The Canadian DJ Blog

The Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association, in cooperation with our international not-for-profit partners The National Association of Disc Jockeys (UK) and the DJ Alliance Australasia (Australia) have partnered to bring the public a series of articles with the expressed intention of helping people achieve a better experience when hiring and working with mobile DJ entertainment. We hope that the general public finds these articles, published on the Canadian DJ Blog helpful and that together, we are able to raise the quality and profile of professional disc jockey entertainment in Canada. The DJ directory is below.

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  • April 02, 2021 9:34 AM | Gerald Hood (Administrator)

    In many parts of the world, the Master of Ceremonies (MC) role may be filled by a variety of people from a favourite aunt or uncle to the best man or maid of honour and in other cases, there is no person truly in the role—things just “happen” throughout the event. In many regions though, the DJ will also take on the role of your event MC. In this post, we will explore just a few of the many great reasons why your DJ should also be your event MC.

    Your DJ has seen a lot of events and based on that experience, they generally have a pretty good idea about what works and what doesn’t work for countless situations. Most DJs have an incredible ability to recognize when things are not flowing correctly or when moments are missing the appropriate set up. They will adjust things on the fly as needed to ensure all moments create the impact you planned for.

    In the case of a wedding, your DJ will come at things from a neutral, third party, point of view. This is very beneficial because when a family or friend is the MC at a wedding, they generally know one part of your audience a lot more than the rest. What can result from this, is that they say things only some will understand or cater more toward one part of your audience, leaving the other half feeling disconnected. A DJ can not make this mistake as they need to research both sides of the family and all of your wedding party (for example) so that it comes off that they know everyone equally.

    Speaking on a microphone is typically something your DJ is already very adept at. They understand how to use sound equipment appropriately so that their voice is heard loud and clear without any additional coaching.

    Many DJs also undertake specialized MC based performance training (such as MarBecca Method Workshops) to become uniquely prepared at presiding over the special moments at your event in ways that cousin John or Auntie Kim simply will not have the ability to do.

    Oh and there shouldn’t be fear that your DJ will become that inebriated MC from that wedding last year. You remember that one, or you heard about that one, right? The things that were said at that wedding scarred some people for life. Ok, maybe you didn’t hear about that wedding, but either way, this shouldn’t be an issue when your DJ is the MC. Professional DJs generally avoid all alcohol at events they are hired for.

    If the above ideas mean something to you, take time during the consultations you’ll carry out with DJs before selecting the one you’ll hire to get an understanding of their approach to each of these topics.

    There are many more reasons than just the above, but this should get you started on thinking about the many reasons why your DJ should also be considered for being your MC.

  • April 02, 2021 9:32 AM | Gerald Hood (Administrator)

    What if your DJ or MC

    • gets sick, has an accident or their vehicle breaks down on the way to your event?

    • experiences equipment failure at a crucial moment?

    • experiences a power outage?

    • has a medical or family emergency?

    • does not have a contingency plan to address all these and other scenarios?

    Throughout life, we take certain precautions to ensure that should something not go to plan, we minimize or eliminate the likelihood of any disruption. For example, many of us subscribe to CAA roadside service, we carry a spare vehicle tire, we take out insurance, we carry a power bank for our phone, etc.

    Similarly, your DJ or MC should also be taking precautions to ensure that your wedding or celebration will proceed with liLle or no disruption. When researching potential entertainers for your event, delve into what back-up processes and procedures a DJ or MC has in place. This might include things such as equipment failure, dealing with inclement weather, staffing, technology and so much more.

    Those that understand the significance of your celebration will be able to clearly articulate all of the back-up measures they have in place to ensure your celebration will not be put in jeopardy due to their unpreparedness. Those that truly wish to go above and beyond, will not only have contingencies for all the situations you may be specifically concerned about, but also those that you may not have even considered, such as a sewing kit, a spare garter for weddings, batteries, safety pins, etc.

    As a guide, the CPDJA suggests that your DJ or MC have the following backup solutions available;

    • Equipment Failure – built in redundancy and/or additional items on site

    • Staffing – staff on standby or if a sole trader, reciprocal arrangements with other comparable services

    • Technology – multiple devices for music playback, multiple microphones (wireless & wired), spare parts, tools for minor repairs

    • Power – generator or battery powered solutions

    • Inclement Weather – solid Plan B and maybe even a Plan C

    • Wardrobe Malfunction – Additional appropriate clothing on site

    • Physical paper-based backup of timelines and other important information

    You will invest a significant amount of time and money into planning your event. Why would you risk it all on an entertainer that may not value your celebration as much as you do, by shortcutting things and not having adequate backup procedures and contingency plans in place?

    An experienced DJ and/or MC service should have adequate contingency plans for events such as illness or equipment failure. A backup DJ/MC should be available in case of an emergency and solutions the DJ/MC can use to ensure the show goes on in the event of any equipment malfunction.

    You don’t want to worry about “what if” scenarios with your DJ or MC, so make sure to discuss what options are available if the worst should happen. Behind almost every good wedding or other event is an equally good backup plan. Knowing that there is a backup plan will help you feel extremely confident in the choice of your DJ or MC and help ensure that your celebration goes off......without a hitch!

  • April 02, 2021 9:31 AM | Gerald Hood (Administrator)

    A lot of us had big dreams for 2020, but that abruptly changed. The current situation no longer resembles what we envisioned for the year. None of us can truly say when things will return to normal, but we all share the same hope. 

    This unexpected emotional journey has been trying and challenging for many of us. We can only empathize with the brides and the grooms that find themselves rescheduling their wedding after so much effort and planning. Some are struggling to find alternate dates that work for all their vendors, while others are simply waiting to see what happens next. 

    Without definitive answers, this can all seem a little overwhelming. Putting something on hold that you have invested your heart and soul into can be really frustrating. As wedding professionals, we want all couples to know that we are here for you. We know some weddings have to be rescheduled and we are working with you to ease some of the stress. 

    Many of our industry friends are doing the same thing and working to help ensure couples have their special day, even if that means it is in 2021 instead of 2020. These professionals really do care about your wedding, as well as your health and well-being. To us and our industry friends,it is never just a wedding, we understand that this is one of the biggest moments in your life. 

    Let’s not lose sight of what a wedding is: the celebration of your love with family and friends.When you have the support and love of your family and friends along with a great team of wedding professionals, wedding dreams come true, even if the date is different.

    Special thanks to DJ and MC, Ken Prentice, C Tech of Loops N Jamzz for contributing this article

  • April 02, 2021 9:29 AM | Gerald Hood (Administrator)

    Planning a wedding can be a daunting task. A lot more goes into it than most couples ever consider. It is easy to feel like it's all becoming a bit too much after a certain point, especially when it comes to choosing your wedding DJ.

    So why would it be a good thing to meet your DJ?

    Well, for peace of mind, it isn't as simple as just typing "wedding DJ” into a search engine and quickly browsing a bunch of websites and looking through their photo galleries. If they have testimonials on their website, this may be a good start, but it will never replace meeting them face to face.

    A professional DJ will offer the opportunity to sit down with them before you buy. These conversations (or a consultation) can make all the difference when it comes to your wedding day, so make sure you take advantage of them.

    Ask all the questions you can think of and make sure the DJ can deliver what you have in mind. It is also vital that you have the opportunity to see whether you all 'click' as they can be with you for so much of your wedding day and represent such a large part of your wedding success. Use the consultation to make sure you'll be hiring someone you can be at ease with and who will be a positive addition to your day, after all, building up that level of rapport can only be a good thing.

    Also, many modern wedding DJs will likely have a few options regarding the services they supply that may not always be transparent from simply reading the text on their websites.

    Finally, your DJ has likely been to far more weddings than you have and will be a resource to you. They will advise you on elements that are enhanced with entertainment that you may have never considered.

    As most married couples will likely tell you, finding a DJ who can provide what you are looking for; someone you will get along with; and will fit within your vision of your wedding day, is no small feat. That said, putting in the time and effort to meet them before you make any decisions are vital and the key to making your wedding day as enjoyable for you both as possible.

  • April 02, 2021 9:27 AM | Gerald Hood (Administrator)

    This probably goes without saying, but the past few weeks have been a bit of a blur for all of us.

    For those of you planning a once in a lifetime event, this has been a blur of unique proportions, mixed with plenty of emotion and challenging decision making. Everyone in the special events world understands the discomfort you are going through, trying to figure out what is going to happen with your 2020 event.

    Event professionals across the world have hastily been coming together, through video and phone, for conversations to figure out the best path forward. While much of the conversation has centred around how to provide for their families and their employees over the coming months, there is also the other side. We have been speaking at length about the hard work, effort, money and emotions you have invested in your special events, and the uncertainty that you must be feeling. Likewise, the attachment that many of your wedding suppliers feel towards your wedding can leave them feeling emotionally and physically drained too, even without performing at the wedding.

    In the case of a wedding, years, and sometimes a lifetime of dreaming have gone into planning this special occasion. Through the following words, we would like to share some perspectives on postponement that have come from many in the special events world: decorators, wedding planners, florists, DJs, venues, and more.

    Deciding on a new date for your special celebration carries many benefits with it and we would like to share some of those here. This big step will allow you to preserve all that you have invested into your big day, and it also ensures that the professionals you are counting on will be around for you too.

    Research + Relationships

    Putting together an event like a wedding requires a lot of research to find the perfect dream team of wedding pros. By now, you have already done that work and discovered an amazing group of people and companies that are the right fit for you. Finding a new wedding date with your current team saves you from having to do that work all over again. Chances are that great relationships have begun between you and the individuals you’ve decided to work with too. Giving those relationships even longer to develop will ensure you have the most dedicated team of people on your side when your big day arrives. You also preserve the individual planning sessions that have taken place with your wedding planner, DJ/MC, decorator or florist. All of your plans can still take place, even if not in the short term. Don’t discard the work you and your dream team have already completed.

    Pricing + Payments

    Many of the wedding professionals we have talked with will honour the pricing you booked them at for a future date. Precise terms will vary from company to company, but overall, staying with the company you have booked saves you from potential price increases when the world returns to normal. We can’t be sure of anything just yet, but the fees you have currently agreed to will likely be more favourable than those in coming years. Most booking or reservation fees are also non-refundable, but most companies are willing to transfer those payments to a postponed event date. In most cases, a cancelled event will result in the loss of any payments made. Postponement of your event will ensure that any payments made will translate into services for you when your party takes place.


    An unexpected bonus to finding a new date is that many event professionals are offering incentives for non-Saturday events. Due to the number of weddings being postponed right now, Saturdays in 2021 (for example) are going to be in very short supply. Therefore, many companies are offering valuable incentives if people are willing to move their event to a Friday or Sunday or even a regular weekday. In the case of a wedding, no one will remember your wedding just because it happened on a Saturday, they’ll remember it for all of the happiness and joy it brought them, watching you and your partner tie the knot.

    Supporting Each Other

    These added incentives are being made available by many wedding professionals because they want to still be around when you need them. A mass cancellation of events right now assures that many of the companies you depend on might not make it through this crisis. Help them remain in service to you by moving your event to a future date and maybe, the incentive to go to a non-Saturday will bring you something wonderful you didn’t expect!

    Regardless of all that is happening in the world right now, there is no need to re-write your dream wedding. All of the details—your choice of flowers, that incredible photographer, the music for your dance party, the exquisite dinner you have planned—can still go on. If you are worried that COVID-19 might impact the date of your celebration or special event, reach out to the event professionals you have hired and work on a new date as soon as possible.

    We are all very excited to see your dreams come to life through the amazing event you have planned. We need to put those dreams on pause for a few months of course, but we want to be here when you are ready to make those dreams come true. We’re going to need a big party at the end of all of this anyways, right? Let’s make that party yours!

  • April 02, 2021 9:24 AM | Gerald Hood (Administrator)

    Your wedding day is coming up and everything is in place. You’ve spent countless hours, not to mention dollars, to choose meaningful things that are beautiful, sentimental, fun and unique., But what you might be thinking now is, “What if they don’t see it?” or “What if no-one feels it?” Or how about, “Will I remember it and will it be something worth having the photographer capture?"

    Special events, particularly weddings, sometimes seem like a huge gamble with a big pile of money on a roulette wheel. “Here we go! I hope it all comes together!”

    There are many things you can do to assure that the space you have put so much time into will have the best chance of having an impact on your guests and get the most out of your photography. One of those things is staging!

    Staging is an old concept used for years by the theatre community to help frame the story being told. Think about are sharing a story with your friends and family. A story filled with those things that are important to you using the beautiful things you have chosen to share with all of them.

    Staging has several layers to it and we could go very deep around how to use it to enhance every part of your wedding. Let’s just give you a basic concept you can use when standing in your venue making decisions about how it’s going to look.

    The two most common types of staging you’ll likely be using are Proscenium Staging and Theatre In the Round Staging.

    Proscenium Staging is defined as being when the audience looks at the staged area and it is framed all around the action with no-one seated behind it. Proscenium Staging is like your head table against a wall or window with all of your guests in front Similarly, when you say your vows to each other and everyone sits and watches from one side , this is also Proscenium Staging.

    Theatre in the Round Staging is used when the action is in the centre of the room and the guests are seated around the action. The easiest example from a wedding is likely your first dance. This is an ideal example of Theatre in the Round Staging.

    Consider where you, the stars of the show (the reason they came to watch) and the action that’s being presented will be. Where will your guests be? Imagine being that guest and now take into consideration what they will see around and behind you. Will what they see frame you beautifully? Will it have balance and symmetry? Can everyone see you from every seat and what will the worst seat in the house see? Are there structures within sight lines and do you care? What’s on the walls or windows behind you? Is there a door or an exit sign or a fire extinguisher in the framed area?

    Taking these things into consideration not only draws your guests more deeply into the moments you want them to experience, but it will also ensure that the photographer and videographer will have great angles to work with, making sure that your investment with them will be somewhat protected.

    This simple way of thinking about staging can help you envision what your guests will experience from the ceremony to the cocktail reception to the dinner and into the dance. Where you are, where the bar should be, where the dance floor should go—all of these decisions can have an enormous impact on the success of every moment. The visual and performance artists you have decided to engage for the day should understand this concept in much more depth.

    Hiring people with a working knowledge of this concept will assure that all of the most important moments you plan for will be felt by everyone just as you imagined.

    Special thanks to DJ and MC, Bill Hermann of Bill Hermann Entertainment for contributing this article.

  • April 02, 2021 9:22 AM | Gerald Hood (Administrator)

    You’ve reached the party planning stage where it is time to decide on entertainment. Do you go with a live band or a DJ?

    That is a big question with many pros and cons on either side. Both have their benefits, both can have their drawbacks.

    As lovers of music, DJs are often big fans and supporters of live music, but when trying to entertain a wide variety of age groups and demographics, is a band the right choice for your party?

    Some bands are fantastic for playing many genres of music, however their song knowledge will vary from band to band. How do they handle requests? Do they know the latest songs that came out online this past Tuesday? If the lead singer is sick, do they have another singer to fill in? Bands can also take up a considerable amount of space, especially in a smaller venue.

    There are definitely some cool things a band can provide because they are live. The right band can provide great interaction and very high energy with a crowd. Because the music isn’t prerecorded, they can also do fun things like change the words around and change names in the songs to personalize details for the wedding couple or company they are performing for. Some bands also have the ability to seamlessly play groups of hit songs together in non-stop medleys.

    When it comes to a DJ, they are generally quite versatile with many music genres and seldom take up a lot of space. DJs can be very interactive with the crowd and can play almost any request because a DJ usually carries over 10,000 popular songs (and sometimes upwards of 50,000+!) that could be played at the drop of a hat! If your DJ comes down sick, they generally have a solid backup plan in place where another DJ in their company can come to the rescue or they belong to an association where a network of other DJs can fill in last minute. If the music isn’t working right for the dance floor, a DJ can change the genre in a heartbeat. In addition to spinning your tunes, DJs can also be your MC for the evening, helping to keep the flow of your event running smooth.

    Some DJs have event been fortunate enough to play with bands at weddings and corporate events. The key to making that succeed is for the DJ to play close attention to the band during their sets and if someone requested a song the band didn’t know, there is the first song for the DJ start their next set with!

    It is up to you to decide how versatile your entertainment needs to be for your specific event. The energy of a live 8 or 10 piece band can be tough for a DJ to compete with, but the music selection and mixing ability of a DJ might more than make up for that.

    Ask yourself which of these two options will appeal to your guests in the best way possible. This will help to ensure your guests are happily remembering the celebration long after your event has gone.

    Happy planning!

  • April 02, 2021 9:20 AM | Gerald Hood (Administrator)

    As some couples think about the entertainment for their wedding, they may consider using their own music on an iPod or iPhone. After all, we’ve all had friends over at the house and entertained them with an iTunes or Spotify playlist that we created, so how much harder could it be to rock a wedding?

    The answer: Much harder.

    There’s a huge difference between a few friends singing along at a dinner party or barbecue and trying to get multiple generations up on the dance floor to celebrate a wedding. That’s where a professional DJ comes in. He or she has the experience to curate a playlist (most often with the couple’s input) and then program the night to maximize the dancing time. An experienced DJ will have the music knowledge to know which songs match well with other songs and they’ll know when to change the direction of the music to satisfy as many of the guests as possible. This is where “reading the crowd” comes in.

    A DJ never goes into an event with songs laid out in the order that they’ll be played in. There are just too many factors involved to be that rigid. Rather, they have a general idea of what songs they’ll play throughout the night but they are always observing the crowd and responding to what they see. An experienced DJ can tell when a crowd is tiring, when they want to hear a different genre and when they’re about to erupt. They look for clues from the people on the dance floor as well as the people who are sitting. And they pivot and change course throughout the party based on the feedback (both spoken and unspoken) they receive. These are things that a pre-set playlist can’t do, and it’s the difference between technology and an actual human being controlling the music.

    What are some of the clues a crowd gives off? Starting from the beginning of the event, it can be things like singing along to cocktail hour music or bopping in their seats during dinner. If and when the guests move rooms, how do they walk? Are they sauntering in with their heads down looking at their phones or are they sashaying in to the music? When they’re dancing, are they barely moving or are they amped up? Has the energy on the dance floor plateaued or is it still rising? If the guests are sitting down, are they singing along or are they oblivious to the music? These (and many other things) are signs that an experienced DJ is looking for and reacting to. Maybe it means it’s time to slow things down and give the crowd a break. Maybe it means it’s time to change genres and try a different style of music. Maybe it means the crowd is ready for some hardcore bangers to take the party to an eleven. Whatever it means, a great DJ is there to respond and keep things flowing throughout the party.

    Special thanks to DJ and MC, Michael Walter of Elite Entertainment for contributing this article.

  • April 02, 2021 9:18 AM | Gerald Hood (Administrator)

    All of your suppliers, including the DJ and/or MC should at the very least, hold public liability insurance. A significant number of wedding reception establishments will require that any contractor/vendor who enters their premises provide evidence of current public liability insurance. If it cannot be provided, that particular supplier will most likely be refused access due to the potential risk it represents to the venue. If your venue has this requirement and you have hired a DJ that does not have public liability insurance, you are often left with one of the two following options;

    1) Source another DJ who has current liability insurance, or

    2) Personally arrange public liability insurance coverage for your selected DJ.

    Unfortunately, both of these options are far from ideal.

    In the first option, you probably selected a particular DJ because there was a connection; they can deliver exactly what you are after and/or are within your budget. Because the DJ does not have insurance, you are now placed into a situation where you have to repeat the search process to source a suitable replacement DJ – one that has current public liability insurance.

    Depending on when the venue informs you of this requirement (often the week of the event) there may not be sufficient time to secure an acceptable replacement; you may be left with little or no choice and this is an unneeded and unnecessary stress in the final days leading up to your wedding or event.

    Personally arranging public liability insurance coverage in order to avoid the situation outlined in the previous point will mean you will be at the mercy of the insurance companies and as a once off customer, requiring insurance for one night only, do you think the insurance company is going to give you a great deal? Probably not. You will likely be charged a hefty premium and the closer to the event, the larger this premium might become.

    How do you avoid this situation?

    Determine if your venue requires that any contractor/vendor who enters their premises needs current public liability insurance. Make this determination PRIOR to booking any service providers (including your DJ) that will be required to be on the premises before, on or after the day of your celebration.

    Prior to booking your entertainment (or other supplier), ensure that they have appropriate insurance. You might pay a little more for a supplier that does, but this is an indication that the supplier is a professional and takes their role seriously – no true professional would be without liability insurance, it is just not worth the risk.

    Further, you may find that the more expensive supplier could ultimately be a less costly option than if you engaged a cheaper supplier and had to personally cover them for public liability insurance yourself.

    It isn't a glamorous topic, but save yourself the insurance headache wherever possible and hire properly insured event professionals.

    Note: Public Liability Insurance is the minimum requirement you should be checking for as it protects the client, the venue and the supplier. However many professional DJs also hold other insurances such as Professional Indemnity, Personal Accident or Equipment Insurance. These are also indicators of someone who treats their profession and the events they’re hired for, most seriously.

  • May 02, 2020 9:04 AM | Gerald Hood (Administrator)

    Forget Spotify: Why you need a wedding DJ

    Let’s face it: planning a wedding can be costly. And to keep budgets down, it’s understandable that for many of us, something’s got to give – whether that’s the date, the dress or the entertainment. Before you cross wedding DJ off your priority list and create a free playlist instead, let’s explore why it can be so important to have a wedding DJ.

    Your DJ can ‘feel’ the room

    While putting together your own playlist might be filled with floor-filling favourites, by working with a wedding DJ, they can sense what’s appropriate to play and what the crowd actually wants to hear in the moment, minute by minute throughout the entire party.

    Working with wedding couples months before their big day, a DJ develops an understanding for how important music is to them – what they like and what they really don’t like. This helps a DJ tailor the music to their day without it being prescriptive.

    Ready-made playlists can work, but unless they’re carefully thought out from an entertainment perspective, they can lack flow and feel a little stop/start for guests wanting to party. For example: one minute you’re all dancing to an indie classic you loved from a festival and next, the energy screeches to a halt when a romantic, slow tune comes on, leaving just a few couples on the dance floor. DJs love reading the room, working with the vibe and playing what’s going to keep people partying!

    They have expertise.

    When you hire a wedding DJ, you’re not just paying for them to "turn up and play a few tunes,” but for their years of experience within the entertainment industry. Over the years, DJs often work with hundreds of wedding couples to help create their dream days with meaningful music and special moments.

    Like a great movie soundtrack, music at a wedding creates emotion. Music sets the scene. It can rock the party, creating energy and a crazy full dance floor that you just HAVE to be part of or, it can tug at the heartstrings as the newlyweds are lost in each other’s eyes during that perfect first dance or as a bride and her dad take to the floor for that dance with the first man she ever loved.

    Many times, a DJ will help from music choices to planning the timing of the event. DJs help their wedding couples, giving them the advice they need and helping them design a day as unique as they are. You can be forgiven for thinking that a wedding DJ focuses solely on the music.

    DJs are also frequently called upon to be the master of ceremonies, taking the pressure off their wedding couples by looking after timing and pacing of the day. They communicate with the other wedding suppliers (such as the photographer, videographer and reception venue coordinator) to make sure they are prepared for the next event moment – be that the speeches, cutting the cake and the all-important first dance.

    After all of the time spent planning your big day, you deserve to be right there, living and loving every moment, without worrying about what comes next. A Spotify playlist can’t do that, but your wedding DJ will.

    Special thanks to multi-award winning DJ and MC, Alan Marshall of Alan Marshall Celebrations for contributing this article. Alan is also a current member and former Chairman of the National Association of Disc Jockeys (NADJ).

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