If you're wondering how to get booked to DJ at festivals, or how to land a DJ slot at a festival, then you're in the right place.
You can apply to play as a DJ for festivals pretty much all year round. Plus - there's just about always something you can be doing to maximise your chances of bagging that dream DJ set at Tomorrowland, Glastonbury or Boomtown. We've compiled some handy tips on how to get booked to DJ at festivals below.
8 tips on getting booked to DJ at festivals
1. Have a USP or try to be excellent in your field
If you're wondering how to get a DJ set at Love Saves The Day, Parklife or Creamfields then you should already know your strengths and weaknesses - whether that's your preferred genre or techniques - for instance, are you using a laptop, CDJs or going vinyl only?
It's important to find your style and tailor it to your benefit if you want to become a festival DJ - capitalize on your strengths and show off your best assets. Don't be deterred if you don't hear back or take a few rejections, keep building and growing and eventually you'll start capturing attention in the right places.
2. Invest in the best gear your budget will allow
It always pays dividends to invest in the best gear you can, depending on your budget and needs. If you've got a professional setup then you're more likely to get booked as a DJ for the big festivals.
There's nothing worse than having to rely on other people's gear as ultimately familiarity and comfort shouldn't be compromised. Here at PMT, we have a terrific range of decks, mixers, controllers, speakers and headphones for all your needs.
If you're unsure about what's best for your setup then you can call into your nearest PMT or speak to one of our experts over the phone. Check out the award-winning Roland DJ-505 DJ Controller we've highlighted below: a two-channel, four-deck Serato DJ controller giving you fantastic control.
3. Ensure your social media channels are on point
It might sound like a cliche but your online presence is your shop window for festival bookers. So if you're wondering how to become a festival DJ then you should really consider this point.
Try not to obsess over your followers or likes as this isn't everything - your aesthetic and sound should speak for itself - just make sure you have decent press shots and are easily findable. Update your bio to say currently taking bookings as this will quickly alert festival bookers that you're available.
It's also a good idea to be as active on your channels - post about all the awesome stuff you're doing as this will be the first thing potential festival bookers will see. If you have a strong easy to find showreel of your performances this will quickly prove to bookers that you can get the job done in the live setting.
4. Make sure your tracks and mixes are the best they can be
Have a striking playlist of mixes or tracks available through your SoundCloud and YouTube channels - ideally have a few different styles to tailor to different festivals. You're often only as good as your last mix or track so keep creating to the best of your ability - this will be immensely helpful when you end up submitting to DJ festivals.
Also do everything you can to notch up those play counts, share with friends, fellow DJ's and even artists you admire on Twitter or Facebook. You've got to assume that festival bookers will be looking at your most recent work and if you're not active then it won't bode well.
5. How to get booked to DJ festivals? Start small before thinking big
It's unlikely you're going to get that dream slot at a festival with national or global acclaim straight away. First of all focus on targeting local and inner-city festivals near you. Most festival websites will have contact details where you can approach them.
Be clear with what you're offering and asking for. There's no point dropping an email without links to your work. You need to stand out in a crowded inbox so be clear, concise and know what makes you different and what you're offering.
It's likely a lot of the bookers at these will know other industry figures so if you make a good account of yourself and pull off a great set - it will be remembered and noted. It's also good to have a solid base of previous DJ festival slot appearances for your press release and portfolio.
6. Approach booking agents
You should be able to do most of the leg-work yourself and in a DIY fashion initially but eventually you might want to start approaching booking agents, especially those who specialise in booking DJs for festivals.
This will help take your operation into a professional sphere and you'll be able to let them do the hard work and use their contacts to get you booked. More successful gigs can only mean an increased profile and a wider audience so this is really an option to consider.
7. Value yourself but be prepared to compromise
Be prepared to buy festival tickets or work for your ticket if it's more likely to get you a set at the festival. Even if that's playing in a tiny tent to five people. You might have to compromise at first but this can be a great way of building your portfolio of appearances.
A lot of festival areas are segmented and ran by lots of different companies and groups - which means if you meet the right people and make a good impression then you're more than likely to be invited back next year. Make contacts, use them and keep them. See the festival itself as a bit of a networking event and get chatting to people - there's nothing to lose.
8. Be aware that there's no quick and easy answer on how to get booked to DJ at festivals
There's no magic answer or guaranteed method on how to get booked to DJ at festivals, or land a DJ slot at a festival -but you just need to be as proactive as possible.
If you took a cross-section of professional DJ's - you're likely to find that they all ended up on their first festival bill in a variety of ways. Just follow our tips above and hopefully it won't be long before you're DJing at your favourite festival and packing out venues.
Summary: How to get booked to DJ at festivals
- Have a USP or be excellent in your field
- Invest in the best gear your budget will allow
- Ensure your social media channels are on point
- Make sure your tracks and mixes are the best they can be
- Start small before thinking big
- Approach booking agents
- Value yourself but be prepared to compromise
- Be aware that there's no quick and easy answer
In a nutshell, the best way to land a DJ slot in a festival is to be as proactive as possible and push your profile, whether that's playing live, networking, approaching festivals or portraying a professional account of yourself through social media. Make tracks and mixes to the best of your ability and consider having a unique angle. Take as many opportunities as you can. Hopefully, we'll be seeing you on the lineup for Glastonbury's Arcadia before long!
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