Having a function or wedding, want a "mobile disco".... stop and think.... you're not buying takeaways.
Selecting a mobile disco for your function or wedding reception is as important as selecting the venue and date itself, so make sure you choose wisely. the mobile disco / entertainment / sound company has one chance to get it right and make it count!!!
Your Mobile Disco / Sound Company needs to be registered with SAMPRA and SAMRO. Being registered only with SAMRO is no good as this only covers the Song Writers Rights and not the Performing Artists and Record Company.
You need all these licenses to be able to do Public Broadcasts i.e. playing music at Weddings, other Functions and Venues to the Public.
So how do you go about sourcing a mobile disco / entertainment / sound company:
The World Wide Web: The website of a mobile disco company will speak volumes about the service that they offer and this will be a good indicator of the service that you can expect from them. There are also a number of wedding planning websites and you can use search engines to find the website addresses of mobile disco companies in and around your area.
Word of mouth / Hearing: Selecting a mobile disco by word of mouth or even better ? by ear is generally deemed the safest way, If you have heard a mobile disco at a function and were impressed by the entertainment that they provided, request a quotation and if the price and the service that they offer suits your needs, book them.
From Venue's Preferred Suppliers List / Specialist Publication: Most venues have preferred suppliers lists. On the lists will be their recommended mobile discos. When you open any events publication you will be surprised as the number of mobile discos in your area.
Once you have a list of mobile disco companies to contact, keep the following in mind when making your selection:
A LOT OF SUPPLIERS TRAVEL AT AN ADDITIONAL COST, THIS MIGHT BE WORTH THE MONEY SPEND.
Price: You cannot compare a mobile disco company charging you a few hundred rand to one charging you R3000. Prices vary tremendously and be on the lookout for companies riding the wave and might drop you at the last minute. Finding a good quality mobile disco on short notice is not easy, but possible. As with any product or service, price is relative to expertise and quality. Ensure that you know exactly what the price quoted includes.
Equipment: Is the disco using professional / reliable equipment? Is the equipment regularly maintained and does he/she have some form of backup should equipment fail? Professional equipment costs a great deal of money and this will have an impact on the price that you are paying. The speeches are such an important part of any function, if the sound is poor the speeches will be ruined. A cordless microphone might assist you in facilitating the speeches, if it is of good quality, otherwise a normal wired microphone might be better. Remember to check with the disco company should you require other sound connections via their system for equipment that you might supply, i.e. connection for presentation laptop at your product launch or maybe somebody playing a keyboard at your wedding ceremony. What happens if there is a power failure, will they be prepared to play from generator power. Are they supplying more than one microphone if needed.
The Mobile Disco / DJ: You must try and meet with your Music Provider / DJ before your function or wedding. A pre-function meeting will enable you to establish a list of what is supplied by the company, what you need to supply and give you a general "feel good" about the DJ. At this meeting discuss your music requirements for the function or wedding such as, first song and entrance song and your order of events. By selecting a mobile disco with good references, professional equipment, a wide selection of music, an experienced DJ with SAMPRA and SAMRO licenses, you will have the musical score for an evening to be enjoyed by everyone!
Music Selection: Ages and music preferences vary considerably at a function and the DJ must be equipped to play a wide selection of music. Some DJs play from a pre-constructed play list, others "read" the audience and make one as they go. Some will allow for your guests to place requests others don't like it.
Please keep in mind that your choice of music is not necessarily the same as your guests. Yes you are paying for it, but it does not help if you have spend a fortune for people to sit and look at each other. Rather sacrifice a bit so that your guests can have a ball.
IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR DJ AT YOUR FUNCTION OR WEDDING
There are a few important considerations with regards to your DJ on the evening of your function or wedding so it is best to be aware of these during your planning stages so that the DJ is not slotted in as an afterthought, which could pose some challenges closer to your big day.
Once you have decided on your venue and that you will indeed be hiring the services of a mobile disco company, take the time to look at the floor plan of the venue and the choices you have in terms of placement of the DJ.
It is ideal that the DJ be set up in the main venue and not in an adjoining venue such as a patio or outside. The minute you remove the DJ from the room in which you are hosting your function or reception you cause unnecessary challenges.
For your walk in song, first dance, cutting of the cake, throwing of the bouquet and garter - if your DJ cannot see you, it is impossible for him to cue the music and play your songs as seamlessly as they should be played.
Background music is an essential tool that the DJ uses to monitor the guests and slowly build the tempo leading up to the dancing. If he cannot see your guests, he will not be able to get an indication early on or see what music they are responding to.
The speeches are such an important part of the evening, by placing the DJ in an adjoining room, this entire part of the function or wedding could be lost.
You never have as much success with the DJ in an adjoining room as when he is set up in the same room as the guests. Once the dancing part of the evening gets going, having the reception in two venues causes a break in the flow and affects the continuity.
It is essential that the DJ be set up on the perimeter of the dance floor - not hidden in the corner! It is not advisable to try and hide the DJ behind a pillar, draping, flower arrangements, screens or fairy lights!
A DJ connects with his audience and having him stashed in a corner does little to establish a relationship between the DJ and the dance floor.
Never underestimate the power of the relationship between the DJ and his dance floor for this relationship can make or break the function!
If you have chosen wisely, the equipment that the mobile disco company supplies will be aesthetically appealing and will not cause you embarrassment.
By hiding the DJ, you will once again have the same problems as mentioned above.
The DJ's table that you have set aside for him to set up on should have an accessible power point close by. The closer the plug point the less cable he will have to run. It is the responsibility of the DJ to have all of his own leads and very importantly tape to tape them down!
Having the DJ close to the dance floor also means shorter cable runs for the sound and light systems.
Now look at your tables and the guests that you have placed at them!
It is advisable that if any of your more mature guests are placed around the dance floor so that you move them to the further reaches of the room. The sound will be concentrated onto the dance floor, by moving the more mature folk further away you will ensure that they too have a great evening and will not be griping out the volume of the music.
DJ EQUIPMENT AND WHAT IS A TECHNICAL RIDER?
It is a document detailing the specifications of the artist - in this case the DJ. In the case of a chart topping band or best selling artist, this would then include everything from catering to transportation to arrival at the venue, exact sound specifications, lighting design, layout and precise sound requirements. The Technical Rider is the outline towards a successful function.
For a "celebrity DJ", when they arrive to play a set at a function, the rider could include information regarding audio playback needs - ie. professional pitch control CD players with MP3 playback, whether additional fold back monitors are required, mixing desk preferences, if the DJ will be using vinyl, require microphones, will be making use of DVD's or PC Audio and if special cabling is required.
For Mobile DJ's, they bring their own equipment, so the onus is on the Mobile Disco company supplying the equipment. Technical Riders are often very specific in terms of brands, however, in the Mobile Disco industry each and every company has a brand preference, as long as the equipment is professional ie. specifically for PA and not for home use, then you are on the right track.
Compare and ask the right questions to Mobile Disco Companies, you will soon find out who the right Mobile Disco Company for your function or wedding is. By asking the correct questions and planning well, you will choose the right Company that always comes to the party!
Are the equipment that your DJ are using professional branded equipment? Branded equipment presents better, "should" sound better and will be able to give more before failing. Some brand names used: (this is not the only names but most commonly used by Mobile Disco Companies)
Gemini, Samson, Wharfedale Pro, Senheizer, Shure, Behringer, Chauvet, JBL, JBSystems..etc
DIXON is not professional, neither is your moms work laptop and dads HiFi speakers.....
Will your DJ be supplying a cordless or wired handheld microphone for the speeches?
Wired Handheld - Should not have interference or drops in signal but have cables to content with.
VHF Cordless - Cheap and easy setup - Interferences from various local sources possible and only certain frequencies (Hard Coded) available.
UHF Cordless - Expensive and easy setup - Not to much interferences and can select from a couple of frequencies depending on model and make. Longer Pickup Range than VHF.
Does your DJ supply lighting?
If so, is the lighting suitable to your function or wedding.
Does your DJ offer the option of a smoke machine?
This is a personal choice, some like a smoke machine and the lights are more effective.
Does your DJ have sufficient leads and cabling and tape to tape them down?
Brown box tape just won't do - should use gaffer tape. It looks more professional, looks a lot more rugged and comes off your floor or cables easier than brown tape.
Do your DJ have any form of back up should there be some kind of equipment failure.
Are your DJ a licensed operator - with SAMPRA and SAMRO?
It is very important to remember that the fee that the Mobile Disco Company requests relates directly to the equipment that they are utilizing. If they are charging R1000, don't expect too much, much less professional equipment.