There were a variety of key lessons, demonstrations and nuggets for Lomaz to learn from this year, but he says the unanimous key takeaway came in the form of a quote from Canadian entertainer Pascal Levesque.
“As part of Steve Moody’s All-Star MCs panel, he stated that ‘dancing is the shortcut to happiness.’ How can any DJ entertainer not love that?”
It was the eighth year attending the DJ Expo for Todd Mofree from Party With Todd in Albany, N.Y. He says it’s a vital annual experience.
“My seven prior visits were always met with excitement and an intense desire to learn everything about my craft that can be taught, observed and experienced,” he says. “As a mobile entertainer for over 20 years, the Expo is the one time of year where I can meet with friends from around the country and the world on equal ground.
“Yes, 99-percent of us have Type-A personalities, but the DJ Expo seems to keep the over-competitiveness to a minimum. These people are my friends, my family. We are there to learn and trade ideas.”
Mofree says this year’s seminars were especially fantastic, as he learned from industry superstars about everything from marketing our companies to sharpening our skills on the microphone to learning new games to performing better at bar mitzvahs and weddings.
And then there was what he calls “The Floor” (aka the DJ Expo’s exhibit hall).
“I walked around the showroom floor in awe,” he says. “It was literally packed with everything any DJ would ever want or need in terms of lighting, sound and audio equipment. My favorite—lasers—streaked above our heads. It was just an incredible experience of sights, sounds and a few deals.”
Mofree says this year the DJ Expo was a little unique for him, due to the fact he’d been selected to compete in the “DJ of the Year” competition.
“My learning experience was overshadowed by the terrifying and exhilarating thought of standing in front of hundreds of my peers and performing a routine of 10 minutes or less that would either make me look like a total ass… or not,” he explains.
“For my part, I decided to teach a dance that I made up to the song ‘Uptown Funk.’ In over 25 years of being an entertainer, this moment was probably the most terrifying 10 minutes I’ve ever spent with a microphone in my hand. In my mind, every single person in that room was judging me, but after a few minutes of total fear I settled into my routine and found that I was totally enjoying my 10 seconds of fame.”
Reflecting back, Mofree reports that DJ Expo 2016 was an incredible experience that he’d recommend to any person in the industry.
“From bedroom DJs to club and mobile entertainers—or even someone who just loves music and the entertainment industry—I invite them to attend as a student, spectator or participant and take away what they want,” he says. “From the parties to the newest technologies to the learning to the new friendships, the takeaways are well worth the price of admission.”
K.C. KoKoruz of The Keith Christopher Entertainment Group in Chicago says he was heartened to see industry stalwarts gain recognition for their contributions. “It was nice to see Randi Rae and Mike Walter both honored for their work for the show as well as to the industry.”
As far as new tricks, KoKoruz says one especially stood out for him. “Mark Brenneisen of Total Entertainment Music taught an awesome scavenger hunt game done on a cellphone that was incredible,” he says. “It doesn’t require any props, it gets everyone with a cell phone involved, and it’s quick and easy to explain. I was pleased to see that he won Best New Game in the competition this year.”
KoKoruz says the DJ Expo is great for putting faces on names he interacts with online during the year, and reports that he picked up a case in the exhibit hall for a Pioneer controller he had just bought a few weeks earlier. Yet, he says it’s the seminars that were the highlight of his annual Expo experience.
“The seminar from Brian Buonassissi of B-Boy Productions was the highlight of my seminar-watching,” he says. “His seminar, ‘Why Your Client’s Experience Matters,’ was great. He had such a unique insight into things to think about with our clients, and he gave practical real examples to inspire us to create a better experience for them. I hope we hear more from Brian in years to come.”
Back up in the far corner of the Northeast, Jerry Bazata of Jaz Music & Entertainment in Ogunquit, Maine, has been attending the DJ Expo now for 16 years, and thanks all those who attended his seminar this year on “The Art of Communication.”
“The new product panel and the attendees were all very engaging in conversation and idea-sharing,” he says. “It afforded me the opportunity to meet a whole new set of DJs from all parts of the country and meet up with old friends. The water-cooler conversations that occurred in the hallways and outside the show floor were definitely focused on the tools and information that seminar attendees were able to implement quickly to gain more wedding and corporate business.
“The trade show this year was a wealth of knowledge, specifically as it related to the quickly growing speaker market and how the competition is responding to technology demands. The sound rooms with Electro-Voice, QSC Audio, BassBoss and Pioneer really enhanced the experience for attendees.”