DJ gig checklist

Can I provide just ONE bit of advice to DJs about to perform? It is to refer to a Gig Check-list before you leave the house.

Hopefully you are about to leave for a paid gig, in which case forgetting something will lose you money if it means you cannot perform. If not, you may still lose your reputation if your performance is hit by forgetting something.

So, I have referred to a number of other DJ gig check-lists on and offline to ensure I am providing you with a complete list all in this one page for you to either bookmark or refer to before you leave. I will also provide extras that will come in handy for if faeces hits the propeller and the unexpected happens.

Your Gig Bag  Must Include:

  • Music - Bring several USB sticks with music on, rekordbox is ideal if you know there are Pioneer CDJs at the venue, even if you are a controller DJ, have at least one CDJ loaded with a track next to your controller in case the laptop breaks. Make sure you have your hard drive and laptop if you use them and the laptop power supply is a must! A CD with a short mix on a single track can help if you need to unplug your controller and restart your laptop.
  • Controller - a hard one to forget but I'll include it in case a muppet is reading this.
  • Headphones - I also bring a second pair/earbuds as I have had headphones break on me during the set and with no backup, there is an issue. This is the benefit of sync and computer waveforms where at worst, you can visually beatmatch. Adaptors are essential, have a few.
  • Wires - I bring twice as many RCA cables as well as USB cables as they have been known to break or crackle if they are too abused.
  • Timecode Vinyl/CDs - it may be your main setup, it may not. Don't go without, just in case.
  • Snacks/Drinks - Caffeine drinks help a lot if you are tired, food helps with hunger and keeps you going. I suppose if you smoke, an electronic ciggarette/snus will give you the boost you need if you are indoors and need the nicci (or try quitting well in advance)!
  • Small Torch/Lamp - for wiring in the dark or if you cant see your equipment. Clubs and venues tend to be dark and foggy so come prepared.
  • Pen and paper - for that one rare moment when you get a good request that you can't accommodate, take notes for next time.
  • Suave Attire - represent your professional brand and look good.
  • Power Extension - Never trust clubs to provide enough plugs.
  • DVS Box - if you run a DVS setup
  • NO drugs/alcohol - DJing when drunk is a bad plan, it's too technical for that. At least balance a small amount of alcohol with energy drinks but better still, stay sober until you are done performing. After parties are there for a reason. Also don't be the guy to shut down a club from swedger OD, people won't like you for it.

Your Gig Bag  May Also Include:

  • More wires - you can never have enough.
  • Electrical tape -  Poundland offers several rolls for a pound, these help you tidy your wires after as well as during the set. I have also worked with house equipment with open copper wires from years of misuse, don't zap yourself. If you need to fiddle round the back, at least wrap your fingers in insulating tape.
  • Business Cards - people may like your set
  • Mixtapes - again people may like you and ask or alternatively, you could promote your work.
  • Additional Controller - this may sound odd but having a small controller like the Akai AMX will certainly guarantee a set continues if your main controller breaks. It will also allow you to use the decks/CDJs if you have the DVS upgrade.
  • Foam isolation - if you have turntables or are expecting excessive vibration in the booth.
  • Monitors - They won't fit in your bag but if the venue has no booth monitors, then you may want them (I've played venues where the time delay from PA to booth prevents accurate beatmatching being an easy feat.
  • Camera - to document that full/empty dance floor for social media.
  • Cake - Thanks for reading Steve Akoi!
  • Any other stage props

What I've always wanted to bring to enhance ALL music