7 Secrets To Playing a Great New Year’s Eve DJ Set

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 1 December, 2017


Midnight clock
Playing records that include bells, chimes or ticking encourages people to check the time every few minutes…

New Year’s Eve brings such high expectations, and if you are lucky enough to be DJing this New Year’s Eve, you may feel more pressure than normal to do a brilliant job.

In many ways it is a strange night for the DJ, because people come out who maybe wouldn’t normally (the “once a year” party people), and people tend to come and go too, which can give your dance floors a different atmosphere to that which you’re used to.

However, played properly, New Year’s Eve is one of the best nights to DJ, and it’s just a case of preparing well and knowing what to expect. So here are our 7 secrets to playing a great New Year’s Eve DJ set:

7 Secrets To Playing a Great New Year’s Eve DJ Set

  1. Play the year’s big records – This is no time for playing all your new stuff that nobody knows. People have chosen to celebrate the biggest night of the year with you – so if you’re a resident, play the tunes that have been biggest for you in the venue that year, or if you’re a guest, play the tunes that have been biggest in your scene. Using the history feature on your DJ software to look back over your year’s sets can be a great way to remind yourself
  2. Play records with a time/new year theme – Find records that sample clocks, bells, chimes, anything that will make people look at their watches as you build up to midnight. A clever and slightly cheesy re-edit or remix can be just the ticket in the build up to 12am

    Faithless Insomnia
    Armand Van Helden\’s remix of Faithless\’s \’Insomnia\’ has ticking, \’Big Ben\’ chiming, and a monster riff for NYE…
  3. Don’t be scared to get on the microphone – This is one occasion when it’s good to flick the microphone on, have a count down from 10 to 1 (everyone will join in), and shout a heartfelt “happy new year!” across the place. Everyone will cheer and clap and enjoy the personal touch this gives
  4. Consider stopping the music entirely for a couple of minutes at midnight – You could also raise the lights. All everyone wants to do is kiss their partners, snog a stranger, run around shaking everyone’s hand, hug, have a few words with their friends, have a toast… the wise DJ knows this, and will not be scared to give them time to do so
  5. Make the first record of the new year the biggest one you’ve got – They’re yours again now. Hit them with something massive
  6. Play your set as if people are only going to be there half the night – People often visit a few places on New Year’s Eve – different house parties, bars or clubs – so don’t expect them to be with you all night. Spread out the big tunes and make sure you don’t craft a 5-hour journey they’ll only hear half of
  7. Listen sympathetically to requests – Remember that many people will come out on New Year’s Eve who don’t come out often the rest of the year, and these “fair weather clubbers” may ask to hear obvious or inappropriate records – plus they could be more drunk than usual! Be patient with them, smile and listen to their requests: They may just have good ideas for the kind of tune you wouldn’t normally play that is going to get the whole place rocking

Got any tips for New Year’s Eve DJing? Want to share any triumphs or mishaps with us from your New Year’s Eve gigs? Let us know in the comments.

Click here for your free DJ Gear and software guide