Saturday, January 12, 2008

Getting the balance right

Wow... Last night I Was the DJ for the Hotel MacDonald 2008 staff party in Edmonton. They had a Casino Royal theme. I have disc jockeyed at events with casinos running at the same time as the dance and have usually found that two things happening at once like this can create a challenge in holding peoples interest.

This was not the case last night though. They partied like rock stars right out of the gate. The dance floor was packed from start to finish. I almost had to hide when it was time to stop because they wanted to keep on going. I was also thinking they might be a more conservative crowd, given that the Hotel MacDonald is by far the most prestigious Hotel in Edmonton. When they were naming some of the famous guests they had in 2007, they went on for 5 minutes and could have kept on going and going. I have done numerous weddings at the hotel through my disc jockey company Soundsations ,where budgeting was not even an issue at all for the couple. Of course, the staff and their guests were not reserved in the least.

The other challenge was that a good percentage of their staff are from foreign countries with a lot coming from Latin countries. That's why I titled this blog "keeping the balance right". When you have a mixed culture crowd to this extent, it can become an ugly battle between the various factions of the guests if not handled carefully. I had to make sure I played enough Latin music to make one half of the crowd happy and enough top 40 and so on to satisfy the other half. Also I had to go back and forth at the right rate so neither side had to wait too long and end up felling neglected. Luckily it was a very tolerant group last night, and for the most part they really enjoyed each others music.

When you mix in lots and lots of alcohol though, there's bound to be a few that forget about courtesy and tolerance and start demanding their preferences be played exclusively. This wasn't really a problem with the Hotel MacDonald crowd, but it does happen regularly. Is there anything the DJ can do to avoid this? I don't really think so. While we try to keep things fair and play a bit for everyone, all reasonableness can fly out the window for some when alcohol gets in the mix. Of course, if you appease the drunken too much, they will be back to try and monopolize the music all night, not giving a thought to the other tastes in the group. The DJ has to walk a fine line and it can be a difficult juggling act to try and keep this balance right. There is no formula for how to balance the equation, you just have to go with the feeling coming back at you from the crowd, and the more experienced I get, the more I find I am able to keep the mix right.

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