Party for Lysaght Live with Special Guest – Ben Dain-Smith
A good disco is and will always be based on the crowd. A tough crowd means a tough disco. However, there are factors that can create this effect, and those factors are not always controllable.
Things that may possibly ruin an evening disco!
I don’t mean how long the disco is, as I have had a few that I have DJ’d for about an hour, and still been amazing. Likewise terrible nights too.
What day your party is plays a huge part of the night. If you have a hen or stag night and twenty mates go with you, and during said night you all end up in a club screaming Sweet Caroline at the top of your voices, you’ll want a weekend. If not, and you want a nice evening with family and a few friends… Pick a weeknight. With weeknights, most people work. So they don’t tend to drink a lot, or stay late. The thought that you have work the next day, stops you wanting to go a little bit further, mainly as you know you have to go to work the next day. Weekends, on the other hand, are the end of the week. Let your hair down. It’s why 90% of venues charge more, most popular evenings are weekends, as more people are likely to spend lots on booze.
Payday also plays a role, can’t spend money you don’t have yet. Mid month or end of the month tend to be a little quieter due to saving penny’s until payday. This can affect the dance floor. Remember though, if you have friends and family who enjoy life without alcohol, it doesn’t matter what day, they’ll dance regardless.
You’d expect the sunnier the weather the better the party, right? Not necessarily. If it’s warm and sunny, and you have a nice beverage, you tend to enjoy the weather by sitting outside. This is great if that’s where you want the evening entertainment to be, but if not, the dance floor will be empty until the temperature cools down a little. Rain, on the other hand usually the dampener of spirits during the day, allows for the energy to be provided by the disco in the evening. Either way, the DJ can work with it, just be prepared to enjoy an evening outside if it’s lush weather.
When the buffet opens, the dance floor closes.
Remember that old Christmas jumper someone bought you, and you wore it that one year to keep them happy but it’s now living in the bottom of your wardrobe, alone, forgotten, and you haven’t thrown it out because you fear if you do they’ll ask where it is? Yep, that is how the dance floor is when the buffet opens. Left. It’s perfectly fine though, the forty five minutes of chill time between first dance / opening disco, to main party, gives you and your guests a breather and time to fill up before the main event. You’ll find most people will only dance after the buffet, as it’s like an order. First, bar for drinks, then food from the buffet, then dancing. Perfectly normal for the dancing to stop, while people feed.
I will say it before my point. I do not dislike children. On that note, more than three and the party vibe struggles to start. Kids are great, fun, and happy but, as soon as the music starts and they run around the whole room, burning all their energy from the sweets or endless squash they have been given, they take up ‘the space’ people would normally dance in. It could be compared to trying to dance at a funfair, in the dodgems arena, while the hardcore bumpers are driving. It’s a little off putting.
I have DJ’d weddings where the kids have brought life to the party, playing music for them (effectively a kids party playlist before buffet) warms the room up. However, I’ve noticed that it is when the kids have gone, the dancers get up. Before that, they live at the bar.
Poor playlist choices and songs played at the wrong times.
Yes, choosing songs is half the battle. I cannot stress enough that song choices and when to play the ‘bangers’ (Mr Bright-side, never before 10pm!!!) is important to a disco. Telling the DJ to play these early is like asking a marathon runner to sprint the first 5 miles…it burns the party vibe out too soon. Yes, it is a belter, yes people will rush to dance to it, but no at the start of the disco, they won’t stay there to dance.
A basic Fozzy Follow chart:
There is an order to which I have tried and tested, and it seems to work really well. I tend to start with newish stuff. Some new songs are loved by all ages, which allows for all to dance. Then, I move into the oldies music. The good stuff. This is where I may play a Motown set. I find that parents with children, and the older generation leave before 10pm or 11pm. So, I play to them first. When 10pm comes around, I read the room to who is remaining. That’s where either rock or hip hop come out, or possibly RnB. The dance tracks, I mean Ibiza anthems, come at either 11pm or midnight. By then all the ravers are nicely drunk and go mental for a good DJ dance set. I even throw in some Garage for good measure. Then, end the night with a list I call Sing Along Drunks. If you make a playlist for your DJ, please let them be flexible enough to use your list their way, to try and keep the party flowing. Playing songs like Sex On Fire at the start of the night maybe your way to get everyone up, but unless you have a whole set list to keep them up, trust us to know what we’re doing.
No one can guarantee the dance floor will be rammed all night. That takes a group. You guests. If they want to come with us DJs on a musical journey, a good DJ will lead them. And all will be amazing. But, as life is the way it is, hurdles will crop up and cause some issues. Sometimes, we misread a room, and play a song that should and normally rocks the room, and that song in this moment may cause people to go to the bar, or just sit and watch. We’re only human after all.
But factor in all the variables before deciding the DJ is a fault for an empty dance floor. Sometimes, it could simply be too hot.
Disclaimer: I am a professional events and mobile DJ of five years, mostly weddings, all in four star and five star hotels and venues. I pride myself in providing the best service and experience I can for the Bride, Groom, and their guests.
DJing weddings is not as easy as it sounds. Getting the first dance right, father/daughter dances… In fact, Christmas parties are the easiest, as the punters are already drunk before you even plug in your first light. So you don’t really have to do much. In my opinion, weddings are the toughest there is. I’m gonna give you a few pointers as to what to do, why to do it, and the best way to support your DJ to get the best night out of it. Obviously, read my blog on Wedding Disco: What ruins a potentially great Disco! for other reason’s why a wedding disco could be bad.
Why is it a good idea that you, the Bride & Groom, provide the playlist for your wedding?
And, why not!
It is your wedding!
Of course, the first point it is your day, you get what you want. Don’t let cousin Jeff have his tunes from his band ruin a great vibe when their music would probably be beaten in the charts by pneumatic drill. However, providing a list of songs for the DJ to work through throughout the night is fantastic. It gives us an idea of what you like. For example, if you give us three of four songs from 2000’s that feature RnB artists, then we can work out what songs we can add to your list that will enhance your night. Having a list, and told to only play off the list, is like asking a 100 meter runner to wear steel toe boots for his final race. He could run it fine, but he isn’t gonna win any medals.
We will play only off your list, but ensure the guests know the music has been chosen by you. So pick really good songs!!
It helps you trust the DJ will play songs you like.
As I mentioned, having a list allows the DJ to ‘float around’ genres, eras, and artists that fit into your list while you have the faith the list will be played. I mean, most of the night you are gonna be so busy enjoying yourself you probably won’t here that SpiceGirls song you love, doesn’t mean the DJ didn’t play it. Plus, there are some DJ’s that think they are hired for being them, and play what they want…and are usually better placed on the side of a road, in the desert.
Some DJ’s are absolutely terrible!
Oh, my, word…I was a guest to a wedding once, and I felt like kicking the guy off the stage and taking over. He was terrible, talked on the mic after every song..not coherently I’ll add. Muffled noise, followed by the same song he played ten minutes ago. He sat on a chair looking like he would rather be thumbing through a newspaper with a pipe in his gob. Had a woman sat next to him who looked like she was judging the whole room. Really showed me I have a great presence and character when performing. Because, it is a performance. So please, provide a playlist if you have never done either of these three things;
- Met the DJ
- Read a review
- Been to one of their disco’s
Sometimes a friend or relative will recommend a DJ, but then you provide a playlist. Remember that bit…provide a playlist. I was once recommended, and the person who recommended me is still up in my top 10 discos I have ever done. I digress, the person who recommended me told me three artists they like, and said “ooo, I love a bit of 80s and Motown”. This was plenty for me to go and rock their party. However, when I was booked via recommendation, and given a “only play off this” list, you can imagine the night had top ten value moments, but other times felt more like a empty room had more life due to how restricted I was. During the night, when the organiser asked why their friend’s party was better, I didn’t lie, I told them. No playlist meant I could DJ. The reply was: Scrap the playlist, lets party…so we did.
- If you can, always meet the DJ. Either face to face, through a wedding showcase, or simply through social media. Trust me, their Instagram or FaceBook posts should tell you how their parties go.
- Always try your best to give a list of songs, but remember to allow the DJ to chose if certain songs are not to be played and allow them to add songs, or play ‘around’ your list. This means to put songs in that work with your list, and will keep the party going. This is the bit you are paying them to do. Otherwise, you could hire a sound system and play a personal playlist. Of course, if there is a song or two you really want, highlight them, they most probably will be ace.
- Don’t request: Mr Bright-side, Uptown Funk, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, or Don’t Stop Me Now. They are already in 99% of DJ’s arsenal as strong songs. Requesting them too soon or too late, means the dynamic of the evening changes. For a nice flow to the evening, if you request any of these, they will be played, but timing is everything. Playing Mr Bright-side early, means the energy of the evening will either burn out too soon and everyone will be knackered from dancing like loons from the start, or no one will dance because they’re not ready. Most like to be tipsy, and have eaten a plateful of buffet before getting up.
If you want to ask your guests to request songs on your invites, that is fine. Remember that you are giving control of your evening party to them. If they chose songs that are boring, or inappropriate but you have said they need to be played, we will play them. Sometimes, it is best to be worked between Bride and Groom, and the DJ.
Disclaimer: I am a professional events and mobile DJ of five years, mostly weddings, in a variety of hotels and small venues. I pride myself in providing the best service and experience I can for the Bride, Groom, and their guests.
On May 5th I will be working… Bloody hard. Could say equally as hard as those amazing people running in Newport’s Marathon.
First of all, I am really hoping the weather is fantastic. Not for me, but those fabulous nutters running the big ol’ race. Although, as I’ll be helping provide tunes on the corner of the Lysaght Institute junction, I want a nice, rain less day.
Are you running?
The whole point of me being there is to help you guys, get through the trek. As it’s over 25 miles, and we are on mile 2 & 24, I am taking requests!
If you are running, or cheering for a runner, come down to Lysaghts and see one of the cheerers. Give them a song to play for you or someone you are cheering on, and we’ll get it in for them, as they pass. For those unable to make it to the station, I will be live streaming the day below.
A few years ago I was tasked with supporting a friend with a podcast. It was epic, and fun, and called Let’s Chat Geek. You can find more about it in the projects tab. It occurred to me that being able to offer a streaming option as a service, would come in very handy for people who just want to ‘do’ what ever it is they’re doing. For example, Shane @letschatgeek, just wanted to sit in front of a mic and talk. He was happy controlling the Web-based business side of the podcast, but needed a techy to do the producing bit. Cue Foz.
When I joined, I had limited knowledge and equipment to carry out a podcast. So, I purchased some cheap mics, a cheap Macbook, and a cheap mixing desk. I learned it was not difficult for me to do what was needed. We achieved what we wanted. But, it was recording the show, then I would do a little editing, and then Shane would upload it.
Over the years, I’ve thought about filming, and producing, and editing film. I bought a decent camera, and took some epic photos:
Yep, all me. Not bad, huh?
This was the start. Luck would drop another opportunity on my lap when Time & Space Productions contacted me asking for editing assistance. Thomas met me a few years back at an audition, that didn’t go anywhere. But, it brought me to him. He sent me some footage and asked my to edit the footage into a ten to fifteen minute show. So, I did…with additional extras. The show required an introduction, title cards, credits, sound. Pretty much, the whole nine yards…so I complied and The Mighty Fozzy Entertainment was born. If you want to see what editing and additions I did, check it out in the projects tab.
Where are we now?
Hale to the Ale is on series two. Currently in preproduction. I have been tasked with finding a faster, more professional way to film. And I think I have found it.
Through DJing, I have noticed a lot of DJs live stream their performance over Facebook. Through my gaming, I know there is a way to do this through other means. One, the biggest of all, YouTube. Recently, I have been playing around with different webcams, through Open Broadcast Software (OBS), and old laptops, and I think I have found the next way of filming. By the way, everything I do is to a budget, for this my budget was one hundred pounds. This budget is yet to be reached. I purchased four HD webcams, a USB 3.0 splitter, and a midi key controller. These, in collaboration with OBS will be perfect for streaming.
Our first test, using mobile tethering, will be during Newport’s marathon on May 5th 2019. If this date has passed, see my YouTube page for the video.
The luxury I have for this, is that it ticks a box in university. I have to complete a performance for one of my final projects. The external examiner will be watching the stream. Hopefully, he or she would have read this, and will know that I will be replying to comments in the stream during the day. No, I’m not taking requests unless you are a runner.
So, tune in on May 5th for the first test of the stream, and May 8th for the second trial of it.
If you want to know more or want to learn about this service, contact us via the contact tab.
This post is in progress, as the project is ongoing. Thanks for reading 😘