I remember back in 1999 being invited down to Atlanta to a new DJ event hosted by the local association called DJ3. I hopped on a plane with a few other colleagues and headed down there excited with no idea what to expect. The only DJ show experience I had previous was DJ Times in Atlantic City and Mobile Beat in Las Vegas. Large scale DJ shows set up in a traditional convention configuration. What I experienced was very different.
This show had about 100 DJs. The content was more detailed and presented to as a small classroom in a intimate atmosphere. I’ll never forget going out to dinner with about 40 DJs and discussing how the DJ business was different in Georgia, Florida and even Alabama vs what I knew from Connecticut and New England. Man, things were so different that it made my head spin. Try to imagine a time before the internet and Facebook. You couldn’t just chat with DJs from around the world at anytime. Hard to fathom for many of you, I’m sure? Needless to say DJ3 opened my eyes to many new elements of my business and introduced me to many DJs I had never known previous. It was well worth my trip!
Then in 2004 I made the trip to Kentucky in order to see a very well reviewed regional show called Mid-America. This was the ultimate and what I consider the first annual regional DJ show. I was told that I would love the content at Mid-America as compared to the much faster pace large scale seminars at DJ Times. I got off the plane and ran to the hotel, just making it in time for the keynote presentation. It was smaller, intimate, targeted and personalized information with about 125 attendees and many industry heavy hitters. I loved every minute of the event. We even had the opportunity to present our very first DJ Idea Sharing outside of the New England region. It was a total thrill to do so!
Another activity that I couldn’t wait for was a trip down the Mississippi River on the Belle of Louisville. A authentic paddleboat ship and a signature after-hour activity of the Mid-America conference.
As time moved on I discovered other DJ events all over the country. Workshops, DJ Cruises and of course regional events. It seemed though that many of these great local events would start up but soon dissolve due to the lack of profitability. The event just couldn’t support the necessary budget in order to sustain itself and become a annual event. Until……
ARMDJS (Appalachian Regional Mobile Disc Jockey Symposium) created by Robbie Britton finally became the first Regional DJ Show to make it as a annual event. The show became a favorite with many, even those not in the Tennessee Valley and is now on its 12th successful year! Many who have attended will simply tell you it’s just a different type of personal education not present at the BIG conventions.
This brings me to present day. I speak from experience having started up the Lighting Symposium in 2013 that it’s not easy and a lot of hard work. Midwest DJ, ARMSDJ and now the Mobile DJ Meetup are all great regional events that bring the BIG show mentality to a small classroom style event. With the industry in a period of consolidation, example: Photo Booth Expo purchasing Mobile Beat and DJ Times pushing to remain relevant in a digital world will these regional events thrive or just fade away?
The way I see things, Facebook can only provide so much information and education. DJs don’t always have the time or patience to travel to Atlantic City or Vegas so there seems to be a niche’ for a regional show. As long as it is of quality and make it worth the attendee’s time and investment. If you have only participated in a large scale show I would highly recommend trying a regional event! Just dive into that personal education!
To Our Success! – Mike