We recently caught up with Mark Fellowes of Fellowes Productions and, in amongst all the news of where he’s been DJing and the great events he’s been involved in, he shared one particular experience with us that may well serve as a cautionary tale. So in his own words…
“I was recently asked to provide sound and lighting equipment for a private party that was being held at a highly salubrious London venue. Budget didn’t appear to be an issue – the choice of venue alone indicated that, but the client had created their own playlist on an iPad and didn’t need me there as a DJ. I pointed out that the extra cost for me to DJ was very small in comparison to the overall cost of the event, but it was still a ‘thanks but no thanks’.
“I was on site to ensure the kit functioned all night, so I was able to be an observer for the evening and found that the party pretty much happened as I expected. The music was totally disorganised, with no sense of continuity and no consideration of how to build a good playlist. A rock’n’roll classic would be followed by some gangsta rap and then a 70s disco track. Musically, it was all over the place, there was no atmosphere on the dance floor – whilst one song might have everyone up on their feet, the next would see them rushing to the bar or their seats.
“There was no mixing or editing, so the annoying start to some song, which an experienced DJ would edit out, would be played in full. Guests soon got bored of the iPad on its ‘random’ setting so they unplugged it, plugged in their own phones and started to play music from their personal collections. Cue minutes of silence as people scrolled and scrolled, trying to find that one song they wanted to play. And don’t even get me started on the difference in volume from one phone to another!
“The entire party became a bit of a farce. Guests were crowded around the playing area, trying to sort out the music instead of being on the dance floor. And from a health and safety angle (sorry, this is the boring bit), with glasses balanced precariously on top of equipment there was a very real risk that a spillage would make the kit electrically unsafe – a situation that would have brought the event to a sudden and very definite close.
“Did guests enjoy taking on DJ duties? Did they leave having enjoyed a fantastic atmosphere in an amazing venue? I don’t think so. Was it a memorable experience? I’m sure it was but, sadly, for all the wrong reasons.
The difference a DJ makes
“A professional DJ has the ability to take guests on a musical adventure. Whether you’re 8 or 80, there will be music you will know and want to dance to. Just because a song has been a massive hit, it won’t necessarily work on the dance floor, so a party needs someone playing music who understands which songs will work and when. A professional DJ is a great arbiter of taste, is able to ‘read’ the audience and has the experience and knowledge to make an evening of musical entertainment flow, which is the essence of a great party. And when it comes to playing people’s favourite tunes, a professional DJ knows how to deal with requests, and work out the most appropriate time to play them without ruining the sense of continuity.
“I’ve always maintained that anybody can DJ for half an hour, but what’s going to happen for the rest of the party? Music is one of the cheaper elements to hire into any event, yet it is one of the most crucial – it can either make or break a party. Getting a professional DJ involved means a fantastic playlist that will keep guests dancing all night. A professional DJ knows how to create a great atmosphere – without it there is the risk that high expectations turn into a very damp squib.”
Cutting corners can be a false economy – just one of the reasons why created our supplier directory. We know the difference that suppliers can make to the success or failure of an event – from the furniture you hire to the caterer you choose and not forgetting the DJ!
When you book a marquee with Lifestyle marquees we’ll be happy to advise you on any suppliers you need. Call us on 01483 322070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s start chatting about your event!