There are a lot of do’s and don’ts to ensure you will have a great Christmas party. So let’s talk about some of them
As a Vancouver DJ, when you hire a music services company you’re really hiring them to get people engaged, to dance, to sing if you hire karaoke and generally be active within your party. One of the things I’ve found doing a lot of Christmas parties, is that roulette tables and card games do not encourage that. They encourage people to sit down, disengage from the party and become inactive usually in a different room from where the party is going on. So actually, music services, DJ services or karaoke services with card games and roulette wheels just don’t really mix at a Christmas party. I can almost guarantee an empty or nearly empty dance floor for most of the evening when you combine these two services together. I always advise that you hire one or the other, but not both for your Christmas party. If you wanted to include a roulette wheel in your party, roll it onto the dance floor and use it in addition to the party, not as something that siphons off guests into another room to actually sit down and become lethargic and disengage. A roulette table can be fun and you can use it to give away prizes and still encourage people to engage and even in the dancing.
Another item that dampens the festivities at Christmas parties is raffle tickets and as a DJ in Vancouver, I find this is the most boring activity in which to give away your Christmas gifts, your company Christmas gifts or your personal Christmas gifts that you’re giving away to people. I once sat in a party where they spent 40 minutes to an hour doing raffle tickets, everyone was so bored that after they finished, half the guests left. Granted, they may have been staying just to see if they won a gift or not, I don’t know, but I believe they were just not engaged, they were bored and this just made everybody lethargic for a long time with nothing happening.
Another thing you might want to stay away from is raising money for causes. I know you may want to do a good turn but you should save that money raising for another party or a event where that’s the focus. The Christmas party should be about fun and should be guest focused. There’s just something about the pressure of having to dish out cash when you thought the party was all paid for. You may want to announce that you’re fundraising efforts .. but I don’t think it should be combined with your Christmas party, unless your Christmas party is not a Christmas party but a fundraising party – then it’s not a Christmas party.
Also think about how you can make your party engaging, exciting and more importantly, fun for your guests. Avoid having too many things going on. Too many things to distract people from your main event whatever that may be…a DJ, band, etc. If there’s going to be dancing or karaoke that’s what it should be. You can use these services to max out what you can do because you can do a lot with them, Varied activities within the music of your event can make your party fun and exciting. We at Boogie Shoes DJ and Karaoke Serviced have lots of interactive ideas on how to do that when you contract us for your event.
Some things you might want to consider doing at your DJ Vancouver Christmas party are things that we can suggest and do all the time… we know they work.
I’ve talked about engaging your guests and the importance of it. For companies that are having Christmas parties, or individuals that are having Christmas parties, I always stress that is not just about a Christmas party but about the culture of your company, or the camaraderie-ship of your family and friends. You can make it exciting and fun which reflects upon your company, or yourself, or you can make it boring and mediocre which can also reflect upon your company and yourself. As with anything, if you have company goals or even personal goals, sales goals or any areas where you want to improve within yourself or your company, you have a strategic plan to do that, right? Well, the same thing for a Christmas party. If you want to make it fun, plan to make it fun and create plan to put into practice for your Christmas party.
In doing around 2,300 successful, with hundreds of those being karaoke events, this Vancouver DJ has discovered that karaoke is a little bit like jazz music, you either love it or you hate it. That being said there are a number of ways to run a Karaoke event where it becomes super fun for those who love it and really entertaining for those who are more inclined to sing in the shower than in public.
You first have to think of karaoke as an event in itself. You then want to incorporate that event into your function in a way that is smooth, seamless and with a payoff for the karaoke participants. In other words, there has got to be a reason to get up there and sing.
For example, if Karaoke is part of your wedding reception, the best way to use it is to incorporate it into your event. You could say to the guests that instead of having people tinkle on their glasses so the bride and groom kiss, the guests come up and sing a song in order to get the bride and groom to kiss and depending upon how much effort the guests put into the song, is how much effort the bride and groom put into the kiss. You can even use Karaoke to determine which table gets to go to the buffet line. There are lots of things you can do with karaoke but the key idea here is to have the guests entertain the guests while at the same time having fun with a payoff. i.e. the bride and groom kissing or first to the food.
In my DJ Vancouver regular karaoke package I bring along fun props. The guests often get into character using some of the props and it becomes really entertaining for everyone. You can do the same thing by getting your props from the dollar store or a party store.
If it’s a corporate event like a Christmas party then maybe offer some kind of prize to get people to come up and sing. When I do my Christmas events with karaoke I always ask the clients to provide me with a couple bottles of wine. It’s always a great incentive around Christmas time. I use that to either entice a group of guys or a group of ladies to the microphone and get them to sing a song that everybody knows. I usually pick a song that is a fun tune and we get them to use the props along with the interactive elements that I put in there. It can be really entertaining and once you get the first few guests singing, most of the time it’ll just keep rolling along.
Another way to get guests to sing takes a bit more planning. Have a competition between the different departments of your company. For example, the sales people could compete against a group of office staff or the girls against the guys, you encourage everybody to get into character with props, costumes, banners, you can have judges. You can base the winners on such things as the biggest ham in the group or the most off key group of the night or any number of sub-categories. It reduces the pressure because it is a group effort and the emphasis is on how entertaining the group is and not who is the best singer. Everybody can be a winner. After all Karaoke is all about just having fun, right?
You can even carry this interactive theme into the dance portion of your event by encouraging the guests to be proactive instead of reactive. However, that is another topic. The idea is to make your event exciting and different. With a little effort, you can have a great karaoke event with willing participants that are entertaining and fun.
Often times at events there are a number of things that can happen that clients most often are not aware of. As a Vancouver DJ and owner of Boogie Shoes DJ & Karaoke Services, I always like to be one step ahead of any potential occurrences that can disrupt the smooth execution of the music for a function.
Quite often, a client will want to do a slide or video presentation but will forget about how the audio to their presentation will be heard by their guests. One of the things that we do, free of charge, is a nice little service where we actually bring a 20 foot cable that will allow you to run audio from your slide or video show into our mini board. This allows your soundtrack to run through our system so that everyone can hear it. The audio from your presentation always has a better impact when it is running through our clear, powerful and professional speakers and it is just one extra thing that our clients do not have to worry about
A couple of things we always like to caution clients on are two items that can disrupt the musical performance severely. We have decided, as a policy, they are items we don’t feel is something we like to do. One is that sometimes a guest may come with a CD ( not so much anymore) or a USB stick that they want to plug into the computer. We’re very cautious about that because the CD or stick can cause a system crash or introduce viruses into the computer. In the case of improperly formatted media and a system crash, we have to shut down and then we have dead air space for five minutes or however long it takes to reboot the system. This is not a good thing to have happen and a DJ in Vancouver should avoid this. In the case of a virus being introduced into the system by media from a guest, this can be a lot more serious. We don’t plug anything extra into the computer. We get all of your requested music three weeks before your event and have it ready to go in the proper format for our software by the contracted day of your event. This way, we avoid any unexpected glitches. For additional options concerning music at your event, we do have streaming capabilities to add the already 20,000 plus songs we have in our DJ database.
We also don’t bring along a cable for any iPods or iPhones and we prefer not to plug those into the system. We have found that what has happened is a guest, or maybe a relative, has come along with his iPod or iPhone and said, look I’ve got all the great songs that I like to hear on my iPhone or iPod, can we plug it into your board… and then first thing you know they’ve hijacked your event. All the wonderful music that you wanted to hear is now your guest’s, it’s their playlist and they are not even paying us. It is much easier not to plug those into our system than try to get them out after the fact. So, we like to avoid those types of things, and prefer not to plug in the iPod or iPhones so that we don’t even have to go there
These are a few tips that help to keep an event your event, running smoothly and memorable for you. There are a lot of other areas of the event that we have the experience and knowledge to help you with your event so that it runs trouble free. Give us a call and see how we can help
We’re getting into the Christmas party season and the demand for venues is really starting to soar. As a Vancouver DJ, I’ve been to a lot of venues, and revisited a lot of venues, in the last while. I have started looking at them and saying, well if I was having an event, maybe I would like to be aware of a few things that I might like to consider if I want to hire out a particular venue for my function.
One of the first things that I’ve noticed going to these venues are blind spots and L corners. You might want to take a good look and see if your venue is an L shaped room. If you are having a part of the function at one end of the room and your DJ at the other end, the music is not going to be heard around the corner. There are rooms where the dinner is set up to be at one end of the room and the DJ is at the other end, and of course, the dinner music cannot be heard by the guests. Sound waves don’t go around corners very well. To make a room like this work might require the DJ to set up a wireless speaker system at the corner of the blind spot or L section. This is not a problem for a DJ in Vancouver but will entail an extra expense for you. The same consideration should be given to venues that have the dinner in one room and dancing in another. In this case, a smaller PA system may need to be set up to cover both rooms. These type of rooms are not large challenges if you have the budget for the extra labor and equipment but it s one of the considerations you might want to keep in mind when choosing your venue.
You also might want to take a look at how convenient it is for your less mobile guests. Some venues are a little bit difficult to get into and while most are trying to meet the criteria of being handicapped compliant, there are still some venues that are difficult for people who are mobility challenged. Being aware if there are stars to climb and no elevators, a long way to the venue from the area where you’re parking, steep ramps and bathroom ease of access are very important for less mobile guests. In addition, an upstairs venue with no elevator so that it requires your entertainment to carry heavy equipment up a flight of stairs will be more expensive for you to hire than if they can easily load in from ground level or with an elevator.
Another big area that you might want to think about looking at is early closures, or early shutdowns of the venue. There are some venues that are attached to hotels, or hotel rooms may be above the venue. In these cases, the Vancouver DJ may have to shut down early, or around 10 PM, bring the music level quite low so that it is not as conducive to a party atmosphere as you would like. I have actually had to turn the bass off in my system and turn down until was about as loud as a radio in a few venues. Needless to say, this really killed the party and most clients who had rented out these venues were not aware that this had to be done. A good rule of thumb is to think about how long do you and your guests want it to party, how much of a party do I really want it to be. Do you want the party to be a more reserved cocktail type of affair or do you want it to be a lot more fun with a lot more partying and less restrictions. Take a good look at your venue and find out are there any hotel rooms attached or are there residents next door or nearby that is going to affect the level that the DJ can play. You also need to be clear with the venue on the time that the DJ can play, the time that the guests can dance and the time everything needs to be shutdown. Some of these venues are in neighborhood areas and they have to be noise compliant with the City of Vancouver bi-law so they may have to shut the doors or windows, at 10 PM. In the summer some venues can get quite hot and it can be quite a problem.
The key thing to take away about your venue is to ask a lot of questions to make sure there are no surprises. Just like the DJ Vancouver that you contract for your party, the venue should be a good fit for the vision that you have for your event.
Last week we talked about DJ Vancouver karaoke rentals and some of the features of those units. This week I want to delve into the other area of our Vancouver DJ Services, the hosted karaoke services.
These services differ from the karaoke rental machines in that it is a full karaoke service for the client where the karaoke machines are do it yourself. Not every DJ in Vancouver is able to offer karaoke services so we pride ourselves on being able provide a huge number of karaoke songs with a wide range of genres, different PA setups, microphone configurations as well lighting options. We can also provide different size TV and projector screens. Often, Asian clients like the audience to see the lyrics on a screen so that they can sing with the singer on stage. We can do his as well.
It is not just about the equipment however and our karaoke hosts can be interactive and fun while keeping the party organized. We can even bring props such as hats, wigs, blow up instruments and glasses…among other props. We can also provide these props with LED lighting inside them for an even more cool impact at your party.
In addition, we can give you ideas on how to put your karaoke event together the correct way…yes there is right and wrong way to have a karaoke event. There is even a proper way to set up the equipment. If karaoke is done properly, even the non singers can partake and get a lot of enjoyment out of the event. From having theme events, sing offs, your company idol contest and even lip sync competitions, the list is endless on how you can raise the bar on your Christmas party, seasonal party, corporate event or even wedding.
There are a lot of people calling themselves a Vancouver DJ in the lower mainland but few can offer the fun that hosted karaoke can bring to the party. When done properly and by putting a little planning into your event, hosted karaoke services can give new life to an otherwise mundane gathering.
If the Thanksgiving weekend was any indication in terms of the amount of karaoke rentals that went out, I think that people are already getting into the party mood. So, we’re going to talk about one of my DJ in Vancouver offerings, karaoke rentals. How easy they are to connect and some other highlights of the units.
My DJ Vancouver karaoke rentals pick up quite a bit starting around the Thanksgiving weekend, and one of the key features of my Karaoke rentals that is a little bit different from some of the other competition around town is how easy they are to hook up…very simple. The machine itself is complete, it includes a built in speaker so you don’t have to bother with hooking up separate speakers, the machine has a graphic equalizer and all the controls you could want and it’s basically just take one line out of the machine and plug it into your TV, or you can even plug that into a projector if the projector has a video in, or in the case of the larger machines, HDMI. After that, you just plug in your two microphones and you’re good to go. It’s just that simple. The larger machines pretty much work the same way as the smaller machines. This year, I have the new big machines recommended for up to 60 guests. These have lots of power, great sound and include features such as 99 different digital delay settings for your vocals, nice quality microphones, HDMI out and microphone stands included.
The machines will also accept music input from your iPods or iPhones that have the earphone jack. The machines have either a 1/4″ input jack or RCA input jack. You can even plug your guitar or keyboard into them and they do work as a small PA system as well.
One of the other useful features of my karaoke rentals is the song selection. The machines come with 2,300 songs, at the moment. More songs being added on a continuing basis. If the client can give me enough notice, and the songs are available in karaoke, I can put in requests. Many clients appreciate this feature and most of the present song database for the karaoke rentals have been built around what former, and continuing customers, have asked to sing. Although Elvis is still popular and I do have a share of his songs in the rentals, I don’t fill the karaoke song database with fluff and songs of only one genre. I have a wide variety of new hits you are hearing on the radio right now as well music through the generations. We do have limited number of Chinese and Latin songs in the library and the machines will play your own VCD karaoke disks or CDG disks.
I also have accessories for the rentals including extra microphones, wireless microphones, microphone stands, 19” TVs, karaoke stands, and even a vertigo lights so you can get the party going. You can combine all of these elements in one package we call the full deal, or mix and match as you like.
There is a demand for a Vancouver DJ to be versatile and the karaoke rental machines are one way that I can do that. They are cost effective, easy to setup and provide a great evening of entertainment for your small get together, office party or event.
With so many events, weddings and musical functions happening all year round, a Vancouver DJ will get lots of questions on song choices and asked for suggestions from many clients looking to plan their special musical occasion. So, without going into specific song choices, here are some guidelines to help you plan your song choices.
There are literally about 95 million songs in the world to choose from…Yes, I Goggled it! It is impossible to hear all of your favorites but many clients do try to fit all of them in at their events. Time wise, most functions will only allow forty to fifty dance songs to be played. The best way to help keep the number of songs to a manageable number is first decide if you want to allow your guests to request. If you would like your guests to have some input into the music they would like hear, pick ten, but no more than fifteen, of your favorite songs and have your Vancouver DJ mix them in with guest requests. As a DJ in Vancouver, I find this option works best for most events. However, if you are a hands on person and you know your guest’s taste in music quite well, then pick about fifty songs that you and your guests enjoy dancing to and have the DJ play those with no requests. I would only recommend this option if you know the musical tastes of your guests very well or if you are fine only having yourself and a few of your friends dancing.
Today’s music is a lot more liberal with the lyrics and some popular songs are sprinkled with one degree of profanity or another. Depending upon the event, this might be fine. You should be aware of your guest’s tolerance for swearing in the music though. In the case of weddings, children at the event and with your older relatives attending, it is often a good judgment call to stay away from profane laden music. Keep in mind that family events are not like being at the club and weddings are more a celebration of light on which profanity can have a negative impact. The radio version of songs, if available are often a good way to go for most events.
With all of the ways to store music, a DJ Vancouver has to be aware that sometimes it is best to limit the influence of guests upon a client’s event. By this, I mean a guest wanting to plug in a phone or stick into a DJ’s board. What happens when this is done is that it gives the opportunity of the guests to hijack the client’s music with their own. Once a phone or stick is plugged in, the guest now as their music available and will often take advantage of that by pressuring the DJ to play their songs. It is always best to not plug in a guest’s phone or device into the DJ setup. This helps to make things run smoother, follow the client’s wishes and to avoid conflict. The same holds true of non plugged in guests. I have had a number of clients that allow themselves to be pressured by an aggressive bridesmaid or guest. It is a good idea to be aware of letting a guest dictate the play list above the concerns of other guests and even yourself. Remember, it is your event and not theirs.
Choosing songs for your function does not need to be a daunting task. Attack it in bite sized pieces and follow the suggestions above to have an event where you are happy with the music and have had your musical voice heard.
We have all been there. Whether purchasing a garden tool or those large items like a fridge or stove, there is always the inclination to see how cheaply we can buy it. But looking at music services for your event, or perhaps, the once in a lifetime wedding are the not the same as buying garden tools. Music has to do more than just work. It has to convey ambiance, emotion and even fun with an experienced, amiable DJ. So here are a few reasons that a great deal on a cheap amateur Vancouver DJ may not be such a great deal after all.
One of the things to consider is that a cheap or free DJ in Vancouver may not be in business by the time your event rolls around. They are not charging enough to support themselves or the maintenance of their equipment or vehicle. An amateur is actually just financing a hobby. Your Mr. DJ Vancouver that is pricing himself way below the competition in order to get work is probably struggling and who knows if their vehicle will actually be working, or even break down on, or before, your event date. I don’t have to tell you the expense of keeping a good, reliable car on the road. It is impossible to do without the funds. In addition, who knows what condition their equipment will be in. Remember it is not a deal to you if they don’t arrive at your event, or the equipment breaks down at your function.
An amateur DJ is often not invested in the performance or your event. If something goes wrong, it is not a big problem to them. If the music or performance does not convey the type of emotional atmosphere the client wanted, an amateur has the liberty to have a cavalier attitude. On the other hand, a wedding professional puts their reputation and livelihood on the line every time they perform. A professional DJ needs to get it right for your event, not only from the personal stand point of taking pride in their service and doing a good job for the client, but for the testimonials that support their ability to do the job professionally and attract other clients to them. It is critical for a professional Vancouver DJ service to do the job right the first time and every time. Would you rather have an entertainer who is 100% invested in his business and performance on your event or wedding day or someone who does it as a hobby?
There are so many things involved in being a professional DJ in Vancouver. From helping to coordinate the music with the flow of your event, working with your other vendors, managing the guest’s requests, reading the crowd, making sure the right song is played at just the right time as well as trouble shooting, a professional DJ has the wealth of experience and knowledge to make it all happen smoothly. The social occasion of your event requires an experienced DJ that is pleasant and approachable while at the same time able to execute the specifications of the contract flawlessly. There are often times a DJ will come up against an unexpected challenge and the background on how the successfully solve it is one of the many skills required. Amateurs and the cheap, struggling DJ just have not had enough events to gain the experience and fore knowledge to deal with many of the challenges of being a DJ. If a DJ is cheap or an amateur, they are cheap for a reason. They can’t get many events and cutting their prices is their attempt at a solution. They are an amateur because they can’t afford being a professional, or they just don’t have the interest. Either way it should be a red flag.
Would you rather have a Vancouver DJ service that has well over 2,300 successful wedding and events of all kinds completed or a cheap, amateur DJ that has only a handful? Something to think about when planning for your Vancouver DJ service.
So the day has finally arrived! After wading through countless websites, testimonials and meetings, you have finally found the one…your Vancouver DJ that is. So now it is time to firm up the deal and commit to the DJ, and vice versa, you feel best represents the DJ in Vancouver for you. What better way to do that than the time honored hand shake? Whoa… best take a step back and look at that.
It does amaze me how many individuals, and even some Vancouver businesses, shy away from wanting to sign the most basic of agreements…the contract. Although is a bit mundane in the process of hiring a DJ, there are good reasons to have a signed contract with your DJ or KJ for your event and I will outline a few of them here.
First of all, you want your Vancouver DJ to show up! Without a contract there is no commitment. There is nothing stopping your DJ from saying they will DJ your event and then cancelling on you at the last minute because they got a gig that pays more. It is not a very happy experience to have that happen on the eve of your event. I do get a number of panic calls every year where this does actually does take place and it is stressful, sometimes to the point of tears, for the client.
On the reverse side of the coin there is also nothing stopping the client from also cancelling on the DJ as well. If you are the type of person that does not mind that uncertainty, then by all mean go without a contract. As a business person, I would not commit a date to a client, or other business, that has that mindset. It is unprofessional and tells me that their event is not that important to them and consequently my services are not that important to the success of their event.
Another very good reason to have a contract is that it spells out in black and white what the obligations of each party are. How many hours the event will be, the equipment and service that will be provided, pricing, and the requirements of the client are just some of the things detailed in a contract. Both parties know where they will be on a certain date and what is expected of them. It minimizes surprises and is one of the organizational tools that help the any function flow smoothly and reliably.
It is also legally binding. If a dispute arises, it spells out the rights of each party. If you can get a refund, or the deposit back are some of the factors that are outlined in the contract. It is one of the factors that provide just a bit more incentive for your DJ to do the best job they can and to provide what they say they will provide. It stops the “he said”, “she said” argument dead in its’ tracks and brings civility to a disagreement.
These are a few of the reasons a contract is a necessity when conducting business. When looking at hiring any type of vendor for your event or business, you want reliability, professionalism and competency so that your requirements are met and your function runs as smoothly as possible. It protects both parties to the agreement. A contract is one of the ways this can be achieved and every Vancouver DJ should be using one.
Vancouver is a great city with a variety of venues, services and options for your events and weddings. But as anyone knows who has lived here, Vancouver is an expensive city. Everything from the cost of living to going out is going to set you back some cold hard cash. So here are a few tips on how you can think about saving on your DJ pricing when looking to book for your function in Vancouver.
One of the places to start considering how you might manage the cost of your DJ in Vancouver is the choice of the venue. From a Vancouver harbor cruise option to 5 star venues such as The Fairmont Pacific Hotel or Canada Place, each of them may have challenges for your DJ which will have to be added into the pricing. For instance, does your venue have stairs but no elevator. It is a tough job physically to load heavy speakers and equipment up and down stairs. This definitely is going to add to the cost as it is not only extra time, but a lot of extra work for your DJ. Some clients may offer to help the DJ load in and out and this may work to reduce the cost, but more than likely, the help has disappeared by the end of the evening when the DJ is ready to load out and the DJ has to do it himself . An experienced DJ is aware of that and often will not accept that proposal. A nice smooth, easy load in with the ability to roll equipment into the venue on a cart with no stairs will help to keep pricing down.
Some other venues such as Vancouver harbor cruises are also difficult to get equipment into. From wobbly docks, no load in area and narrow stairs to load equipment on the top deck as well as expensive parking… all add to DJ costs.
Many hotel venues downtown will provide parking for your vendors as well, but you must ask them as they won’t offer it up on their own. You can always mention this to your DJ to help keep costs down. Parking can be expensive. For example, parking on the docks at Canada Place or to get into The Fairmont Pacific is close to $40 for more an a 8 hour duration.
Another area is the amount of time you book the DJ. A nine or ten hour event is quite a long duration. Keep in the mind the DJ has to travel to and from your venue, load in and load out at the end of the night. In the Vancouver lower mainland, this can easily be a thirteen or fourteen hour day for them with an event that is nine or ten hours long. The DJ will charge accordingly. If you can keep your hours in the seven hour range, which is more normal, the pricing will be much better.
If you are having a wedding, and you need ceremony music, ask if the DJ has a small rental PA where you can do the music yourself. If that is not possible, try to schedule the wedding ceremony so that the time dovetails with the reception. Having the wedding ceremony in the same room as the reception so that only one PA setup is required will also help. The same holds true for any events you are having where the reception area is separated from the dinner and dancing room.
Finally, ask yourself what you actually need in the way services. A smaller, yet adequate, system may work just as well as a larger, more elaborate set up for some of the smaller venues around Vancouver. If unsure, discuss it with your possible DJ and see what sounds feasible for you and your event.
Where we listen to you and get it right on your big night!
DJ Gary, based in Vancouver, BC, has been in the music business internationally for over 20 years as a live performer and event DJ. He formed his company, DJ Boogie Shoes & Karaoke Services, in 2007. Having performed at thousands of weddings and events and committed to creating a fun, interactive, and flexible atmosphere for all his happy clients and guests, DJ Boogie Shoes can provide everything needed to enhance your events and entertain your guests.