Hi folks,

Hope you are all well and good this fine afternoon.

Todays blog post isn’t directly related to any recent incident but it is something that time and time again comes up usually when dealing with guests rather than clients.

Before I started DJing for what I would describe as “mainstream parties” I had all sorts of ideas about what music I would play. Coming from a funky house background I was going to rock parties up and down the country with cool tunes that nobody had heard before and everyone would be dancing. I had no idea how wrong I could be until I actually did start doing Uncle Johns 40th and more recently weddings.

Six years (and roughly 500 gigs) later and my outlook and ideas have changed. Yet still every so often I have to explain to guests why I’m unlikely to play their request which some people understand but many don’t. Today hopefully I will help some people understand at least the thinking that I put into my song selection.

Firstly, there are a few general golden rules,

*As a wedding DJ my job is to entertain and get everyone dancing. I’m not here to “musically educate” everyone.

*People in general will only dance to music they know pretty well.

*What you may consider a “big hit” may not actually work as you think. If I had a pound for everytime I’ve heard “play it, everyone loves this song” then I wouldn’t be writing this blog post.

*I usually have a rough idea of the next 10/15 minutes of songs. I’m a reactive DJ so always looking to “play the right records at the right time” so if I’m playing some Motown to a full dancefloor I’m very unlikely to play a record that is vastly different such as heavy metal. I will however save that request for later and will even plot roughly how I will move from motown to metal but it will take some time to do so. The only time it is worth abruptly going from one song to the next is it you suddenly need to “up the tempo” or the current song isn’t working (which I have to admit is rare but it happens to all of us). This is a major point most guests don’t actually understand and appear to think we have our own collection of songs on shuffle. If is a common theme that us DJs encounter is the party goer that goes “play my song now, nobody likes this” to a full dancefloor of people.

*If your a guest at someones wedding, chances are the happy couple have had some input into the music policy for the evening, heck they are more than likely to have chosen their DJ based on their music policy. If your DJ tells you that the couple have vetoed your request then he/she is very unlikely to change their mind no matter what you say.

That said here are some things I urge you not to do

*DJs surprisely are also humans, if you ask for a song in an aggressive and rude manner then it only makes it more unlikely that he/she is going to play it.

*Don’t ask “what songs have you got”. Chances are the DJ has already got a few to work through and failing that is trying to rack his/her brains to find the next good song. If you don’t know what song you want to request then please do not ask the question. The answer will be “thousands” whoever you ask. If you know the song but don’t know what it is called then that is different.

*If the DJ is actually on the microphone or has his headphones on please don’t stand their poking him/her within an inch of their life. You might think this is common sense but it happens………

*The most important one is that a good DJ knows what they are doing. None of us want an empty dancefloor and we have a sixth sense that tells us if what we are playing is “working”. They don’t need to be hearing “play this right now” or “this music is ****”.  Remember you are one of what should be a good number of guests all with their own musical preferences and pleasing everyone is a nigh on impossible task. The expression “you can either please all of the people some of the time or some of the people all of the time” rings true.

So there you guys have it. In summary I certainly don’t want this to sound like me on a soap box having a good old moan because it really isn’t. Its more to give people an insight in what the DJ at your next party is likely to be thinking and his/her approach. With this knowledge you can hopefully appreciate the thought process and understand why your song may not get played straight away. Naturally if anyone has any questions then please feel free to comment below and I’ll happily get back to you kind folks.


Welcome, 2013

02Jan13

Hi everyone!

Happy new year everyone, hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing time off over the festive season.

Seeing as we are starting a new year I thought I would take the time today to talk about retro theme ideas that we can help with, particularly if your thinking 70’s or 80’s.

Being a huge fan of 70’s disco I was over the moon with one of my couples last year when they said in the meeting that they wanted just disco and funky house all night and had Beegees “More Than A Woman” as their first dance which is one of my personal favourite songs. For this we also swapped out our usual lighting and went with just a disco ball which really helped with the theme and is a very cost effective solution to anyone wanting a retro look to their evenings entertainment.

If your thinking of an 80s theme then we have a few more options to offer our clients. We have the LED night fever dancefloor which personally I think looks really cool when used in the right environment. We can also provide the old fashioned lightscreens as a frontage if you really wanted to push the boat out on this. I will admit they aren’t to everyones taste. We can also provide UV lights as well which works well with a neon theme or when guests have used good quality body paint. If you have a particular favourite tv show or “icon” from your chosen years then we can project images at your event.

These are just a few ideas to get you guys started but if you have any of your own then please do share them with me.

Neil


Hi guys,

Hope we are all keeping well out there in the blogging world. Currently sat once again in Cafe Corretto the day after the Glosbiz Christmas party and feeling surprisingly fresh!

I received an email first thing on a Monday which reminds me why I do what I do, it certainly isn’t a money thing but the buzz I get from seeing a group of friends and family celebrate someones big day with my help as a wedding entertainer is a very powerful thing. 

You may remember me mentioning on here (and on the facebook and twitter pages/accounts) about a tipi wedding in November during the worse rainfall we have had in years….in Tewkesbury (those of you that are local will know its the first place to food anywhere). It was a challenging gig and lucky that I went prepared. Here is the email….

 

“Dear Neil,

Apologies for not sending this earlier as we have just returned from our honeymoon but we just wanted to say a big thank you for all your efforts and DJing at our wedding particularly given the dreadful weather that day. We were just happy you managed to turn up given the location of the reception but you did a fantastic job and we hope you managed to get back okay and in good order. 

We can recall numerous comments from our guests about how great the DJ was. My abiding memory was of the dance floor being pretty much full the whole time which is always a good sign. Thank you also for playing the songs on our list no matter how ‘cheesy’ they were! Should any of our friends need a recommendation you will be top of our list and if you would like feedback for your website then we will be more happy to provide some.

Thank you again,

David”

That will see me flying for the rest of the week. It also reminds me why I’m not actively trying to increase the number of DJs that I employ and aiming to do 95% of the DJ work that comes our way. 

That should be it for me in 2012, hope you guys all have a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Please do let me know if you have any comments or suggestions for future blog posts. 

 

Neil


Hi everyone,

Writing this blog post today from the warmth of a coffee shop overlooking a very frosty and wintry looking Gloucester. This weeks post is in reply to a suggestion from the fabulous Kirsten Butler from “The Little Wedding Helper” http://littleweddinghelper.co.uk/ Having worked with her I can say I’ve seen her magic first hand, a very talented lady.

Now my teachers pet introduction is done, let me crack onto the question raised by Kirsten. I wanted to state at this point I have only a few golden rules, one of which is to avoid being negative about other suppliers however I will more than likely mention a few stories that I’ve heard which I feel is relevant to answering the question.

The stereotypical DJ (which is constantly reinforced by the media) is of some old fella behind some flashy and tacky light screens talking non stop over the music, with a pint in one hand and a fag in the other. While this might of been accurate in the 1980’s the whole industry has moved on leaps and bounds since then. The whole red coat routine is rather old hat now and while most experienced DJs have this in their locker, the good ones know when to dust it off and party like its 1985.

That said, its fairly common for some newbies to the industry (As an admin on a national DJ forum I see day in and out whats “occuring”). The common phrase is to “let the music do the talking” which translates into no interaction at all with their audience. I have had a small number of clients request this which I’m happy to do but will say in my own personal opinion that its not the way to go. Why?, well I don’t feel the need to tell everyone how long this B side track was in the charts in 1979 but I do feel the need to make myself come across as friendly and approachable to all party goers. When someone comes up to request a song they are telling me so much more with that, little things like body language can give me ideas to how people are feeling at the time, what mood is everyone in. Does the volume need to be increased or is the genre of music not quite right for that particular moment in time.

Even if people are so forthcoming with requests it doesn’t stop me looking around spying for clues to how to maybe improve the “soundtrack” be it early doors background music or how to reach that grand finale track. Its a skill and a sixth sense that only comes with experience and some common sense. I’ve heard too many stories to the contrary to say every DJ does this.

Which leads me nicely onto my next point, meeting pre event with your DJ. Even if you have no particular music tastes in mind (which actually makes this meeting even more important) is the you feel you can trust him/her to make these choices and that they know what they are talking about. For me I’m always keen to find out what genres of music they like and don’t like so I know the boundaries to work within on the evening. The whole playing the same old songs at weddings is not true for myself and when possible I avoid playing the cliche tracks like “Celebration”, “Dancing Queen” and “Come On Eileen”. Naturally if my instinct tells me these songs will work wonders then I have no issue what so ever in playing them.

To sum up then, yes you could have someone sat their on a chair playing songs in a random fashion but if it has no flow, if the DJ has no connection or even cares about the dancers then how are you going to get people up dancing and enjoying themselves? It is a skill and an art which I’m working on constantly to improve.

So if your looking for a DJ to listen, react and execute the perfect soundtrack to your day then please do let me know. I have many good friends in the industry all over the country and always happy to recommend. If you need any tips or advice then please do also send suggestions my way, who knows I might feature it in a future blog post 😉

Regards

Neil

http://www.cheltenhamweddingdj.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/cheltenhamweddingdj.co.uk

http://www.twitter.com/cheltenhamdj


Back again

05Dec12

…..After an extended period of radio silence. Its crazy to think its been 11 months since I last blogged, so it seems fitting that I sum up 2012 briefly and offer my viewers the chance to suggest topics for the next blog.

2012 has been a pretty decent year, found some new venues in the Cotswolds which have really lovely and friendly event co-ordinators such as Annie at Hyde Barn, Jane at Lower Slaughter Manor and recently Kelly from Ingleside House in Cirencester. As a supplier I think one of the most important assets of a venue is their front of house manager as much as the food and the buildings themselves.

I also recently had the chances to work inside a fantastic yurt provided by http://www.papakata.co.uk. Considering it was in November and in Tewkesbury after all of the rain we had it held up really well and the interior was just beautifully created to give that rustic and romantic look.

Interior

Interior

I also have worked with some wonderful couples this year, plenty of “aawww” moments and lots of dancers and smiley faces which is what I always aim to do.

Looking forward to 2013, some new venues to perform at and also expanding our extras beyond the drapes, dancefloors and uplighting so watch this space.

 


Uplighting

02Jan12

Afternoon folks,

Hope all is well with my readers today. In this blog post I shall be discussing the uplighting service that I can provide for my clients.

For those that haven’t come across uplighting let me explain how it works. I use small lights facing upwards to project a preset colour up the wall. These lights are pretty small and take up a very small space on the floor so are hardly noticeable. They are also LED so use very little in the way of energy and don’t get hot like the older style units commonly found at most marquee events. This is a cost effective solution particularly when dealing with events with a strong colour theme as the examples below will show

Firstly here is some orange uplighting from a Wedding at the Cotswold House Hotel in Chipping Campden.

 

Here is some green uplighting from a Wedding at the Barn In Berkeley.

 

Purple uplighting at the Manor House Hotel in Moreton-In-Marsh

Finally a shot of some red uplighting in a private barn back in spring 2011

If your really enjoying the photos then there are plenty more on the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CheltenhamWeddingDJ

In all of the photos above the room are pretty “plain” in colour in either being a white or a very similar shade. These are perfect for uplighting because they reflect the chosen colour very well. With the two barn shots the stonework looks superb with uplighting and it is a service I strongly recommend if your holding an event in such a location.

Now you might be thinking, this looks expensive, well actually it might surprise you that I offer this service at just £10 per unit with most typical quotes being between 12-16. Most colours are achievable and if you really wanted to push the boat out you could even have them all changing colours during the evening, this however increases the price per unit to £20 because of the required cabling and controller required.

Please do contact me if you have any further questions. Happy 2012 folks!

Neil

http://www.cheltenhamweddingdj.co.uk

http://www.marqueedisco.com

http://www.twitter.com/cheltenhamdj


Afternoon folks,

Firstly can I just send out some well wishes for the impending new year.

So far with my blog posts I have talked all about the DJing side of what I do but did you know I offer so much more than that?

When I went full time back in 2010 I had a decision to make, do I just stick to providing just DJs or do I just do one event that I can concentrate on and provide more services. I went with the latter and looking back it was the right choice. Today I will just blog about the dancefloors however I will explain in the near future the other services such as uplighting and wireless PA systems.

When you book a function room with most venues they will provide you with a wooden plain dancefloor like this

I can however provide you with LED starlit floors in both black or white. I have enclosed some before and after shots to show you the difference it can make to a room.

Firstly this is the Manor House Hotel in Moreton In Marsh. This is the before shot…….

And after I’ve worked my magic… please note the uplighting is an extra service.

From the same angle

and from the front…

These shots were taken with all the led lights on static. During operation I will use various programs which will fade and twinkle the led lights. For the first dance I usually have the floor off until the bride and groom walk onto the floor and then I turn on the lights, giving a real “wow” effect.

If you like the floor but aren’t keen on the black I also provide the same floor in white……

These floors can be changed in shape and size to fit in with your requirements. Most floors  provided are between 12×12 & 16x16ft however you can change width or length in 2ft sections so you could have an 16×12 or 20×10 if you so wish.

If you are interested in hiring the dancefloor as a standalone service or with my mobile disco then please do get in touch.

Neil

http://www.cheltenhamweddingdj.co.uk

http://www.marqueedisco.com

http://www.twitter.com/cheltenhamdj


Evening folks,

I hope today finds you good spirits.

Today I wanted to share with you my experience of events. What has prompted this was a pre Christmas event for a charity. I just want to make clear here that this isn’t a “rant” of any sort and I respect the volunteers that run such events. It did get me thinking however that like most bride & grooms that they had little experience of organising such events and so I wanted to share some hints and tips.

First of all don’t forget that us humans are fairly simple creatures. We like food, booze and entertainment so its well worth budgeting a “decent” size of your post venue and dress budget on this. Entertainment is typically one of the last services to be booked and often its at this point that the budget has been exceeded some time ago and thus becomes a price based purchase despite the average performing time of four hours is not only a sizeable amount of time but also the end of what should be a perfect day. I lost count the amount of times I’ve heard people singing the last song of the evening while I’m packing down half an hour later.

Photography is another area that I have seen been skipped out on. Cameras have dropped in price over recent years and this has seen a massive increase in “photographers”, some good and some bad. Its easy to think that it is all about the camera. I will admit now a few years ago I offered “event photography” with my old roadie taking snaps and this was quickly withdrawn. Its from this I understand that the art and skill of a good photograph is not the camera but the person behind it. Knowing the right settings at the right time will make the difference between capturing the moment and getting a blurry mess of faces and arms. With so many brides and grooms mentioning how quickly the day goes by wouldn’t some nice photos be really useful?

Finally its important to have some sort of plan for the day, and plan for each event to overrun. Wedding planners are of course worth their weight in gold because not only do they keep everything running smoothly but they can keep an eye on the time. For example if you are wanting group shots outside during the room turnaround you need someone “neutral” to get everyone into position.I have had Weddings that I haven’t started until 10.30pm because of various parts of the day overrunning.  If you are going without a planner then I suggest assigning duties to your bridesmaids and groomsmen.

There is a saying, “failing to plan is planning to fail”. Those countless horror Wedding videos on youtube, the band I was playing with recently who turned up without half their equipment could of all been prevented with planning.

Happy planning folks.

Neil

http://www.deckstardeluxe.co.uk

http://www.marqueedisco.com

http://www.twitter.com/cheltenhamdj

 

 

 


Afternoon folks

As its a popular time of year for guys to get down on one knee, pop out a ring and ask the most nerve wrecking question he will ever ask and awaiting for what will seem like a lifetime for an answer I thought I would discuss what questions you should be asking your DJ.

 

Firstly you will need to get the venue booked and then plan around that. Naturally using suppliers that have worked at your venue before does help to varying degrees however with entertainment it is a huge bonus. Not only keeping the venue happy with providing PLI/PAT documents, loading in the correct doors but also keeping within noise constraints.  Most venues have a limit of sorts however very few mention this, in fact your venue might even have a sound limiter which cuts the power off if the noise level exceeds the chosen limit. Without meaning to scare any of you I had two Weddings this year that this process “affected” the evening, one resulted in the evening being cut short to 11pm. I would like to stress that for years I’ve been very aware of the sound levels particularly as its a common complaint I hear about when doing Wedding fayres from potential couples who have been to a friends Wedding recently. Needless to say I refuse to perform at this venue again more for the fact they told me on the evening and hadn’t even mentioned it to their clients the bride and groom.

Thankfully I can be more positive about the rest of my post today. As I mentioned using a entertainment supplier who has performed at the venue before is a big bonus, hopefully this will also mean they are local. If your booking someone who is travelling 2+ hours away then they really should be travelling a day earlier, many things can happen such as road closures, flat tyres etc. I’ve had all sorts of panicked phone calls at 6/7pm asking if I am free because of this, so it really does happen.

Like any service, if you can find someone that comes with a personal recommendation then you should be half way there. That said most recommendations come in two categories I find, quality and price. I have no trouble in believing that you could find a “DJ” who would perform for beer tokens, or in fact someone who commands a far higher fee. Its an easy trap to fall into when booking a service you haven’t booked before to just go on price but I would urge you to consider the following.

*Have you met your DJ? Not only does this instill confidence it also allows you to gauge if you are a “good fit”. I offer a free meeting (within a reasonable travelling distance) because I want my bride and grooms to feel happy if they decide to book me. It also allows me to discuss finer details and get a feel for what their “ideal Wedding disco” to be.

*Please whatever you do, get a provider who issues a contract for your Wedding entertainment, and I’m not talking just about an email. That way you have in writing what service you are getting, at what times and the agreed price. I like to keep everything positive so I’m not going to mention what I have heard happen but its not unheard of that I get a booking a week before someones Wedding. Contracts also benefit the provider because it means if like me they are a solo operator that they can with confidence turn away enquires for the same date or if they are a multi operator then they can assign one of their DJs to your function.

*Presentation is often overlooked. I still to this day can not understand why someone would turn up in jeans and polo shirt (it happens) or can’t be bothered to tidy up a few cables here and there. I take huge pride in my work and that includes myself, and how my show is setup, for example I could be in the background for your first dance shot.

I think I will leave it there, I have mentioned the main points however I would like to stress the fact you should meet your DJ is the one thing I really wanted to push today.

Naturally if your a newly engaged couple congratulations and if you are getting married in the Cotswolds area don’t be afraid to contact me

dj@cheltenhamweddingdj.co.uk

http://www.cheltenhamweddingdj.co.uk

http://www.twitter.com/cheltenhamdj

Thanks for reading folks,

Regards

Neil

 


Hi guys,

Boxing day is here, hope you have enjoyed the festive period! As promised in my last blog post I will give you a write up for the Wedding of Dave & Katrina at the fantastic Greenway Hotel on the 16th of December.

Katrina contacted me back in the summer thanks to a recommendation by Jane Riddell from “Planned For Perfection”. After an exchange of emails we decided to have a meeting at the Greenway to discuss their requirements which as it turned out involved a winter wonderland theme. I was able to provide some ideas to how I can help make this idea come to life and we finally decided on snowflake image projection and blue uplighting.

To the day itself at the rather unique Greenway Hotel. For starters at no other venue do I DJ with the reception desk within touching distance.

The Greenway really does lend itself to small intimate Weddings however does suffer somewhat from having the bar in a separate room however I managed to engage with most of the guests despite this. The first dance was a particular highlight because of this and the chosen track JLS – Love You More was very well received. During the night it became clear that modern music was the order of the day so tunes such as Maroon 5 – Moves Like Jagger, Olly Murs – Dance With Me Tonight & Lady GaGa – Marry The Night really did work a treat.

I managed to get a few snaps during the night, please note that I’m by no means a pro however I might update these if I come across the professional shots.

Uplighting and image projection are only two of the extra services that I provide so please do get in touch if you haven’t seen the venue enhancement that you require.

Regards

Neil

http://www.deckstardeluxe.co.uk

http://www.marqueedisco.com