By Stu Chisholm, “The Complete Disc Jockey”
All across the country, there are small events taking place that use the touch only a talented DJ can bring. Some are showcases with various themes, such as holistic health fairs, camping shows and even emergency preparedness (a.k.a. “prepper”) shows. Each group hosting such shows holds raffles, gives away door prizes and promotes its many other events. They like to have a great emcee to be their voice, as well as a bit of background music or even entertainment.
I struck a nerve at my very first one, and it was totally by accident. The event was a do-it-yourself wedding show at a local crafts store. In exchange for playing some background music and making the occasional announcement, I was offered a “free table.” Being a Monday, I accepted. These events can be a bit sleepy, and playing overly uptempo music can be jarring. So I began to walk the floor with my wireless mic, talking to the various vendors, asking about their specials or raffle prizes, etc.
That show was a first for the promotions company and there was a lot wrong with it, so the following year they decided on a complete overhaul. When it came to me, however, all of the vendors decided that I was the one thing they liked! That added, personal touch and genuine interest went far above the expected, dull background music, so I returned for every show ever since.
Another event was a bit like speed dating, only a business-to-business meetup, where vendors in a particular industry were encouraged to visit and make connections. For this, music had to be very much in the background! Once again, I only spoke at the hourly breaks when raffling off baskets and giving away door prizes, but I also spoke about the various vendors that I’d visit with during the event. Once again that personal touch and interest proved popular. These events usually happen on weekdays, and are far less intensive as far as preparation goes when compared to weddings or other events. In fact, one venue had its own PA system, so all I had to do was bring a small mixing console, wireless mic and a flash player with a couple of hours of music. In these instances, YOU are the most important item!
My latest weekday event was one of many Detroit area festivals involving food, this one called “A Taste of the Mediterranean.” Featuring food from Greece, Italy and the Middle East, music selection should’ve been cheesy easy! But in this case, a more pop mixture was the rule of the day, since the organizer wanted a festive atmosphere. So there are no stops for raffles and no announcements required! After a brief introduction and “requests are welcome” announcement, I simply put out my best mix for the next four hours. It was amazing! My cards flew out of my holder, some people danced and a couple of requests were added to the mix. This seems to be SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) at such events unless the organizer has things like raffles, or if you’re working for a charity that has appeals, special guest speakers and policy statements, etc. In any case, these events once again tend to be very local and mostly on weekdays.
If this sounds like a welcome addition to your week, then pay close attention to any branding you see at such events in your area. Usually any advertising will mention the name of the company, and you might even meet them there at the show. Get to know the organizers and, if they have a charity event, offer to do it “to support the cause.” If you can then dazzle them with your talent, you’re on the way to some great midweek money!