Venues are like any other business in that they have a culture associated with them and a hierarchy that you must come to respect and understand. Public venues in particular have Occupational Health and Safety concerns, security issues, public liability, liquor licencing and a whole host of rules and regulations that they must adhere to. So how does that affect the average DJ?
Do Your Research
Venues that have regular entertainment will have a well-structured set of rules for your performance. No doubt set times, venue arrival, gear storage, liaison personnel and other details would usually be detailed in the form of a contract (usually known as work sheets) or other similar agreement. It is wise to speak with other DJs that have played the venue or if possible visit the venue and gague the room and crowd. Promoters and booking agents are always good for information about achieving the best performance. Such things as equipment advice, sound restraints, lighting options, venue personnel and any other “inside” information can prove invaluable in making your performance go like clockwork.
Being professional is all about coming across in a skilled and proficient manner in all aspects of your business. From your communication whether verbal or written, through to your personal presentation and behavior on the night… and of course your DJ skills! While you might think you are invisible behind the decks, there will be plenty of eyes on your performance, and there will invariably be feedback going back to management.
Whether it’s the equipment you are playing on, the local staff or even venue customers, you need to be friendly and polite. While you might work at the venue occasionally or in the weekends you need to accept the fact that while you might be rocking the crowd, the regular members of staff are working to RSA guidelines in a challenging environment, and ultimately have seniority over your surroundings.
On the Night
The venue will always have a key member of staff that will be running the event like a booker/promoter, sound technician or bar manager, and they are your “go-to” person. Ask for any specific concerns they might have over such things as volume level, music style, music request policy and current marketing events and promotions. While it might be tempting to have a cool beverage it is probably best to stick to soft drinks or water, especially if you are new to the venue. Hanging around for too long afterwards is never a great idea either, so if you want to relax after the gig, then go to another location. Before leaving make sure you thank the person at the venue you have been dealing with and the general staff and security. If they like you they will probably want you back!
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