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.