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Creating Your Own DJ Gigs In Alternative Spaces

Dj-by-fora-do-eixoAlternative spaces can be a great place to play, whether you're a dj, musician or some other kind of performer. They're especially worth considering if you're good enough to be out in public but not yet known well enough to get gigs. Dan White recently shared some great ideas for creating dj gigs in "unlikely places" which can also be fun if you're already known.

If you're sceptical or wondering why somebody would want to dj in an alternative space beyond just having a gig, check out the video below of a silent disco held on a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train. It's a great example of how cool playing in alternative spaces can be. I've added a couple of quick tips at the end of this post if you're thinking of doing such a gig without permission.

ZEROdB - BART Party ft. G Jones & Mad Zach

Though DJ's are increasing in popularity at the moment, they too have trouble getting gigs. Dan White has an awesome post at DJ TechTools on the topic "How To Get DJ Gigs In Unlikely Places"

White points out that you're going to have to make these gigs happen and the best opportunities are often events that occur regularly without music, such as gallery openings, but would be improved with the presence of a dj. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you think you've discovered such an event:

Does it seem like this event/location would be complimented by a DJ?

Is there space to set up some DJ equipment? (look for electricity, too!)

Is there space for dancing? (not always necessary)

You'll find that approaching the organizers is going to be a very different experience than talking to somebody booking traditional dj gigs. Be prepared to either get a surprisingly positive response or to have to explain things as simply as possible without sounding patronizing. My own experience of organizing events in alternative spaces taught me that some people will get it right away and some you'll have to treat like an authority figure who has to have things spelled out.

Alternative Spaces for Possible DJ Events

One-off Gigs in Odd Places

Art Gallery/Museum

Public Transit Party

Retail Storefront

Open House

Political Rally/Protest

Charity Events

Renegade Picnic

Sporting Events

DJ Busking

As is usual with posts where I pull out key points, the original post has much more. But, if you're familiar with DJ TechTools, you know they outperform and this post has much much more to give for those dj's and other musicians considering alternative spaces.

PS - If you're thinking of holding a guerilla-style dj event, do be prepared to deal with the cops before you pull one so you know your rights and what to do if they're violated. Also, make sure you're not carrying any contraband and have someone you can call who knows you might need to be bailed out of jail.

The folks in the BART video above were lucky with the cop they encountered. Oscar Grant was not. That's not to scare you but to remind you that not everyone will dig your happy vibe.

[Thumbnail photo courtesy Circuito Fora do Eixo.]

More: Best of DJTT in 2012: Top 10 Articles

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/ also blogs at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM) and All World Dance: Videos. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.