We asked DJs how they’ve been getting by during the pandemic — some have been shut down, others have not, and most of them look forward to sharing the music again.
Craig Wolf: I’m doing my first wedding this weekend—wow, finally. I went from totally booked to two weddings—my rest rescheduled or canceled. I adapted and created some new things and opportunities to stay afloat.
Byron Hinton: Negative ghost rider. I ran a multi-op for 13 years, doing up to 25 shows a week. Our pricing was low and kept us busy but it wasn’t too cheap. We slowly came up until someone destroyed the local market at 50-75 a show and I said no more. We took a fun little place at a lower rate than we were at and had a ball with it. I got my CDL back and went back to driving local and DJing on the side. Now that it’s not my main gig anymore we don’t leave the house until the money is right. Covid and the sudden price increase has slowed us down, but me and the guys were ready for it. So now when we go out we actually enjoy it again instead of it feeling like a job.
Jerry Harris: Here in Texas I’d lost some events but I’m still getting some. I was planning to wait until next year but DJing is in my blood.
Allen L. Walker, Ohio: We were on pace to do 1000-plus different events this year, after 12 years in the business, but now we’ve only done maybe 45. We’d just upgraded our building and two new cars, so I’d worked too hard to give up now. We’ll come out of this stronger than ever. I’m just grateful we saved money during the good years, instead of adding a ton of stuff we wouldn’t need.
Robert Langhorne, DJ Scooby, Boston MA: Things are shut down for now. I’m fortunate to have something else to fall back on, but have no intentions on shutting down. Thirty-plus years of loving what music can do for people. I wish there were better ways to reach the audiences, but when the country is ready I’ll be ready.
Tran Arkayic, Atlanta, GA: I’m working with a media team and for Sunday Swerve, and we book DJs to DJ online streams. Since Covid, we’re considering on doing less in the studio streams be cause it can get hectic indoors and enclosed. So now we’re trying to get out more and do more destination live steams in the outdoors, drive-in theaters, warehouses as the livestream industry has been a work around for some of the artists.