BizBash E.V.P. Nicole Peck: Great DJs Can Read a Crowd and Orchestrate Outcomes

Are you using your event DJ to his or her full potential? Here's what I learned at the DJ Collective conference.

DJ Digital Dave energized the crowd at an evening event at the Hotel Adeline.
DJ Digital Dave energized the crowd at an evening event at the Hotel Adeline.
Photo: Bird at SCE Entertainment

More than 100 of the top DJs in the world gathered in Scottsdale, Arizona, from November 18 to 20 to learn from each other at the DJ Collective. Conceived by DJs Brian Buonassissi, Joe Bunn, and Jason Jani, the DJ Collective is an exclusive annual meet-up for top private event DJs. Their mandate was to deliver trend-setting content with a creative spin (see what I did there?) on marketing, business practices, and performance. Since its inception three years ago, the event has experienced an incredible 800-percent growth, and as both a speaker and participant at the conference for the past two years, I was able to get an insider’s view of what makes a great DJ one of the most important parts of the event mix.

The look and feel of a room, new technology, great food and beverage, and an enticing theme all shape the guest experience. It is the DJ, however, who reads a room best and can sway it via inspired song choice and instruction. A gifting suite, curated by This Beautiful Life, included musician-theme playing cards and vinyl record bottle openers.A gifting suite, curated by This Beautiful Life, included musician-theme playing cards and vinyl record bottle openers.Photo: Phillip Van Nostrand

I realized that many DJs are often undervalued and misunderstood and need to be appreciated for what they can bring to a gathering: immediate energy, cohesiveness, and connectedness. I believe that emotions drive outcomes at an event, and the goal of any event should be to get to warmth. It is when that warmth prevails that connection happens and events can achieve their objectives. DJs can serve up the right music at the right time, perform host duties when your executive team cannot deliver, and imbue into your event creativity galore.

A DJ is able to mix music in a way that not only physically moves people on a dance floor but moves them emotionally. The truest masters of their craft understand that successful programming takes into account the ages of the people in attendance, their geographic diversity, and the mood that the event organizer is trying to achieve—and then delivers a playlist to address it all.

Simply put, a great DJ reads a room and moves the crowd. Dave Lander, a.k.a., Digital Dave, is one of those greats and is known for connecting with his crowds at more than 300 performances annually at nightclubs, radio stations, and luxury events across the U.S. Dave shared his thoughts with me on how energy is transformed at an event.

“Through programming, a DJ can provide a welcoming atmosphere to a room that has just opened and gradually build the room's energy to a crescendo," he said. "The entire time this takes place he/she is connecting with the audience and connecting audience members with one another through one of the most consistently powerful mediums across cultures and throughout time: music."Event organizers customized signage at the venue.Event organizers customized signage at the venue.Photo: Phillip Van Nostrand

A goal of the DJ Collective was to achieve collaboration over competition. That was never more evident than on the second night of the event when four elite DJs (Digital Dave among them) performed for the rest of the group. The other DJs in the room were giddy listening, taking videos, and literally huddling over the performers to watch their hands and absorb their magic. The event designers, planners, and other participants had palatable “aha moments” as to what these performers could bring to their own events, and conversations shifted to how to book some of the talent in the room. These same participants had spent two days with one another learning, exchanging ideas, and sharing meals together—but I would argue that this night, with the music set to ignite the room, was when the warmth truly happened.

Music is clearly a huge part of most social events; however, I believe it should play a larger part in corporate, trade shows, and business events. At BizBash Live, we incorporate live bands or DJs into our events to generate energy before education even begins, and plan key moments of our programming in partnership with our band to ensure appropriate song entrances for guests and music breaks and discussions with the band to showcase them. The host duties at BizBash Live fall to an executive team member who is adept at reading a room and facilitating idea flow and connection. Perhaps in 2020 and beyond, we will share or augment those responsibilities with a great DJ. Partners welcome!

The next DJ Collective will take place November 10 to 12, 2020, in Asheville, North Carolina.

VENDORS
Art Direction, Gifts:
This Beautiful Life
Audiovisual Production, Sound: Stages Plus
DJ: DJ Angelo, DJ Buck Rodgers, DJ Digital Dave, DJ Scooter
Event Design: John Gandy Events
Event Management: Life Design Events
Venue: Hotel Adeline

Conceived in 2017 by DJs Brian Buonassissi, Joe Bunn, and Jason Jani, the DJ Collective is an annual conference for top private event DJs. Main stage design and fabrication by Stages Plus, John Gandy Events, and This Beautiful Life.Conceived in 2017 by DJs Brian Buonassissi, Joe Bunn, and Jason Jani, the DJ Collective is an annual conference for top private event DJs. Main stage design and fabrication by Stages Plus, John Gandy Events, and This Beautiful Life.Photo: Phillip Van Nostrand

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