If you hire a DJ for wedding it is always worth checking with both the DJ and the Band about their thoughts and requirements on working alongside other artists of any form.
Most DJ’s and Bands should be happy sharing the limelight, but things like the amount of space available, when to set-up, who’ll be setting up where, set times and any logistics involved are certainly things to consider.
Set-up will depend on where you’d like the DJ and the Band to be.
I’d suggest that both the DJ and Band arrive at the same time and set-up together if they’re to set-up in the same part of the same room, so they can discuss and share the space available and access to power points etc upon arrival and before set-up commences.
Most Bands will quite naturally, and righty, want to take centre stage, with the DJ setting up to one side, but remember that they may only be doing one or two short (ish) sets and the DJ may be on for a much longer amount of time overall, so try to remember to give the DJ a good amount of room to set-up and work in, and to give enough room to allow for the set-up of a good light-show for you. I’m mentioning this as I have (on several occasions) been asked to set-up in a very small corner next to the Band even though as a DJ I’ve been playing for much longer and for a good few hours after the Band have finished and left. Bands will usually break down and leave as soon as they finish. This can often be half way through the evening and can leave the area where the Band & DJ area looking a bit strange, with the DJ set-up in a small corner and a big empty space where the Band was. It is not usually possible to move a Disco once it’s set-up.
If there is sufficient depth to the centre of the stage (from front to back) then having the DJ setting up in the middle at the back, with the Band in front of the DJ can sometimes be the best option all round, as the DJ will still be be in the centre after the Band finish and leave, often half way through the night! This is of course a factor which a DJ should be aware of and prepared for when setting up. Assuming there are not enough sockets for the DJ and the Band, then the DJ should have his own multi-adapter / extension leads plugged directly into the wall instead of one belonging to the Band. This will mean the Band can unplug their leads and leave without the need for the DJ to turn the music off and plug in again whilst he lets the Band take their leads away.
A good DJ should be very happy using his lighting and effects to enhance the atmosphere for you whilst your Band are playing too. Lighting and special effects (e.g. smoke) can really help create a magical atmosphere, and utilizing these lights and effects whilst the Band are playing would usually make perfect sense. Always try to establish that the DJ you’re hiring has lighting and effects and that he is happy using these whilst any other artists are on.
An experienced DJ will have worked with Bands (and Tribute Acts & Musicians of all kinds) on many previous occasions and should be happy to liaise with you (and with the Band direct) about the proposed start and finish times for their set(s). He should be happy to introduce them if they would like introducing (or to play any music or themed intro if they have one). He should also be ready to start his own music again whenever they finish their set(s), making sure that the entertainment is non-stop for you and your guests.
It’s worth mentioning that ‘set-times’ for Live performers often change on the night to ‘suit the moment’, and a longer or shorter than planned set often happens. Good eye contact (and a chat beforehand) will usually give the DJ a good idea of how to be ready for a “play one more” situation.
A good DJ should work with any timings given to him for ‘sets’- and also be very happy to adapt to any changes to these times if they happen, and they usually do!
It might sound very tempting and a good idea to save a little money by having the DJ set-up and start after your Band finish, as he “won’t really be needed til after the Band finish will he!”… but please bear in mind the logistics of this. If the DJ and Band are in the same room, then it is usually very advisable to have the DJ set up earlier than the actual “Disco Start Time” if he is to play after the Band. This means he’ll be ready to start as soon as the Band finish and you won’t be disturbed whilst he brings gear in and sets up, often in a non-existent space, and half way through the evening or whilst your Band are playing. Bringing gear in and setting up can disturb the atmosphere no end. It can also make a venue cold in Winter because doors need to be propped open, and the DJ may well need lights on in order to set-up too, which may well disturb any ambience.
Any extra ‘earlier set-up’ time at the beginning can usually be booked at a very realistic rate.
Other advantages are having the option of background music playing before your Band starts and in any breaks they have, and also having the Disco lighting on whilst the Band play.
If the Disco and Band are to set-up in a different room this won’t be an issue.