Have you reached a crossroads – where next to take your wedding DJ business?

Have you reached the crossroads?

 

Ever since 2002 I have been reaching out to, and connecting with, fellow mobile DJs who are passionate about weddings. Along the way I met with, and worked with, one way or another, over three hundred people who wanted to change something about what they did or how they did it in their DJ business.

 

what works for me

Where next

 

Some of those DJs started out being very enthusiastic and were like a sponge eager to soak up nuggets of information gleamed from seminars, articles, books and workshops. Many stayed in touch and continued to evolve and transform their businesses by implementing changes, taking risks and networking with fellow professionals via social media, DJ associations and commercial events like BPM, Pro-Mobile Conference and Mobilebeat Show Las Vegas.

 

Unfortunately not everyone continued on the journey. Some decided that they had arrived at their destination and no longer needed to pursue continued education, training and support. They were happy with their lot and didn’t see a need to update, refresh or review developments in current thinking. They have missed out substantially because the wedding industry is constantly changing. Brides and Bridegrooms are becoming more and more educated regarding the services they require and how to control the process of hiring suppliers on their terms.

work / life balance

success

Getting in front of potential clients has become more difficult and communicating what you do and how you do it has become far more of a technical challenge as much as an exercise in social media marketing.

 

I believe now is the time to regroup and take a fresh look at the current market place. The time is right for a bringing together of the best brains we have to take stock, evaluate and share solutions to current issues. Therefore I am currently organising an event that will take place over a couple of days in November that will focus exclusively on wedding specialist DJs. This will be like no other event ever staged in the United Kingdom.

Holiday Inn Reading

Holiday Inn Reading

This event will be;

A] A wedding DJ Masterclass

B] A Think Tank were not only ideas are shared but debated openly by delegates.

C] An opportunity for you to nominate topics for debate and explore potential.

D] A unique experience allowing you to question successful DJs regarding their journey, their decisions, their business models and their investment in self-development.

 

My objective for the Wedding DJ Think Tank is to re-connect and re-enthuse specialist wedding DJs to get back on track, push on, and address those things that have been pushed to the back burner.

 

We are assembling a great team of presenters for both days. More topics and presenters will be added shortly. I urge you to make the mind-shift decision to join us on one, if not both days. Only like-minded people will be in the room. Only people who have already supported education content based events will be allowed to attend.

 

The clock is ticking. I have limited time available. My fellow presenters also have busy schedules and are rarely to be found in one place at the same time. Please grab this opportunity and let’s see if we can kick start a new round of  positivity going forward into 2017.

 

On a personal note I would love to see some of my original workshop colleagues attend and share their experiences. Many of them have moved on to bigger and better things. Some have benefited from training offered by some fantastic mentors and coaches. It would be great to hear them share their journey and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

 

I look forward to seeing you there.

 

Many Thanks

Derek

 

Reading Holiday Inn

Sunday November 13 and / or Monday November 14

More info click here

Advertisements

Why do mobile djs question the need for training?

There has never been a better time to be a mobile DJ especially if you specialise in weddings. While club and pub work is good regular income the down-side is that competition is fierce and because supply outnumbers demand earning potential is limited.

In pubs and clubs the mobile DJ is working for two clients at the same time [the owner and the audience]. Sometimes the owner’s idea of music programming can be at odds with the audience which leaves the DJ with divided loyalties. This can lead to dissatisfied customers or to a disillusioned DJ and even worse a bewildered boss. Getting everything in harmony is more difficult than it looks. A good boss will appreciate the DJs knowledge, experience and expertise. A competent DJ will be able to read a crowd, be flexible regarding music requests and be a great communicator both on and off of the microphone.

Wedding DJs have a similar situation to manage. Their client is the person who engaged them, usually the bride. Her music tastes may vary and in some cases may have very little in common with her guests. This places the DJ in an awkward situation. How can you please everybody all of the time?

In order to tackle this dilemma we need to explore and understand why bosses and brides believe they know more about playing music in public than the professional mobile DJ does. Of course the answer is that they don’t. However they do have a fear and a lack of trust when it comes to handing over responsibility to a less than competent DJ. In order for us to take command and demonstrate our skill and talent we need to establish ourselves as experts in our field. We need to communicate effectively that we know what we are doing and that we are very good at what we do.

This kind of thing doesn’t come easy to DJs. I suspect most DJs expect to be allowed to do their own thing, after all is said and done their survival is based on their reputation…..or is it. Maybe things have got so bad that the clients are no longer interested in what the DJ thinks. Maybe these days they believe they can hire the cheapest Dj and tell him or her what to do. This includes making music selections [play-lists], advising on volume levels and what to say or not to say on the microphone.Little wonder average DJ fees are at an all time low.

And there lies the nub of the problem. “AVERAGE”

If there are too many DJs chasing too few bookings which pay low wages why would a DJ be bothered to challenge current beliefs and perceptions? To do so would require the DJ to bare his soul, insist that he knows more than his client and is prepared to demonstrate exactly HOW his Talent and EXPERTISE will make a big difference to the outcome of an event.

Unfortunately the majority of good mobile DJs struggle when it comes to marketing what they do and how they do it. Many have day jobs and they simply do not have the time to dedicate toward mastering the sales and marketing skills required to successfully communicate why they should be the clients first choice for a party.

The internet has a lot to answer for.

These days everyone communicates via email, social networking sites and information is exchanged via Blogs and web sites. The whole process of communicating has become less personal and mass media. Where people would once make a phone call they text. everything is dissected into soundbites. Twitter insists on the “meat” without the “Veg”

This week in the Uk a group of mobile DJs are attending a training course. This training has nothing to do with what they do, technically speaking, when playing music. Indeed general opinion is that teaching a DJ what to play and when to play it [with the exception of radio] is an impossible task. Mobile DJs and many club DJs are self-taught and have an instinctive ability to read audiences and make music selection on the fly.Whilst this is not an ideal method of learning a profession it is one which will over time weed out the wheat from the chaff. The competent DJ will prosper while the “Wanerbee dreamers” will fall by the wayside.

The amazing thing about this training for DJs and other training courses currently on offer is that they offer an insight into what customers really want from a service provider. Clients are better informed than they used to be thanks to modern technology. Clients have expectations which they expect to be met if not surpassed by their DJ. Thanks to YouTube they have seen plenty of examples of what they wish to avoid and they are better placed to make value judgements.

So like it or not modern mobile DJs will have to brush up on their presentation skills. They will need to be able to answer probing questions as well as being able to generate trust and confidence before an enquiry is converted into a booking. Modern mobile DJs will be aware that in order to separate themself from the competition they will need to know how to demonstrate just how different they are from other DJs.This may all seem pretty basic stuff to regular businessmen and women, alas it is still virgin territory for many DJs who still believe their music speaks on their behalf.

Today we have the opportunity to meet and learn. Yes many will argue that everything needed is to found out there in hyperspace and can be gleamed for free. Alternatively some DJs are keen to point out that their mates in forums and chat rooms can tell them all they need to know about any given subject so why should they pay good money for CDs, DVD’s, Books, seminars and courses?

For me the choice is simple. There is an easy way to learn or a hard way.

I can spend time trawling the internet looking for information or  contacting friends and acquaintances and asking them questions. Non of which will teach me anything, all I will gain is more information more facts. The biggest challenge is what you do with the information. How do you implement the facts and turn them into actions which will improve your business.

I can buy a copy of the Highway Code tomorrow but it won’t teach me how to drive a car or pass the driving test. In order to pass my driving test I will need an instructor, someone with a proven ability and track record of success. Investing time and money with a qualified instructor makes perfect sense. So too does the idea of seeking tuition from people who have been there before you, made all of the mistakes and found a better more successful way of doing business.

If you invest in formal training courses you take yourself out of your comfort zone. You expose yourself not just to the trainer but also to the other attendees. You share your experiences not just one on one but to the whole group. Very soon you develop an understanding of issues which not only impact on you but which are common to the whole group. Together you share points of view, experiences and ideas. Best of all you now have a point of reference.Questions can be posed and support sought not only on the day but subsequently. Feedback and support should be ongoing.

You won’t learn everything you need to know in one training course just like you won’t find the answers to your questions in one book or web site on the internet. the quest will be never-ending as indeed should be your development as an entertainer and performer. Footballers never stop being coached. Singers and actors need producers and directors. Mobile DJs need less ego and more skill. Training / coaching is the key which will lead to appreciation of your talent and your talent is valuable.

Some DJs maintain they can’t afford to pay for training. My response is you can’t afford not to. The cost of a course is the same as  purchasing a new microphone or mixer. It can be offset against your pre-tax profits and is therefore a legitimate business expense. The taxman is happy to pay for your training and ultimate success. The more money you make the more tax you will be paying.

This year I will be continuing my training courses for wedding DJs. There will be two in Bolton this May and a couple more in Birmingham this September. Details can be found here.

SEDAbuzz – a full day of learning is once again being repeated this year in June. Check here for details.

BPM DJ SHow will also be providing three full days of seminars covering all aspects of being a DJ – mobile, club and radio. Take a look here.

Also look out for local seminars and meet-ups organised by:

http://nadj.org.uk/

http://www.ampdj.co.uk/

http://www.facebook.com/groups/mobiledjnetwork/

best of luck, remember, DJs who learn more – Earn More – Honest!

Untill the next time, take care.Cheers.


DJ Seminars – workshops – conferences what’s the difference

Seminar

A seminar is usually a taster. It is an introduction or an overview of an idea, a technique, a system, a service or a product The seminar is often given in the form of a lecture and will include the opportunity for questions to be asked of the presenter either during the event or as it is drawing to a close.This structure enables a large number of people to attend and evaluate whether the topic is worth pursuing or not as the case may be. Most seminars are of a duration of an hour or two or less.

Workshops

Workshops are more interactive and practical. The presenter needs to engage with the delegates as individuals. Therefore usually the number of attendees is strictly limited. Much of the content is designed to be one on one or delivered to small “breakout” groups. People who attend workshops should be prepared to get involved. Delegates will be expected to do some practical stuff related to the workshop theme. A workshop will also include some style of critique. The presenter and the other attendees will be expected to pass opinion on exercises undertaken by the group. A workshop can often be a half day or full day duration.

Conferences.

Conferences can take many forms. Some will consist entirely of seminars while others are a mixture of seminars and workshops. In order for a conference to be viable they tend to be held on a much larger scale. In many instances conferences take place in dedicated venues which are equipped to handle large numbers of people. The venue will also be equipped with state of the art audio and visual equipment and have catering facilities on hand to feed the visitors. conferences can be a one day event or anything up to a week.

Why should I attend?

People learn and evaluate new ideas in different ways. Some people can read an article on-line or in a book and translate the written word into a process. Others are not so fortunate. They need to be shown how something works. Many of us need to be “Hands On” in order to comprehend an idea or method. Seminars, workshops and conferences gives the attendee a chance to ask questions, see for him or her self and seek clarification and support from presenters and fellow delegates. Often other people in the room will share their experiences and knowledge of the subject so that others can reason and evaluate the topic under discussion “in the moment” rather than having to reflect or review what had been presented at a later date.

Cost verses value.

Generally the cost of attending an event is considered to be a legitimate business expense and is therefore a tax-deductible investment in your business. So one way of looking at it is that such education is free and that the real cost to a business owner is his time. Time invested in a business is precious so one would expect an educational event to result in added value to your knowledge and skills. Attending a seminar, workshop or conference will not in its self improve what you do in your business. Implementing new ideas, methods and systems will!

Networking – the added bonus.

A spin-off from attending educational events is the networking. Meeting and talking to people in your profession can be very therapeutic. You will be surprised at how many others are in a similar situation or who have similar issues and challenges in their line of work. Often solutions are shared in an informal environment over a cup of coffee or a drink in the bar. Simply knowing that you are not alone and that others are facing the same situations can be inspirational and will prompt you to see things in a new light.

Education can be fun.Take off your blinkers, step out of your comfort zone and S-T-R-E-T-C-H. You’ll be glad you did.


The January workshops – a review

A new begining

This year i brought in the New Year at The Beaufort Park Hotel In Mold, North Wales and found myself the following day on a train out of Liverpool heading down to Southampton. My latest workshop “Specialist Wedding DJ A-Z” was to be launched on January 2nd.

I was excited and nervous. When i write a workshop I have little idea as to who will be sitting in front of me on the day. Many of those in attendance had been to previous workshops while for one or two this would be their first time at such an event. This means the content has to be flexible enough to be relevant to beginners and experienced DJs as well as challenging enough to be interesting and stimulating to all.

On the day of the workshop there is always time upon arrival for informal chat over coffee and a chance to put delegates at ease while I prepare the documents and set up my computer and sound system. This half hour also helps me “Get into the zone” and focus on the day ahead.

My primary objective when presenting and hosting a workshop is to engage everyone in the room. I encourage people to speak out and interrupt / interject at any time. The difference between a workshop and a seminar is that there is INTERACTION. The delegates provide valuable content by sharing their knowledge and experiences just as much as I do.

Surprisingly It’s amazing how quiet and subdued a group of DJ s can be at ten o’clock in the morning! however if I get the introductions right and the first topic presented hits the spot then the room quickly comes alive. By the time we get to our morning break for more tea & coffee the room has a “Buzz” and the cross conversations are flowing. Often the information & views shared over coffee produce little golden nuggets which delegates can take away and add to their armoury of expertise.

During the workshop i show video clips from other leading DJ trainers and advocates. Glimpses of material available from Peter Merry, Jim Cerone, Randy Bartlett, Mark Ferrell & Rick Brewer are often included as well as material from You Tube featuring British and American DJs.

Opportunities

The current workshop focuses on opportunities for a DJ at a wedding. It goes into great detail about what actually happens at such an event and concentrates on what happens if a dj is NOT involved. Weddings are in danger of having all of the fun and emotion stripped from them by chain hotels who treat wedding as little more than, as DJ Dave Windsor describes them, “an expensive meal”.

Brides “Don’t know what they don’t know” and only you, the DJ, will be the one to tell them the reality of the implications of not hiring you “the Expert” Specialist Wedding DJ / Host.

Throughout the day we examine each segment of a wedding. opportunities abound for an interactive DJ who understands how music can add to the energy, dynamics and emotion of the ceremony itself as well as introductions and Toasts. It’s not long before delegates appreciate that they can bring unique skills and talent to a wedding reception. DJs who understand and appreciate the responsibility placed in them can reap many rewards not least financial by offering to be involved in the planning, production and coordination of the may ceremonies which make up the wedding day.

Step out of your comfort zone

The most interesting part of the day for me was when I asked delegates to write a simple introduction. It could be introducing a B&G onto the dance floor or an introduction into the room. I also add a little twist to this to make it more challenging and interesting. Its amazing how this seemingly simple exercise can produce very varied results. DJs in a small room among their peers can find this task difficult. It’s strange and uncomfortable for them. However the workshop is the best place they can do this. Practise and rehearsal are vital to getting things right and making things better. If you can’t do this in a rom of colleagues and friends how can you do it elsewhere without benefiting from positive critique and support.

By the end of the day the delegates are filled with ideas and have seen for themselves just how they can implement simple changes to what they are currently doing which enhance their performance and which brides will value.

Feedback has been very good.

Within a few days I had taken the workshop to Southampton, Reading, Maidstone and Glasgow. Around fifty Djs attended and many have already seen a change in their business. One attendee has managed, within a week, to secure two events at a significantly higher fee then previously and also booked his first all day wedding.

I was so pleased the other day to receive this testimonial from a DJ who has attended a number of my workshops. If you have any reservations about attending one of my events Dale’s story should overcome them.

An attendee wrote on January 25

2/3 years ago, a local DJ told me that he heard a rumour that a mobile DJ in the Liberty stadium in Swansea was getting ‘XXX’ much [per gig), which was more than double what the local average was. We chatted about how AMAZING it would be to earn that amount per gig but came to the conclusion that the DJ or the rumour was full of BS (lol).

About a year after the above conversation, I came to hear of Mr Pengelly and after reading numerous recommendations I attended a 2 day workshop run by him ( Wedding Marketing & Unlock the cash).

I was pretty quiet for the 2 days. I sat there like a sponge taking in as much as I could.

Over the last 12 months I implemented the changes in my business, took further workshops to increase my skill set, and had advice on tap from Derek whenever needed.

Last year was great for me. I took a number of weddings at fee’s I thought only household club DJs could earn, not local wedding DJs. The best thing is though that my job is MUCH better, I am appreciated more, valued more and feedback is better than ever.

Today I have a bride and groom coming to my home at 10.30 to finalize contracts and pay the deposit.

The deposit is the amount I charged 3 years ago and the overall fee is just under double what that DJ was ‘apparently’ earning at the stadium.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Mr Derek Pengelly – THANK YOU

Thank you for Showing me a new way

Thank you for making my customers value me

Thank you for making my job even more enjoyable

Thank you for showing me how to earn a livable wage

Thank you for changing my lifestyle – YES – my lifestyle has changed.

AMAZING!

Good News – New workshop dates for March 2013

I have added three more dates and one provisional date – location to be confirmed.

Enter discount code “DAP” to get £10 off your ticket place.

Tuesday March 19th in Reading

Thursday March 21st in Bolton

Sunday March 24th in Leeds

25 -28th March? TBA – somewhere in the midlands

Thanks for your support:

If you can’t attend a workshop but would like an insight into the topics covered and a condensed presentation of the event including hints and tips on how you can become a Specialist Wedding DJ there is a CD / MP3 download available for £9.99

Buy it on Ebay here


The difference between Toastmasters, MCs and wedding DJ specialists.

There has been a great deal of debate regarding mobile DJs who are turning their attention toward expanding their services and presenting an alternative to the current choice of formal toastmaster and hotel duty manager, or family member, acting as a MC. So what is the difference?

Toastmaster:

Geoffrey Cornwell is a well-respected toastmaster. His website offers this explanation.           “A Professional Toastmaster is trained to find out what you want and to then liaise with everyone involved on your day.  He will work with all parties concerned and with your guests to ensure that timings and arrangements are complied with as you have requested them.  He will work closely with your photographer, caterer and other services to ensure that the day runs smoothly.  Your Toastmaster will guide you through your day and look after your guests to ensure that you enjoy a stress-free special day.”

He goes on to explain, “I will be available to advise you in etiquette and protocol from the day that you decide to use my services.  I can call on a wealth of experience to help you make decisions about your big day.  I will liaise with the other service providers to ensure that we are all working towards the same goal, which is fulfilling your wishes and giving you the best day of your life.”

MC:

An M.C. (Master of Ceremonies) generally will make announcements only, which will not necessarily be personal to the bride and groom. According to The Free Dictionary an MC is

1. A person who acts as host at a formal event, making the welcoming speech and introducing other speakers.
2. A performer who conducts a program of varied entertainment by introducing other performers to the audience.

So to my way of thinking there is no way a mobile DJ would or should ever consider comparing himself to a Toastmaster. His [ the Toastmaster] duties are heavily steeped in organisation and formality. He is usually authoritative in his demeanor and posseses a vocal ability which will not require a microphone except for the very largest of venues.

So where does the mobile DJ / Wedding Specialist fit in to the picture?

The DJ is well suited to taking on the roll of the MC. However the big difference between a conventional MC and a DJ / MC is MUSIC.

Music enables us to customise and personalise our announcements while also creating energy and emotion at one and the same time. Our use of professional sound systems and our microphone technique enables us to present introductions like no ordinary MC.

Jim Cerone, “The Perfect Host” is a DJ who has mastered the art of using creative music programming, presentaion skills and making announcements to great effect.
If we as DJs are able to communicate our difference and offer our brides a choice between toastmaster and conventional MCs we will be enhancing the occasion and presenting an alternative. We are not trying to replace either of these services, rather we are offering a brand new and unique service which the Toastmaster and ordinary MC are not able to offer. In short we are creating a new market which has not previously existed.

The only problem is that our brides have no idea that such a service is available to them. That is, until you tell them or you develop a reputation which results in your service being recommended by other wedding professionals.

Our knowledge of music and our ability to use it to create emotion brings another dimension to a wedding breakfast and wedding reception. The possibilities are only limited by our imagination. I have provided themed music where inspiration was provided by great theatre musicals, The Movies, Disney and  the swinging sixties to name but a few.

I’ve introduced a Bride and Groom into the room using classical favorites, love songs and even heavy metal numbers, all to great effect.

However taking on this new role also requires a great amount of responsibility. The DJ will need to know the procedures and traditions associated with weddings. He will also need to be aware of agreed time lines and of the obligations undertaken by other service providers. Most importantly he will need to establish trust with the venue management, none of which is easy or can be achieved overnight.

The Specialist Wedding Dj will need to develop his vocal skills and understand the importance of staging, direction and production. He or she will also need to be an excellent communicator.

In summary a DJ / MC needs to research the market, acquire the knowledge and develop a style which is unique. A style which is flexible and one which can best reflect his client’s personality and the kind of informal yet respectful performance best suited to his client.

This is an exciting and attractive opportunity for the new breed of professional wedding DJs. There are an ever-increasing number of professionals currently offering this unique service which is being well received by their clients.

Isn’t it about time you joined them?

Until next time………………………..

When it comes to learning It pays to travel

small workshop group

watching a video clip

As I prepare to embark on my return to the UK, and put the finishing touches to my new workshop for mobile DJ wedding specialists, I am reminded of the objections some people have toward traveling outside of their locality for education and training.

It appears everyone wants a workshop in their town. I understand how convenient this would be however my experience is that generally it’s impractical and almost impossible to accommodate such requests. Unfortunately  there are not enough mobile DJs interested in such events at the moment.

Ironically attending a seminar or workshop in your own market could work against you. Very often travelling to another area allows you to meet and share with people who are not your competition, or at least perceived as such.

My workshops held in Birmingham were well supported. DJs from all over the UK came together to learn and share without concern that they would be giving away their secrets to others who may use them to poach potential clients.

It’s refreshing to note that mobile DJs such as Alan Marshall. Mark Walsh, Eddie Short, Brian Mole, Barney Grossman, Martin Keogh, Gary Evans, Gary Jones, Adam Forgie, Clive Hodghton, Simon Fletcher, Sandy Sounds & Paul Smith and many more have all seen value, as I did in 2002, of traveling to the USA in search of knowledge and training.

MobileBeat 2012 Classroom style

an interactive sesssion

Thankfully ten years later people like Toby Oakley, Brian Marshall, Mark Walsh, Brian Mole,Ken Savage & Brian Roe as well as Johnathan Lewis are breaking new ground and providing more education and training for mobile DJs.

NADJ, SEDA and AMPDJ are all offering practical support to help DJs benefit from the wealth of expertise which is abundant in the UK today. They regularly organise events throughout the year where members and guests are invited to develop their skills and learn about new products and latest technological developments.

Up and coming opportunities in 2013 begin with my workshops in January followed by MobileBeat Las Vegas in February. March sees the BPM / Pro-Mobile weekend conference in Oxfordshire which features “The Perfect Host” Jim Cerone. April and May sees the return of Mark Ferrell to the UK with a series of workshops  teaching and coaching the art of being a professional Master of Ceremonies.

As I write this blog places are filling steadily for my Wedding DJ  workshop in Southampton, Maidstone and Glasgow while Reading is almost sold out. Reading is a place I have held previous events and many of the attendees are repeat customers.

The reality of the situation is that many of the DJs in the room will have travelled anything up to a hundred miles to be there. Most will have travelled around forty miles or so. Yet within an hour or so of the start of the workshop I can guarantee that the idea of protecting their secrets will have melted away.

Attending a workshop will enable you to embrace the notion of fraternity. You are all in business together but you are not in competition with each other. How can you compare another DJ to yourself. He is different. He has different skills, level of expertise and experience. He may do similar things but he will do them differently to you. More importantly the clients he wishes to attract are most certainly different from the ones you may wish to work for.

Another point to remember is that typically in a workshop there are usually a dozen or fewer attendees. In any city on  a weekend how many weddings are there likely to be taking place. How many venues are licensed for civil ceremonies? How many churches are there to choose from? There are plenty of opportunities for all, especially for those DJs who wish to specialise and be identified as different from the rest.

So, whilst it may well pay you to get out of your comfort zone and visit another area I understand sometimes this is not possible. If one of my workshops is being attended primarily by “Local” DJs I will go out of my way to put attendees at ease. Nobody need share a “secret”. There will be more than enough ideas and content for you to take away. I will be sharing not only my own content but also I will be showing you where you can get more support from experts in the UK and overseas.

Travelling outside of your locality can be seen as inconvenient however for me this is more than offset by the new, fresh environment which adds to the experience. Meeting new people in the same business and exploring how they deal with situations common to us all is refreshing. Remember too, all travel and costs associated with learning are legitimate business expenses which can be offset against tax.

It’s not very often the Tax Man gets to pay for something of benefit to you

Until next time………….


Ten years of Learning.

Vegas 2005

The Vegas Strip

MobilBeat:

Little did I know way back in February 2002 as my wife and I boarded a plane heading for Las Vegas, Nevada, USA that my DJ business was about to take off in a whole new direction. We were heading for the MobileBeat DJ show and convention. The idea was to learn how we could expand our business and hire and train more disc jockeys.

I had previously come across the MobileBeat magazine whilst on holiday the previous year. The magazine was full of articles about being a mobile DJ. Each article was written by a working DJ and the topics covered just about every aspect of the business. This was like gold dust to me because there was nothing like it available in the UK at the time. So when I heard about the show I just had to go.

From the moment we set foot in the convention hotel we were given a very warm welcome. The first evening we were sat outside the restaurant in the bar having a drink. It was evident by looking around us and noticing all of the people wearing DJ T-shirts and Branded company logo jackets that we were among fellow convention attendees. Someone overheard our conversation and invited us to join their group. everyone was amazed that we had travelled so far to attend the show and within minutes we were sharing ideas and discussing the differences of DJing around the world.

The following three days were an education in more ways than one. We met dozens of people who all took an interest in us and who wanted to share what ever they believed would help us in our business. Little did Carol I know that this was to be the start of a journey which would see us returning year after year. Each visit produced more insight and knowledge which we used to develop our DJ business. If only we had a show like this one in the UK.

On our second visit to the show in 2003 it became evident that the American DJ industry was both driven and supported not only by MobileBeat but by a number of other publications and disc jockey associations. It was also pointed out to me that i had an obligation to share my new-found knowledge with my fellow DJs in the United Kingdom.

National Association of Disc Jockeys  

I had to search around to find a disc jockey association in the UK. There were none in the north-west of the country and it transpired that the only two associations I could find were located in Reading and Maidstone. I visited them both. In the end I chose Thames valley DJA over SEDA. Thames valley was nearer and a little more open when it came to membership from outside of their base area. TVDJA already had a couple of members from Wales so the idea of a crazy scouser travelling five hours to join them on a Sunday lunchtime was bemusing but accepted.

Membership of both associations in those days was small by comparison to what it had been in the past. I was frustrated and wanted to make the association available to more DJs around the country. The committee agreed and the following year Thames Valley changed its name to The National Association of Disc Jockeys or NADJ as it has become known. Austin Levitt was the founding chairman however he was soon to step down and I found myself as the Chairman of the organisation. I had a vision and a plan which saw me travelling the length and breadth of the UK over the next three years. Local meetings were arranged and branches were established around the country. The committee evolved and thanks to the help of many people we finally grew the membership and provided a facility for British DJs to exchange ideas and learn new skills.

As word spread some DJs were suspicious of NADJ and me in particular. Why do we need an association they would say. Forums where the place most Djs went to exchange views. The internet was seen as the modern way to communicate. Others decided to do their own thing and within a couple of years there were more than half a dozen DJ associations to choose from in the country. While I was disappointed that NADj would not be the “umbrella” organisation I had hoped for I was delighted that in just a few short years the UK  had a network of learning and sharing for DJs to choose from.

Pro-Mobile Magazine:  

Whilst the DJ associations were growing a young man by the name of EDDIE SHORT was developing a magazine for the mobile DJ in the UK. Pro-Mobile Magazine was badly needed and filled a gap in the market perfectly. Together with a small number of like-minded DJs who contributed articles Eddie and his team created a product which spread knowledge far wider than the associations could.

I managed to convince Eddie that he would benefit from a visit to the MobileBeat show in Vegas and eventually he agreed to join me. I knew the owners and introduce him to them. I remember the meeting one evening in their hotel suite where I left Eddie to chat about DJ shows, publishing and all thing technical. Needless to say Eddie was impressed and returned to Vegas on a number of occasions in order to pick up more knowledge both for his magazine and for himself as a working DJ.

BPM SHOW:

I had always wished that we could have a show of our own like MobilBeat in the UK. Eddie also thought it would be a good idea but he also knew it would have to be different in order to appeal to our British way of doing things. Eddie teamed up with Mark Walsh and together they created the blueprint for what would become the BPM show. So you can imagine how delighted I was to be in Las Vegas with both Eddie and Mark and to see the first BPM show take place later that year at Donnington Park.

NADJ  had organised their own trade shows and led the way by introducing seminars as well as displaying products from manufacturers and retailers. Paul Arnett’s DJ Show North had also provided an opportunity for DJs to experience the best of what the industry had to offer. PLASA show in London was becoming less and less mobile dj friendly which helped drive more and more visitors to these new DJ events.

Fast forward to today and what do we see. BPM is bigger and better than ever, in fact it is the biggest DJ show in the world. BPM 2012 at the N.E.C. in Birmingham this October is set to break all-time records  for visitors to a DJ show. Education will play an important part of the event with three full days of seminars covering all things DJ. The contributors will be assembled from all walks of  DJ life providing advice and education for those who want to develop their skills or grow their business.

Seminars: 

I have had the pleasure to present many seminars at BPM over the years. These have been well attended and warmly received.  Feedback from the seminars indicated that there was a need for a more focused and dedicated method of sharing ideas and experiences. This led me to develop a series of workshops were a small number of djs can relax in an environment where ideas can be examined and refined. Workshops also allow for one on one coaching and development for the attendee. The workshops have been an amazing success. I am humbled when I list the gifted and talented Djs who have attended.

This year I shall be holding a workshop to coincide with BPM.

It will be held at a nearby hotel on Monday October 8th and repeated on Tuesday 9th. For more details please visit the eventbrite web site.

So, looking back if Carol and I had not boarded that plane ten tears ago would there be an NADJ today?

Would Pro-Momile Magazine have developed the way it has?

Would there be the choice of associations for DJs to choose from?

Would BPM have very been created?

Would DJs be able to attend seminars and workshops?

The answer to all of  these questions is YES, probably they would, all be it in a different format.

I wonder what the next ten years will have to offer?

Thanks for reading.

Derek Pengelly