Have you ever danced to "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC or "Love Stinks" by the J. Geils Band at a wedding reception? Have you heard Fall Out Boy's "I Don't Care" playing in the background at a charity fundraiser? What about any rap song by Ludacris, Eminem or Three 6 Mafia at a family-friendly employee event?
If you answered "No," to all those questions, then you must have had some decent DJs at your events (if you answered "Yes," it's possible you had to ask for your money back.) That's because good DJs don't just play the latest hits or their favorite songs, but rather customize a playlist to suit your audience.
Entertainment can really make or break your event, so picking the right DJ is critical to your success as a planner. To make sure you're in good hands, keep in mind these 5 tips for what to look for in a DJ for event entertainment:
• Personality. DJs can do more than just turn the volume up and down on your music. They mingle with guests, get people on the dance floor and create an overall lively atmosphere. If your DJ doesn't have the right outgoing personality to do that, they'll fall flat.
• Diverse interests. Look for a well-rounded DJ who is knowledgeable in different styles and genres of music. Make sure he or she has a good arsenal of songs suitable to your event, and that he or she can easily switch into something new if the crowd starts to lost interest.
• Responsiveness. DJs should be quick to respond to your RFPs and always get back to you in a reasonable amount of time. After all, if a DJ doesn't return or a phone call or email quickly, or by the time he or she said they would, how can you rely on them to be on time to your event?
• Professional equipment. Anyone who's listened to a song on the radio and heard the same song live in concert knows that audio equipment vastly affects the quality of a presentation. A good DJ will use professional equipment—quality speakers, CD players, microphones, mixing boards, etc. Some DJs may even have extra equipment such as special effects lighting. (Just keep in mind, you may have to pay more for such extras; it's up to you to determine if it's worth it.)
• References. Being good in person—not just on paper—is especially important for an someone who will actually interact with guests at your event. Ask fellow event planners who they recommend for event entertainment, or ask for a few reference clients from the DJs themselves.
That's not to say you should discount newcomers to the entertainment scene, though. But if you do go for someone who hasn't formally played at many events, at least ask for a few character references and make sure to meet him or her in person before making a decision.