We asked DJs how the holiday-party season has been going. It’s no surprise that revenue for every DJ is down — some drastically so. But there are silver linings, so we share with you DJs’ reasons to be thankful.
Eric E. Wilson, Good Guy Productions, Bloomingdale, N.Y.
“We’re using our lighting, speakers and projectors for outdoor enhancements – but not really anything in the way of ‘live’ DJing. New York is shut down pretty tight for gatherings. Am I thankful? Damn right! My kids are in high school and will be gone soon. I’ve had a whole year to be with them; they leave the nest shortly. Not really the plan, but I’ll take it. I haven’t missed one Saturday game or meet all year. We went on a three-week summer vacation, for the first time ever I had the time. So as long as the house is warm and we have food, I’m OK – for now.”
Larry Lesniewski, Left Stage Productions, Paducah, Ky.
“No events, just wedding proponents until next year. Glad I’m working a part-time job or there would be no revenue.”
Ric Kahuna Nesbitt, Shindig Media, Eunice, La.
“I have had two private office Christmas parties so far, with one being for the local police department. I’m thankful to have just these two, with the pandemic going on. Normally, I would have one every weekend this month.”
Shaun Wittemore, Event Team Entertainment, Portland, Ore., & Event Synergy in Phoenix, Ariz.
“All in-person corporate is gone, just virtual-only options and not all corporate want to participate in virtual events. They are all saying that after vaccine they will consider a return.”
Claude Dickerson, Captain’s Entertainment, Richmond Va.
“Last year, I worked every day from October 27 through Christmas Day. This year I have nothing on the books until February. We’re currently limited to 25 people for any gatherings. No alcohol sales after 10 p.m. Open-mic and karaoke are also barred statewide. More restrictions are expected soon. It’s bleak here.”
Eric James Cunningham, Debonaire Entertainment, Richmond, Va.
“With our current state restrictions, events can have no more than 25 people. My usual 15 to 20 events in December has been reduced to two.”
Vanessa Hundley, Audioprism Entertainment, Atlanta, Ga.
“We’re in Georgia, so event restrictions are all over the place. We’ve had a few different types of parties, though, most are looking ahead to the spring. We’re hoping that there is enough of a handle on COVID that we can get back to our larger events – but, safety first.
“I’m incredibly thankful to have made it through the year without losing any immediate family members – and that we’ve been able to help keep the elders in our family safer. And for the first time in years, I’ve been able to dedicate time to developing my other media and online efforts. So, I’m making lemonade with all these 2020 lemons.”
Erin Crowley, Musical Memories, Madison, Wis.
“No holiday parties this year. All my weddings since mid-March have cancelled and rescheduled for 2021. All my school-kids functions have disappeared. I was fortunate enough to have a small handful of private kid functions, with reduced guests and pool parties over the summer. But now, everything has dried up, forcing me to get a part-time job myself. I hear of colleagues giving up, quitting the mobile DJ business. I’m hoping things get to normal soon. Hoping in six months? Eight months? A year? But what’s going to be the ‘new normal’ for our industry? I’m also not sure of my future DJing capacity. If this job works out, maybe I’ll give DJing up. I’m lucky that I’ve had an opportunity to do something that I love and get paid for it for many years. A difficult decision may have to be made soon.”
Jeremy Carpenter, DJ PopRoXxX, Orlando, Fla.
“First off, I’m super thankful to be back working this holiday season, even if it’s half the shows/gigs from last year. Parties are going full-swing here in Florida – different budgets all around, public, private and corporate. At least there is some traction happening again in our industry.”
David A. Thatcher, D.A.T Events, Surrey, U.K.
“DJing is all off and has been since March. Any private work that comes in gets cancelled a few days later.”
David Petry, DJ Dave Productions, Houston, Texas
“This year we have ‘zero’ corporate events. We normally average 25 corporate events every December; many of these companies are lifetime clients that have used our company for the last 10 years. To sum up this year, we’ll end up doing 120 weddings, which is about 40-percent of our normal year.”
Todd Thomas, Porta Party DJs, St. Louis, Mo.
“We have a senior, junior and freshman in high school, and although the lack of work has been rough, the extra time with my family is something I cherish and we’d never have been able to have done in normal times. That’s the silver lining.”
DJ Ron Reiner, Rockford, Ill.
“Private partying on private property with low social-media presence – it’s like high school all over again. Way less paid gigs this year, like 80-percent less for the year.”
Mark Williams, Select Sound DJ Services, St. Catharine’s, Ont.
“Never ashamed of the work I do DJing, nor have I ever taken any refuge from the haters of weekend-only events DJs. The trick is to stay diversified outside of the game; the security is in the weekly paycheck, because it’s a here-today-gone-tomorrow thing that far too many are into nowadays. Best to you and your success!”
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