Many DJs will perform at the same venue throughout December. Each night will usually see a different audience but how much will the music you play change each night?
This year I was asked to DJ at Magna in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Magna is an old steel works that has been transformed into a science park and events venue. The main room will comfortably seat 850 people and still have room for a large dancefloor, stage and even dodgem cars for the punters to enjoy as part of their evenings entertainment.
The night’s entertainment is shared between the DJ and a live band. Now I’ve worked with many bands in my time and some are good and some are…well not so good…but this band are fantastic! They call themselves the Bootleggers and not only are they great on stage but also easy to get on with off stage. They are a party band and their set list includes a large number of tracks that I would normally play as part of my set so I had to give my playlist a little more thought this year.
In order to create the right atmosphere in the room my Christmas set starts with Music For Food: Christmas which I use as guests arrive in the main hall. Once the guests are seated then I use a selection of festive favourites that I have compiled into 2 x 60 minute sections to play throughout the meal.
The music has been carefully selected to create the right atmosphere whilst the guest enjoy their food. Once the meal is over and guests are on coffee then I play a 20 minute section of more upbeat festive tunes with the volume slightly louder than through the meal, to create a livelier atmosphere in the room.
|Mary’s Boy Child||Boney M|
|Do They Know It’s Christmas||Band Aid|
|Wonderful Christmastime||Paul McCartney|
|Sing-A-Long Santa Mix||Singing Christmas Tree|
During this section of music the dodgems are opened and the lights in the room are dimmed slightly. This allows guests to enjoy the dodgems, have a breather after their meal, go outside for a crafty cigarette or pay a call of nature!
Because Magna is such a large venue I didn’t want to start playing music to an empty dancefloor whilst standing on an empty stage so I created an intro mix to allow the audience time to acclimatise to the darkened room and louder music.
|Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!||Dean Martin|
|“Merry Christmas Everybody!”||Noddy Holder Jingle|
|Warm This Winter||Gabrielle Cilmi|
|Get The Party Started||Shirley Bassey|
|Voice Over (1)|
|Glad You Came (Extended Floorfiller)||The Wanted|
|Voice Over (2)|
This section of music allows me to entice punters onto the dancefloor and also give me time to put on my Santa suit…did I not mention that? I like to do things different when DJing so invested in a high-quality Santa outfit that I wear as part of my entrance onto stage for my Christmas events. By the time the intro jingle plays, provided by an X-Factor voice over sound-a-like, the dancefloor is usually packed to the rafters. Imagine the atmosphere when Santa arrives in the room…they love it!
Once I have made my entrance on stage then I kick into the first of my two main sets:
Party Rock Anthem
On The Floor
Give Me Everything
|Extended Pop Party Mix|
The age group of the audience varies from 18 to 60+ so I like to start with a selection of pop/dance tracks as the young girls are always the first on the dancefloor and they will give me a core group to work with in order to build the right atmosphere. A strong 30 minute pop/dance section creates the base for me to change the music direction without fear of everyone walking off the dancefloor.
The change of music can be anything from 60s or 70s but I choose to go with the 80s and use Wham’s ‘I’m Your Man’ to move into a party section. The screams from the audience assure me that I have made the right choice.
The first set is rounded off with a couple of guaranteed party favourites. Jive Bunny ‘Soul Banana’ never fails, although I have had to engineer a special version as the band perform ‘Sweet Soul Music’ as part of their set. Shakin’ Stevens ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ gives the room a seasonal lift and ‘Mony Mony’ is on stand by just in case the band aren’t quite ready…which happened last weekend!
My second set is a lot less structured than the first as it allows me to play a few requests amongst my planned set:
|Only Girl (In The World) Extended Floorfiller||Rihanna|
|Sexy Chick||David Guetta|
|When Love Takes Over||David Guetta|
|It’s Raining Men vs. Baggy Trousers
All I Want For Christmas (Is You)
Outro Voice Over
|Weather Girls/ Madness
|Grandmaster 80s Party (Section)|
‘Billie Jean’ is always a winner, I love this track and so does the audience. The next section of tracks is inspired by the recently produced Grandmaster Christmas Party. I’m a great believer in keeping things simple so using the tracks within the mix as a guide I mix some of the set live and use some pre-mixed sections to allow me to work the crowd from the stage.
The second set features a bit of everything, from Rihanna to Usher, Rainbow to Madness and rounding off with ‘Let’s Party’ by Jive Bunny & the Mastermixers before ending my show with ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ by Mariah Carey. Everyone has their own way of rounding a night of but this one just works for me as it achieves a euphoric high to end on.
My Christmas set is made up of individual tracks, Extended Floorfillers, Triple Trackers, Mixes & Grandmasters and they serve me well whatever event I am performing at. By taking the time to plan a set for each event it allows me to create the perfect playlist. I always encourage requests but when playing at larger venues like Magna it isn’t always possible to play them all. A structured playlist gives me a head start on the night and gives me the confidence to deliver the right selection of music to my audience.
I’m performing 11 times at Magna and each set will include a large selection of the same tracks in almost the same order. Whilst I, and the staff, have heard the same tracks in the same order each night, the punters haven’t and they are the most important factor to take into consideration. Of course each night won’t be exactly the same, where’s the fun in that, but if it isn’t broken…well you know the rest!
Happy DJing everyone!