You’d think that over fifteen years in the game, I’d be able to avoid being let down on DJ bookings? Of course there are always occasions when the party just can’t go ahead. Plenty of people were wondering what would happen to the Hard Times party with Todd Terry over the Bank Holiday weekend when Cable was closed down by National Rail out of the blue. In that case, the show did go on but things like club licensing issues can mean that DJ bookings get cancelled. When agents are involved, they build in cancellation fees into bookings or often have the entire fee upfront, so you could say that it’s ‘OK’ for named DJs, but what about the grass roots gang who don’t have agents?
I had a DJ booking pulled recently for the end of May Bank Holiday. About 18 months ago I got some convoluted excuse after a cancellation, from the same promoter and a while before that, the same guy slipped out the back door at a Kinky Malinki booking without weighing out the balance of the fee that was due to be paid. Of course their phone was switched off and then you get the run around after trying to claw back the cashola. “There wasn’t enough people through the door” blah blah blah, knowing damn well I’d DJed to a busy club.
Now I know what you’re going to say. I shouldn’t have taken the booking because of my previous experience with him!? Fair enough. What I will say is that he actually seems like a really nice bloke. Admittedly, I don’t know him really well, but he does SEEM like a nice guy. You can still be a crap promoter but a nice guy though. So, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. My concerns came to the fore when he shifted the date from the first bank holiday to the last bank holiday in May “So they have more time to promote the event”. I was assured that “100% the party is on” but after I asked for e-flyers or FB event links, to promote the party myself, the radio silence confirmed to me that the inevitable was coming. And it did of course, along with the snivelling excuses about losing money etc
This whole situation isn’t a big deal really. Simply disappointing and actually something that happens regularly. Just the other day I saw a pal of mine, Mark Robinson, have a set in Hungary go sour on him and he wasn’t best pleased. Understandably so. What this did make me think about, was the good promoters out there. Yes, they do exist!! You may be able to count them on your fingers, but we know the good ones exist. I have been very lucky and feel extremely fortunate that I’ve been playing for Kinky Malinki most of my DJ ‘career’ and I’ve grown and learnt under their wing. Which meant I could avoid having to play for jokers like John A List, who has knocked more DJs than he gets in clubs. As a beginner you have to learn the hard way unfortunately. Gigs are often few and far between and sometimes you won’t get paid or get messed around. I think many DJs would agree with me, that you need to take that on the chin and slowly but surely, associate yourself with the good promoters out there. Spreading yourself thinly, getting paid peanuts and/or taking on ticket deals isn’t the way forward. Working with good professional promoters is!!