So, you fancy being a mobile DJ? Well good for you, being a good DJ can be one of the most satisfying jobs you can do. You have the ability to make peoples' events one to remember, you can put smiles on faces and you can earn a fair amount while doing it. BUT, and here speaks the voice of experience, if you want to get into mobile DJ'ing for the wrong reasons then it can be a disaster.
Before you even think about rushing out and buying gear for your mobile disco you should consider your motivation behind starting up. Too many people start up for the wrong reasons and significantly underestimate the work involved in running a mobile disco.
Let's start with the reasons NOT to take up mobile DJ'ing. If the words "easy money" have ever entered your head then running a mobile disco is not for you. If you want to be "The DJ" and soak up the adoration and kudos associated with that then PLEASE don't become a mobile DJ. If you only want to play the music YOU like to hear then I strongly recommend you don’t go down the mobile route.
Being a mobile DJ can be rewarding but it can be very hard work. Although playing music for a few hours really doesn’t seem that tough (you don’t even have to mix!) it’s not as easy as it looks.
Firstly, there’s logistics. See that stack of speakers, that lighting rig, those big flight cases? Well, they didn’t get to the venue by themselves. Being a ‘Mobile’ DJ means exactly that, you and your gear have to travel to where the party is. This means a lot of lifting, carrying, loading and unloading. You can rarely drive right upto the venue and you’ll be surprised how many function rooms turn out to be on the third floor!
Loading and unloading, however, is just half the battle. Once all the gear’s inside, it needs to be setup which means assembling, clamping, running cables and testing. Then, at whatever time the event ends, the whole process has to be repeated in reverse (often against the clock and with staff clearing up around you).
I can honestly say that you don’t know true tiredness until you have played a 6 hour wedding, packed up and got home at 4am. Anyone who considers entering the mobile DJ market for “easy money” will very quickly receive a stern wake-up call. Suddenly that £300 price tag for ‘playing a few songs’ seems like a bit of a bargain.
Now to address the ‘image’ thing. If you’ve admired big-name DJ’s such as Tiesto and always wanted to be in front of a huge crowd screaming your name while members of the opposite sex flock to you like a Lynx advert, you’ll be sadly disappointed. The publics image of mobile DJ’s is generally less Pete Tong and far more Peter Kay. Work hard, get them on your side and do a good job and you will be tolerated at best.
The key thing to remember is that, at the majority of events, you will be playing to a VERY diverse crowd. Weddings will see everything from toddlers to grannies and everyone in-between and keeping them all happy is a thankless and impossible task. Mixing the music up and catering for everyone isn’t impossible but you’ll always upset someone and (thanks to our good friend alcohol) they’ll generally let you know about it.
This brings me on to my final point. If you want to DJ so you can play your favourite genre week-in week-out then mobile DJ’ing is not for you. DJ’ing may well be perfect if you can find a night or venue that is specific to your genre then it may be the best job you ever had…mobiling on the other hand, will drive you nuts. 60’s, 70’s, 80’s chart, cheese, dance, motown, northern soul, country….the list is endless and you will, at some point, be asked to play it all (even if you can’t stand it).
So there you go, there are plenty of reasons to start a mobile disco and above are a few of the reasons you shouldn’t. In the second part of this series I will look at what makes a good mobile disco to help you to decide if it’s really for you.
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