Have you ever heard a DJ horror story? Maybe you went to someone’s wedding and the DJ played the wrong first dance, or you remember a time when the DJ wouldn’t get off the dance floor (too busy showing off his moves?). Bad behavior at a mostly-adult function is bad enough – but at a prom it can have serious implications.
Whether you’re an adult advisor tasked with choosing a DJ, or a teen helping a committee choose the right entertainer, you have to remember that while they look all grown up dressed in their prom dresses and tuxes, prom-goers are also, mostly, someone else’s teenagers, and certain choices and behaviors won’t be tolerated by any parent. There is liability involved with making the ultimate DJ choice, so you can’t take the decision lightly.
Here are some things you really need to keep in mind when choosing a DJ for prom.
- Not all DJs are created equally. Talent, experience, age, personality, equipment, common sense – all of these things are important to consider when you select your entertainer for prom. Each one is an important ingredient, and choosing one that doesn’t align with your needs can end in DJ disaster.
- You need a contract. It is entirely feasible that you could hire a really great student DJ to emcee and spin music for your prom. However, it doesn’t matter if you choose a student or a seasoned pro – you need a contract for something as important as prom. It’s not right to sell tickets to an event when the main entertainer has only been booked “on a handshake.”
- Make sure the contract times and duration line up. Another detail to get in writing is the duration of you contract and what time it will start and stop. Think before you plan your prom itinerary. How long will you need there to be ambient music on while kids arrive and mingle? Is there a dinner period? When will the dancing begin and end? You might be able to save money on a DJ contract by playing “piped” music in over the venue’s sound system before the dancing, but your DJ has to set up sometime. Decide whether or not you’re comfortable with him loading in equipment while your “guests” are in the room.
- Appropriate music is essential. Make sure you are completely clear with your DJ’s policies about playing clean tracks and taking student requests. A school event is not the place for a lot of the most popular current teen music. Actually, strangely enough, experienced and successful professional prom DJs know that the most popular music tends to be older dance tunes for 20 years back, and (of all things) line dances!
- Confirm equipment details and arrangements. Some DJs require more power, setup space, tables and the like than others. It’s inconvenient when these arrangements aren’t made before the event day setup begins. Ask what yours will need and arrange with your venue for it to be supplied as needed.
Ultimately, the DJ makes the party what it is, so take care when hiring yours.
Do you have any tips for staff or students tasked with choosing a DJ for prom?