Anyone who has been a DJ for more then a week can tell you that every event is different. I used to DJ a summer orientation event at a local college that consisted of five sessions. Each session had 250 college freshmen. Though most factors were the same, the playlist and atmosphere at every session was different. The awareness of this constant change I feel has helped make me a better DJ.
Several weeks ago I did a formal event for a college. I have done many of these events before and I had a general idea of how it would go. Overall the gig went well. It took people a little longer then expected to get dancing, but they got there. It was towards the end of the night when I started getting song requests. There were at least five people who requested to hear Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. I decided to play this one as the last song of the evening. about 10 minutes before the end of the night I had two girls come and request a song. I told them the last selections had been made and that I would not be able to play anything else. One girl insisted to see what the last songs were. When she saw that Don’t Stop Believin’ was the last song she told me that I couldn’t play it. She was very persistent that I must not play it. I then went and talked to the client who had hired me, and signed the contract, and explained the situation. There was also a lot of alcohol at this event, so I was cautious to what songs I played and who I was taking orders from. It is not uncommon for guests to try to undermine each other in order to get their song played. Then the client pulled the girl who was persistent off to the side and spoke with her. The girls friend, who originally was with the persistent one, told me the reason why I should not play that song.
The persistent girl has a close friend who is currently battling cancer. Don’t Stop Believin’ is their song. The friend told me the battle has been hard. After hearing this, I agreed not to play the song. This was a challenging situations because from the way the girl was approaching me, I assumed she was intoxicated and wanted to satisfy her song request over others. This was furthest from the truth. I am glad I was able to talk to the client and the girls friend to get to the root of the problem. I did apologize to the persistent one as well. It is never my intention to cause anyone emotional harm.
Word to the wise. Make sure you are open minded and sensitive to your surroundings at every event you are at. Lesson learned and crisis averted.