The silly season is almost upon us and as DJs it is time to prepare for one of the busiest times of working year. Many DJs will enjoy increased amounts of work as venues cram punters in on any night, and some afternoons, of the week. The average DJ will probably be working between 15-20 times in December, making loads of extra money but at a cost…your sanity!
Christmas parties seem to bring out the best and unfortunately the worst in people and that can mean a difficult night for the DJ. Many hotels host Christmas Party Nights which attract a variety of people and age ranges and that can make for an interesting night for the DJ, plus there is the fact that most DJs will be playing the same selection of tunes night after night…is this beginning to sound familiar?
In the 1990’s I was working for a large entertainments agency and at Christmas it was not unusual to be working over 30 times throughout the festive period. I would be working at the same hotel throughout December as it allowed me to set up a large rig and leave it in for the duration. The format was simple. The guests arrived and were shown to their tables. A basic 3-course meal was served…sometimes it was still hot…then coffee, short break…then the DJ!
The lights would be dimmed in the room, the audience would scream, and Dean Martin’s ‘Let It Snow’ would begin…a song that I still use to open my Christmas shows to this day!
The track would finish and I would welcome everyone to the party. This included a shout out to each party to see who could make the most noise and give you a heads up on where the idiots were in the room. Once the introductions were over, and a few mince pies were thrown for good measure, then the disco began. Within 10 seconds the dancefloor was crammed with punters fighting to get the best position. Handbags in the centre…and we’re off!
The first 30 minutes is easy. Play the big tunes and everyone is happy. Then the requests start coming in and that’s when things get interesting. “Can we have some Motown?”, “Can you play some dance music”, “What about some Oasis for the lads?”, “Are we having a bit of rock & roll?” and as soon as you move away from the 20 minutes of upfront chart hits that you have just played you’ll get the younger punters asking “When are you going to play some modern music?”…and not a “please” amongst any of the requests!
You have to put up with the same comments every night not to mention having to play the same songs too…’YMCA’, ‘Fairytale Of New York’, ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ & anything from ‘Grease’. Every night, and some afternoons too, for nearly 30 days. It’s enough to drive you mad!
At the end of the night you are met with the usual slurred cries of “more, more, more” but you will just smile politely as the lights in the room are turned up and everyone starts to leave…but not before the traditional drunken rendition of ‘Show Me The Way To Go’ or ‘New York New York’.
Wherever you are DJing this year I hope that all of the above is irrelevant and you have a brilliant time, or at least you have the courage and conviction to tolerate the tricky parts of this busy season!
Merry Christmas Everyone!
From Rich and the Mastermix Team!