Since this year marks 10 years since I started SN DJ Entertainment, I thought it would be fun to talk about some of my most memorable events in those 10 years. As you can imagine, I’ve seen a lot and experienced a lot as a mobile DJ both with clients, vendors, and other DJ’s.
“Watch that Fog Machine, Mr. DJ!!”
To begin with, one of the funniest moments I had occured in Panama City Beach during the summer of 2004. I had arrived at the venue and set up my equipment in the ballroom. At that particular time, fog machines were very popular for mobile DJ’s (most mobile DJ’s don’t use them a lot now because a lot of venues will not allow them due to the smoke alarms.) To use my fog machine, I had to let the machine heat up and then push a button to release the fog. I kept the fog machine under the DJ table so the fog could come out through the skirting on the table. Well, as I was setting up I put the fog machine under the table like I always did, then I had to walk down the hall for a second. While I was gone, I didn’t realize something was sitting on the button which makes the fog come out, so once the fog machine heated up, it starting coming out from under the table. The waitstaff members saw this and thought my equipment was on fire (because it looked like smoke was coming from under the table, and it was making a short, hissing sound which would probably make someone think the equipment was on fire). So I went back in there and realized what happened. The waitstaff members were very relieved when I told them it was only my fog machine, nothing to worry about. A couple years later I did a high school prom at that exact same venue, and the venue manager immediately remembered that event and said he still laughed about it even two years later. (Of course there is a lesson to be learned, from that moment on I learned never to have anything sitting on the button when the fog machine was heating up.)
“Better watch what your friends say when giving a toast!”
Another memorable moment occured in 2008 at a wedding reception in Pensacola. This wedding was memorable because of the toast the best man gave. We always recommend speaking from the heart and not get a “pre-written” generic, toast that are available online. The best man at this particular wedding took my advice on that, and when he got on the microphone the first thing he said was “Okay, I made a promise to Phillip (the groom) that I would keep this speech limited to the same amount of time it takes him to make love, which means I’ve already well extended my time, so I can’t say anything else since I have already gone over. Goodbye everybody!”. Needless to say, the groom’s face was bright red, but that got a lot of laughs and it’s one toast I remember to this day.
“A Very Special Dance”
On a more somber note, in 2008, I did a wedding at Pensacola NAS. When I had met with the bride earlier in the year, she mentioned she would not be doing a “Father / Bride” Dance because her father had passed away. I could definitely tell she was upset that she would not be able to share a dance with her dad. At the reception, her brother came up to me during dinner and said he wanted to do a special dance with her since their father wasn’t there, and he wanted it to be a surprise. So we discussed it, and he chose Heartland’s “I Loved Her First” because he wanted a very popular Father-Bride dance song (which that song was extremely popular at the time). When the Mother-Groom Dance was finished, I didn’t even announce the brother’s dance. I just gave him a cue, he stood up, took his sister by the hand, led her to the dance floor, and I started the song. The bride was crying and most of her family were too. That was a very special moment shared by all. At the end of the reception, the bride came up, hugged me, and thanked me for doing that. That was definitely a wedding I will never forget. That particular night made me feel really good about what I do because I saw the happiness in that brides’ eyes.
“Better not use a GPS on a military base”
In 2011, I had finished a wedding at the Eglin Officer’s Club. It was probably 12:30am when I left, and I decided to follow my GPS to get me out of there. The problem was my GPS gave me directions and took me to an exit that wasn’t open, there were large cement baracades blocking the exit, so I had to turn around. I got lost on the base and followed a sign that said “exit”, but then a few feet up the road I saw another sign that said “Warning, restricted area. Vilolators will be arrested.” I thought “Oh great, here I am driving around a military base at 12:30 in the morning. They’re going to think I’m scouting the place out.” I wasn’t going to go into a restricted area, so I turned around and went back toward the Officer’s Club. I finally found my way out of there, but I learned not to trust the GPS on a miltary base. Also, driving around a military base in the middle of the night seeing signs that say “restricted” was not a good feeling either.
“Power out at a wedding reception”
Earlier that same year, I did a wedding reception at the Hurlburt Field Soundside Club. I got a big surprise when I got there to begin setting up because the power was out. I found out the power was not only out there, but all over the base and had been for 3 hours. The waitstaff said they had no idea if the power would come back on or not, and said I probably shouldn’t unload my equipment. Since it takes me about 2 hours to set up, I made a decision to go ahead, unload, and set up anyway because I didn’t want to wait 2 hours after the power came back (if it came back) to set up, delaying the wedding reception. Needless to say, that was an experience because the only light I had was the sunlight coming in through the lobby and into the ballroom. The ceremony was being held outside and she had hired a string quartet to play her cermeony, so that wasn’t going to be affected. So I had everything set up and just waited. About 10 minutes before the ceremony was to begin, the power came back on. At that point, since I had already set up, all I had to do was plug my equipment in and power everything up. I think the ceremony was delayed about 15 minutes, but we went on to have a very memorable and fun reception that night.
The ALMOST “No Show” DJ
Another memorable event came in the summer of 2008. It was a Friday afternoon, and I didn’t have any weddings that weekend. It was actually my first free weekend in a long time, so I decided I was going to relax and spend a nice weekend at home. Well about 5:30pm, I had a girl call me up and she was frantic….she asked me if I was available for her wedding the next night, Saturday. She explained to me that she hired a DJ she found online, but she hadn’t heard from him since she sent her retainer fee to book him. Her emails and calls had gone unanswered (that sounds like a great scenario the night before your wedding!) I asked her if she had met with him and signed a contract, she said no, he didn’t do consultations nor did she sign a contract, but he had quoted her a cheaper price and that’s why she hired him (BIG MISTAKE!). She said since she hadn’t talked to him she had no idea if he would be at her wedding or not, so she was going to go ahead and book someone else. I told her I was available, and she asked me to meet her immediately after her rehearsal and she would fill out the paperwork, sign the contract, and do everything then. She said it didn’t matter how much I charged, she would pay it because she needed a DJ for her ceremony and reception. I told her ok. As I was getting ready to walk out the door to meet her, she called me back and said “I just talked to his wife. She said he will be there tomorrow. I appreciate you willing to help me, but it looks like he will be there.” That was yet another example of hiring a “budget” DJ and not a “professional”. The lesson to be learned there is any professional DJ would be contacting you WEEKS before your wedding to make sure he had all the information he needed to plan and prepare your wedding reception. This particular bride put herself through a lot of unnecessary stress because she didn’t hire a professional and chose to hire the cheapest DJ she could find. All the stress she was under could have been avoided if she had simply hired a professional. She called me back a few days later and told me he showed up, but she wasn’t happy with his performance. We talked a little bit and she said if she had it to do over again she would have definitely spent a little more and hired a professional. Imagine how much stress she was under the night before her wedding when she didn’t know if her DJ was going to show up or not. Obviously this DJ wasn’t organized, and at last check, he was no longer in business. This is one instance I remember really well.
“Hey guys, let’s make the CD skip!”
I did a high school Homecoming dance in 2005, and this was back when I was still playing music on CD (I now have all my music on a laptop). The school had me on a very flemsy portable stage. One of the kids decided to jump on the stage during the dance, and it caused my CD to skip. Well the other kids thought that was cool, so they all jumped up there and made a game out of it called “Let’s see how much we can make the CD skip”. The chaperones immdiately came over and stood in front of the stage to prevent them from doing it again, but that was an experience all in itself.
“Mr. DJ, let’s start playing music these kids don’t like so we can clear the gym”
I did another school dance in 2007. Everything went great, and I had been playing mostly Top 40 and some Hip Hop all evening. The dance was supposed to end at 11pm. About 10:30 the gym was still packed, so the principal came up to me and said “Okay, we need to start clearing this gym out. These kids don’t like country so play nothing but country for the remainder of the dance so they will get out of here.”……(Pardon me, you mean you “want” me to “bore” these kids by playing music they don’t like so they will leave? Isn’t the whole point of a school dance is for the kids to have fun? This dance is a success and you want me to end it on a bad note? How about instead of trying to “clear” the kids out by playing music they “don’t” like, let’s play music they “love” and finish strong?. Let’s let the kids have fun up until the very last second, that’s what I’m getting paid for isn’t it? ). Now that’s what I was thinking, not what I said. I actually honored the principal’s request since he was the one who signed my check, but I do think there could have been a better way to end the dance. He was right, I started playing country and most of the kids left, but there were a few who enjoyed the country music and stayed until the end. By 11:00 only a handful of students were left. As a DJ, I always want to make sure the students enjoy every minute of the dance. I suppose the principal wanted to start the clean up early so he and the other chaperones could go home. Also, from his standpoint, he probably didn’t want all the students hanging around in the gym (as my high school principal used to say) ”lollygagging” past 11:00.
There are many more memories, but these are some of my most memorable moments. I’ll share more with you in a later post. Talk to you in the next blog!
Stacey Noles is a professional mobile DJ in the Pensacola, Florida market. Please visit his company website at www.sndjpensacola.com.