permissions from your local authorities and residents. You don’t want the music to be cut off in the middle of your event.
4. Get your foot in the door at organised urban outdoor events
There are loads of organised events that do have some form of background music playing, these include: sports competitions, food fairs, beer festivals, and even skateparks. What they might not have, however, is a professional DJ playing live for their visitors and clients. This is the perfect opportunity for you and your PA system to fill this void.
Get on it: Find out when such events are taking place locally and get in touch with the organisers. Offer your services and you might find that they would be glad to ditch their radios and CDs to have you and your PA system playing instead.
5. Rent out your PA system to others
The added bonus to having your own PA system is that you can rent it out to others, which in turn helps you cover the initial purchase outlay. It also allows you to get close to other DJs and promoters, potentially leading to you getting more gigs that way. You can also think about renting your equipment out to bands and offer to warm up for them as part of the package. If you play this right, you could end up being the go-to guy for pop-up events, landing yourself a ton of gigs in the process.
Get on it: Post in groups on social media and create listings on sites like Craigslist. Get some face-to-face networking in. Do anything you can to get the word out there that you have a PA system for hire, and you will quite literally reap the rewards. Just make sure that you have all the necessary contracts and insurance in place in case anything goes awry.
6. Try busking
By using a small battery powered PA system you can easily hook up your DJ gear and take to the streets, train stations and so on… who knows, you might even make a bit of pocket money in the process. Not only is this good character-building experience, it’s an unusual gig and you never know who might be watching.
Get on it: First of all, check if busking is legal in your area. If it is, then find out where you can do it and if you need a permit to do so. When you have all of the necessary information, investigate and find a good spot. When you have found your place, set up and get ready to rock the Saturday shopping crowd!
7. Turn your PA into a full-on sound system
By adding a power generator to your PA system, you have the makings of a solid sound system. This allows you to go one step further than the above by opening up the possibility of places that you can play. You can now play anywhere that doesn’t have electricity: at campsites, on the fringes of festivals or even at Mount Everest Base Camp. This sound system culture has its origins in 1950s Jamaica, in the ghettos of Kingston. DJs would load up a truck with a generator, turntables, and huge speakers and set up street parties. Why not follow in their footsteps?
Get on it: Find out where the nearest music festival is, pack up your stuff, and head out. If that seems a stretch too far, then get in touch with some friends and organise a camping trip in the middle of nowhere, where you can blast out tunes all night long. Remember, you can play anywhere now, so think creatively.
In all, adding a PA system to your DJ arsenal is a surefire way of getting more gigs. It gives you something extra to offer people that might want a DJ to play in their establishment or at their event, but fear that they can’t factor in the rental cost of equipment. Having a PA system allows you to kill two birds with one stone for them. It might seem to be an expensive outlay at first, but you can always rent your gear out and the system could pay for itself.
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 Unusual Types Of Venues To Approach For Gigs
- 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 in this list? Has owning a PA system taken your DJ career to new heights? Let us know in the comments below…