James Donnan

(07867) 508804

james@jamesdonnanmusic.co.uk

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions...

 

Tell us about yourself…

I'm a professional wedding and party DJ, based in Cheshire in the UK. I bring all my own sound and lighting equipment, and I play a wide range of music to suit all tastes.  I have full public liability insurance and all my equipment has regular electrical safety (PAT) tests - most function venues will insist on this. I have also had an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check - more recently called a DBS check.

 

What equipment do you use?

My regular equipment includes Shure microphones, Sony & Toshiba PCs, a Formula Sound mixer, and Yamaha DXR & DXS active speakers, with Plano and Martin Wizard DMX-controlled lighting. I carry spares of all critical equipment in case of emergency. I'm also happy to use any equipment installed in your chosen venue if it's appropriate.

 

Do I even need a DJ?!

Nowadays, most people own at least one device that can find and download virtually any piece of music ever recorded, and you can subscribe to one of several services that allow you to download music and set up long playlists. So it's perhaps only natural that people sometimes wonder whether to book a DJ for their occasion at all, suggesting that they could set up a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music to play the music instead.

 

Perhaps it'll surprise you if I suggest that in certain circumstances, this is a genuine option. It can certainly be a better option than a bad DJ! It might also suit you if you have a band playing for the majority of the evening, or if you only want background music throughout a more laid-back occasion.

 

But there are a few things you need to think about. Firstly, you'll need something to plug your device into.  Your venue may have a sound system, or a band may let you plug background music into theirs, although some may charge extra to do this.  You can hire audio and/or lighting equipment, but in many cases, this will cost as much as hiring a mobile DJ, who will provide all their own equipment and do all the work for you.  Secondly, a DJ will also act as your master of ceremonies, to make the occasion flow smoothly.  And thirdly, however well you know your family and friends, the five hours of music that you choose in advance for your playlist won't follow the progress of the evening as actively as a DJ can. They would be reading the occasion throughout, and constantly be considering the direction of their playlist based on requests and on their audience's reactions.  

 

So there are a few situations where using your own playlist can make sense... but aside from those, a DJ should add the value of their fee to your occasion, and if you're not sure that they will, then you might be considering the wrong one!

 

Can we see you working before we book you?

Much of my work is for private functions such as weddings and birthday parties, and for obvious reasons I can't invite you along to these. But I do play in public venues occasionally; to find out when my next publicly-accessible gig is, please contact me.

 

How far in advance should we contact you?

I would recommend getting in touch as early as you can, as I'm booked up well in advance of many dates.  I'm happy to put a provisional date in the diary for you and you can confirm it once your other arrangements are in place. On the other hand, perhaps you've been let down elsewhere and you're looking for someone at short notice - you're welcome to give me a try.  If I'm already booked, I should hopefully be able to recommend someone else.

 

Will you work alongside other entertainment?

Definitely - I love working with others. If you'd like to hire a band, ceremonial musicians, magicians, dance floor hire, a photo booth etc etc - please get in touch and let me know what you're looking for - I'll almost certainly be able to recommend someone.

 

How do we book you?

Firstly I need to check my diary and make sure I'm available for you, and give you a price. You can contact me any way you like for me to do that. After that, I'll always ask you to send me an email or text message to confirm your booking, and I'll reply to confirm the date is in my diary. This minimises the possibility of any misunderstandings, but if something needs to change unexpectedly, I will do my best to help. I'll always be in touch a week or two before the occasion for a final confirmation and to check timings.

 

How long do you need to set up / take down your equipment?

I usually need about an hour to set up and about 40 minutes to get out, but this can vary depending on the distance between the car parking and the function room. Please let me know in advance if timing is important and we can work out how best to do things.

 

Can we give you a playlist?!

Unlike some DJs, I love getting an idea of what music you like... but I always suggest splitting your list into two.  Firstly, choose a few songs (perhaps up to about 12) that you feel are your "must-have" songs. I'll definitely need to know things like your choice of first dance for a wedding reception, for example. After that, you can choose a second list as long as you like, and I'll pick as much from it as I can - and of course you and your guests can still come to me on the night and say "...please can you play this?!" Please discuss music choices with me before booking if you have any particular requirements.

 

Our chosen venue has a sound limiter; is this a problem?

Not to me. Sound limiters cut off the electrical supply if the maximum volume permitted by the venue's entertainment licence is exceeded.  Many entertainers refuse to work in venues with these devices, as they can be very unpredictable, and can damage our equipment.  All I ask is that you ensure that you're happy with the volume restriction at the venue before booking me, as this is completely out of my control.

 

How and when do we pay you?

For popular dates and/or for enquiries made well in advance, a small non-refundable deposit may be necessary to secure your booking. If this is the case, I'll let you know when you enquire. Whether a deposit is taken or not, I ask that the full balance is paid in cash or by bank transfer before I begin on the night. The main reason for this is that I don't like to disturb customers at the end of an occasion, as they may still be busy talking to their guests. If you wish to make alternative arrangements, this must be discussed and agreed between us at the time of booking.

 

Can you stay later if we're having fun?!

I am definitely not a "clock-watcher" who starts to pack up immediately a set time is reached, so please feel free to ask me! - but please bear in mind that it is usually the management at the venue who decide what time the music has to stop. 

 

How can we ask you another question?

If you have any questions not answered here, or you'd like to check my availability for a particular date, please get in touch.  I promise that I will reply to all emails and texts, or call you back if I miss your call and you leave me a message... even if I can't help you.  If you haven't had a response to your message within a day or two, it's likely that for some reason I didn't receive it. Please don't assume I just haven't bothered replying - try again!

 

 

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