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Blog - Musician Tips


Prepare For Your DJ Debut At A Music Festival

posted August 11, 2023   category » Musician Tips
Prepare For Your DJ Debut At A Music Festival

Getting booked to spin tunes at a music festival is a dream for many DJs. With over 32 million people attending music festivals in the US every year, getting a gig at events like Riot Fest, Bonnaroo, Desert Daze, or at Love-In Music Festival guarantees maximum exposure for DJs, which can lead to more high profile gigs in the future. If you want to share your unique take on music with a diverse audience at a festival, you need more than just passion to do well at this type of event. Knowing how to put on a performance and proper preparation is key for a successful DJ debut. Here's what you need to do before DJing for the first time at a music festival.     

Prep Your Equipment

Some events only require DJs to bring USBs containing pre-recorded mixes, but for a live set at a music festival, you'll need a variety of equipment to make music and get the crowd on their feet. First, if you create your own beats, export them into a useable format like MP3 and save them in your laptop. You should also save some new tracks in your laptop and make a backup of everything in an external hard drive. Plan your DJ set and practice playing it so you can make adjustments leading up to your music festival gig and ensure that your DJ software is working well.

On the day itself, you'll need to bring your laptop, external hard drive, a mixing board and mixer, speakers, battery packs, extension cords, a power strip, and headphones. Keep in mind that some festivals have extremely loud crowds, so invest in a good pair of DJ headphones that can block outside noise and provide sound isolation, since you'll need to be able to listen when you're cueing tracks. Don't forget to check the weather report to see if you need to weatherproof your equipment. If there's a slight chance of rain, play it safe and transport your gear in waterproof cases, and bring some tarps or extra large garbage bags to cover your stuff if it rains. You may also want to ask the music festival organizer if they provide pop up tents. If not, it may be a good idea to bring your own, just in case. 

Arrive Early

Arriving early enables you to have plenty of time to set up, and it gives you the opportunity to walk around and get a read on the crowd. Doing so will let you know whether to stick to your playlist or make a few changes so you can pull in more people. You may also want to check out other DJs' stages and listen to what they're playing. If most of the DJs are spinning mostly house or electro music, set yourself apart by playing remixes of pop hits from the 80s and up to the present year. Hearing familiar tunes mixed in a new way can encourage people to dance and check out your set.  

Have Fun

If you've ever witnessed a Steve Aoki set in person, you'll know that the DJ is a master at crowd work, and his personality and vibe shines through, which encourages everyone to party. Although a DJ's main job is to play music, you also need to have strong people skills and the ability to connect with a massive audience. No one likes to see a DJ who's disengaged from his set, so interact with the crowd and have fun. Be kind and encourage positive behavior, and always be professional, even when it's getting rowdy and loud out there. 

DJing at a music festival is one of the best ways to get your name out there. Consider these tips if it's your first time to play at a music event, and have an awesome DJ debut. 


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