What To Do If You’re Threatened While DJing

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 3 mins
Last updated 23 March, 2018


Being threatened with fists, bottles or worse is an occupational hazard for DJs, made worse when people wait for you as you leave, as happened to our member.

Digital DJ Tips Platinum Group Member, Peter, writes: “So I was DJing at a bar last night, a guy requested a song that I knew wasn’t going to flow and I was on a winning streak with the tracks I was playing. The guy didn’t take too well to me not playing his track to the point where he picked up a bottle and started threatening me.

“I tried to talk him calm and shake his hand but he wasn’t having any of it. He threatened to wait for me and get my car, he then started threatening to shoot me (not sure if it was big talk or not). He did wait for me and had a gang with him outside.

“Thankfully I had enough people with me, but the locals seemed to not want to mess with him. Needless to say I won’t be going back to that bar again.

“This is a first for me. Has anyone else had any similar experiences? How did you deal with it? It’s close to putting me off DJing small bars….”

Group replies:

Joe says: “I’ve had a few threats and things over the years but never had anything that extreme. This is one of the main reasons why I won’t play in local pubs and bars now. Hopefully a one off for you and it doesn’t become a habit.”

Jason says: “Never this intense… but had enough shady and ‘weird’ experiences at bars to stop doing them completely. What also motivated me to stop DJing bars was the pay… bars, at least around where I live, usually don’t offer compensation that is truly worth our time. Glad you were not harmed and had people with you!”

Phil says: “I did end up in hospital once because of an incident. Long story but I have a scar just below one of my eyebrows. One guy head butted me with my glasses on and it cut across the top. ”

Chuck says: “A drunk guy waited for me after my daily residency and tried to run me over in the parking lot with his Jaguar. This was after making waves in the club before that and sending hotel security after me while I was still playing.”

Chris says: “If the bar manager and staff aren’t able to deal with this type of patron I wouldn’t want to risk my safety and the safety of my gear playing at their venue. It takes one drunken asshole to overturn your table and put you in the hole several grand. Did the staff not kick this guy out and call the police?”

Karlton says: “I have had situations (not that extreme because where I live firearms are carried by almost everyone legally), dependent upon where you are the verbal threat of bodily harm with deadly weapon is a felony. Next time I would suggest calling the police. It might save not only your life but someone else’s as well.”

Brian says: “I DJed in clubs for years, and I have been threatened a few times, just nothing that serious. I was always protected by a staff of very large men, so if anyone took a swing, they would have been in a very bad way in a matter of seconds. I would have gotten them thrown out and/or beat up by the bouncers (I wouldn’t have had to ask). It’s just another reason to follow the advise of Digital DJ Tips and treat the staff at the venue like gold. If I saw them again, outside, I’d probably have to call the cops at that point. The guy basically has threatened to assault you on several occasions. That’s totally out of bounds.”

Have you ever been threatened in a venue? How did you deal with it? What happened? What did you learn? How would you advise Peter? Let us know your thoughts below.

• This question and the answers are taken from our Platinum Facebook Group, an industry networking group for Digital DJ Tips inner circle members.

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