DJ Alex Gutierrez ,Founder South Florida DJ Association Miami, Florida
It’s been 2 months, give or take, but to most DJs in the South Florida DJ Association it feels like 2 years since we played our last song in front of a real crowd. Many have been struggling with Facebook Live trying to connect with their audiences , but usually end up being blocked after 30 minutes . Elaborate Disclaimers abound , but are useless. No one saw this coming . Most full time DJs have no other source of income , and in a normal situation if gigs dry up you could always find a part time somewhere, but not now.
The guidelines are posted and available here Florida Guidlines . Bars and Nightclubs still can’t open and DJs are hurting badly. Dancing and large congregations on dance floors are prohibited . Bars are closing and the ones that are still open are re- evaluating on how they will hire entertainment in the future. on a posotive note, Dj entertainment will be a more affordable option , but Live acts will suffer as many stages are too small to allow for Social Distancing guidelines. Performers and gig workers appear to be on the bottom of the totem pole .Policy makers need to recognize that the nightlife industry is a livelihood for many. Meanwhile , desperate , Full time DJ / Entertainers that have enjoyed a steady income for many years are now scratching their heads , many going Live on Facebook ,asking for donations as their only source of generating some income.
According to one jock who Live Streams ( he did not want to be identified ) ” Most people send me about $5 , I make a total of about $30 to $45 on a half hour session. I don’t like to ask , I’m embarrassed , but I have no choice. At this point , I’ll take anything I can get. The $1200 from the government was a life saver , but it’s gone now. At the beginning of the year I had 2 to 3 steady gigs a week , now. nothing , with no hope in sight ”
Is the ” clubbing / bar ” public ready to go out again? Of course they are , but how safe do they feel interacting with other people they’ve been told to avoid for the last few months? The majority of the public seem to share health expert’s concerns. Once the restrictions are lifted and places begin to reopen, 71% of U.S. adults say they want to “wait to see what happens with the coronavirus before resuming” normal activities, 20% say they would go back to their normal lives right away , a 10% would wait indefinitely.
Legends of Vinyl , Hall of Fame DJ & Club owner Jimmie Elias , known to his friends as ” Jimmie E ” with two venues in South Florida describes his vision for the future of nightlife.
” One of the reasons we’ve been in business for over 50 years is the ability to adapt. This is no exception , and we’ve been working for the last month on both our venues to deliver a safe and clean environment for our clients. Of course we’re going to have to do things differently than before. ” says Elias , as I met with him during his remodeling at one of his locations “We are looking forward to showcasing South Florida’s finest DJs and acts , that have made The Club at Renaissance a South Florida entertainment landmark ,once we get the green light from local and state officials. We want to be an example and innovate ways that customers can enjoy themselves in a nightclub setting under these new guidelines. We are working very hard to accomplish this as soon as possible . Our customers are like family, and we’re going to take care of them ”
DJ Jessica Lam comments on the restrictions placed on our industry at the moment.
” I know this is tough news for us. But these are difficult times and we have to take the proper precautions to prevent the spread of disease. This Pandemic has taken 100’s of thousands of lives. I know we may think it wouldn’t happen to us, but it can and it will if we’re not cautious. In places around the world that they allowed bars and clubs to reopen, there has been a spike in cases of COVID 19. Reopening the world has to be slow and mindful. Tough news for us, but the world has changed and the new normal will change. Be patient; be creative; reinvent yourselves”
It is essential for the DJs to stay connected to their audiences during this difficult time. Facebook and Instagram postings remind your followers , that you are still there. Facebook Live Mixing is a hit or miss and not legal. Mixcloud has introduced a new paid service that allows DJs to go Live , legally. Communicate with the venues that give you work on a regular basis. Ask if there is anything you can do to help them , they’ve supported you , now it’s your turn. We all want to get back to work , once things open up I anticipate the competition will be fierce . Gigs will be ” Gold” and DJs will be more aggressive than ever to secure them.
DJ Alex Gutierrez on Facebook and at www.sfdja.com