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How to Advance a Show and Prepare for a Successful DJ Gig

DJ Experience, News | Sep 14, 2017   

How to Advance a Show and Prepare for a Successful DJ Gig

What’s a DJ’s worst nightmare? Arriving to a gig to find:

1. the event was poorly promoted
2. the equipment set-up is all wrong
3. it was cancelled last minute
4. all of the above

Chances are you said all of the above, and for good reason! When you start booking gigs regularly, you want to ensure that each show runs smoothly from the time it is booked to the day of the show. This is possible with a few simple steps and a little bit of effort. Read on for tips to properly “advance” a show and prepare for a successful gig.

Point of Contact 

Establishing the most important points of contact will save you SO MANY headaches. During the booking process, ask who your main point of contact is for the event. It might be the venue owner or a promoter. Also ask who will be handling travel (if applicable), who will be handling payment, and if there is a dedicated tech/production contact to communicate with about your rider. Gather and keep handy all important phone numbers and emails.

body booked

Getting Paid

Arguably the most important step of the process, you want to make sure you’re paid the correct amount, on time. Once you’ve been booked for a gig, find out who will be processing the payment and when.

If you are planning to be paid your full fee on the night of the show, it is highly advised that you get that money before you start raising the roof. This is especially important if you’re dealing with promoters or third parties who are not the venue owners. It can be hard to track people down at the end of the night when drinks have been consumed and good times have been had.

If you’re working with a venue that asks you for a contract and/or invoice in advance, be sure to get that over to them as soon as possible. Keep track of all balances owed and follow up with outstanding invoices before you play the show.

body money


When you book a gig, be sure to send your technical rider to all appropriate contacts via email. Your rider is an important document that will help you to play like a pro at every single gig. It can be provided within your press kit and covers all of the equipment you need for any given performance.

Make sure it’s very clear about the equipment that you will bring versus what the venue or event will provide. Ask them to reach out if they need to make any substitutions. The last thing you want it to show up to a gig and not be able to use an incapable piece of equipment or software.

A rider can also include a hospitality section that covers things like transportation and meals for certain situations, as well as any tickets or comped entries you need for the day of the show. Keep reading for more info on advancing your travel plans.

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If you book a date that requires travel, you should first establish who will be responsible for paying for and booking any hotel rooms, flights, train tickets, etc. If the venue is paying for your travel accommodations, make sure that you get those details sorted 4-6 weeks before the date.

Do you have transportation to and from the airport? Make sure to get confirmation numbers and phone numbers for the drivers as well. It also doesn’t hurt to call the hotel or transportation service yourself to double check that reservations are all set.

If the gig is local or you’re planning to get there on your own, make sure you have the right address and ask your main contact about parking in the area. Give yourself extra time in case there is traffic or other delays. Be on time and you’ll be much more relaxed when you arrive.

body travel


If you’ve sent your press kit upon being booked for a gig, then you’ve also sent press photos and logos (assuming they are neatly packaged in your press kit). Now you can request artwork for the event in various sizes. Flyers and other promotional materials are usually available 4-6 weeks before an event.

Other key questions to ask: Where will this event be promoted (social media channels, local media, company website)? Is there a presale or ticket link available to send to followers? Who is the main marketing contact or promoter? These will help to keep the venue on target and will also help you to promote your show.

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Week of Show

Advancing your gig will help you and everyone involved to stay on course to a successful show. It’s up to you to show up on time with well prepared music and be the professional that the venue is expecting you to be. 

Use this checklist during the week of your gig to double check all important details:

  • Has artwork been approved with your press photos and logo?
  • Did you receive artwork in various sizes so you can promote the event?
  • Are necessary travel reservations made (flights, trains, or hotel)?
  • Do you have all confirmation numbers for transportation and hotels?
  • Is the technical rider fulfilled?
  • Is the hospitality rider fulfilled?
  • Do you have all important contact phone numbers?
  • Is there a balance or check to collect – make sure you get paid.
  • Be on time, have music ready, look fly, and network for your next booking!

Even if you advance a show and prepare the best you can, things can still go wrong. If you find yourself in a tough situation, stay calm and try to find a solution that works best for everyone involved. We hope this info is helpful and leads to more successful bookings. Let us know your comments or any additional suggestions below!

2 thoughts on “How to Advance a Show and Prepare for a Successful DJ Gig

  1. I always get paid in advance now. I got stiffed 6 performances in a row the summer of 2009. Ever since then its pay then I’ll play. I have found using a rider has saved my butt on more than one occasion. When they don’t comply with the rider I still play, but I have a clause that relieves me of responsibilty for the quality of the show. And I always promote my gigs myself. Most venues don’t do it effectively. I also charge for that as well.

    1. 1.Always have a contract & deposit to lock the date in.
      2.Have emails n contact numbers always avalible
      3. In contract Make.aure yo get paid on arrival the remainder or better yet 48hrs before the gig..
      4. last but not least have the right music for the event..
      5. Have a great time & mingle with the crowd. Don’t act like a star because your not. The stars are in the sky god made it that way. Take every booking as a blessing & professional because your name & career is on the line..
      6. the last part always give thanks to who booked you. & the man upstairs for he gave us this dream & hands to do what we do.

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