This post is an opt-ED by DJ Lee Burridge.
This is to anyone who’s ever asked for a guest list spot. However, at the same time, to no one in particular as I write.
I decided to write this after a Summer of being bombarded with guest list requests. I thought that it was time to share a few thoughts from the industry side of things. This I am writing, on behalf of artists, promoters, managers, and anyone else who works in the music industry. They shall henceforth be referred to as ‘we’ in regards to the (currently non-existent) etiquette of soliciting guest list spots.
Here are a few points that you might not have previously thought about, or, worse, really don’t care about. Try to remember there is a person on the other end of your request. This person also gets the same request from one to one thousand other people. I’m, sure they’d appreciate you (even more) if you at least considered the following before asking (again..and again…and again) that same weekend-centric question.
So, make yourself comfortable, pay attention, there will be questions (well, actually, comments) after…
Many events and venues have a limited capacity. However, all events and venues also have expenses. Because of this, it is important to realize that the guest list isn’t endless. While it may be possible to add you to the guest list, adding all of your friends and your entire social network isn’t actually possible. When you ask your contact, “Hey, could you add me to the list,” if you actually get a positive response please don’t then feel it’s ok to ask for additional
Additionally, as it’s usually Friday or Saturday that you send your request, the small talk is unnecessary. Feel free to skip asking, “Hi, how are you. What have you been up to?” In fact, that is actually a little bit annoying. For one thing, it is blatantly obvious that you weren’t just checking in to see if we are healthy. Remember, we have not heard from you since the last time we were in your city or you were at our party. I feel it really is far better to just get it over with right off the bat. ‘Hi. Would you be kind enough to put me on the list tonight? Hope you’re well‘ just saves us all time.
We all lead busy lives. Therefore, it is better to just google the address of the club or look online. Don’t ask us questions that are easily found with a quick search. We don’t always know if the venue has a dress code or if the event is 21+ only. However, I do personally do know what my set time is, so that is an OK question to ask. Although it is also worth checking out the other DJ’s playing. Most of them are pretty good too. It may be worthwhile to come earlier to check them out or to support the whole night, not just the main artist.
A guest list spot is an act of kindness on our part. A free gift. Just because we added you to a list once, that
Here’s a funny thing though, our closest friends actually rarely ask and are always more than happy to support. We love that about them. It’s usually us asking them if they want to be on the list. No offense but oftentimes, we barely know you. Perhaps we met once and exchanged a few words. Perhaps we messaged back and forth online about a track or a set. That’s cool! Most of us are fairly nice people and happy to chat about music or parties when we have time. We also like to listen to your experience and input too. Sometimes though, we need you to (happily) support the party and, therefore, the artists, promoter and/or night.
After kindly gifting guestlist places to many, many people over the years, please try to imagine how many people actually ask for a spot each weekend. It’s a lot. Try your hardest to resist asking each and every time to be on the list. Of course, if things are truly not going so well for you at this moment in your life and it’s really hard to actually afford to come along. I feel you deserve a guest list spot more than most. However, we always notice the same people continually asking.
Further to that, it would be really cool (and this is more from the promoter side of things) if you are told the list is full or closed, do not start calling and/or messaging anyone else to put you on that same guest list. We’ve seriously had bar staff, the cleaner, long lost friends, our parents and promoters from other countries still trying to add you, by asking us, after saying it wasn’t possible. Not cool man. Do you think we won’t notice?
At this point, it’s just annoying. If you’re that desperate to be on a list, you can just purchase a ticket. If we said no we really did say it for a valid reason. It’s an expensive and a lot of the time risky venture throwing events.
Support the event
Remember, it’s good to play your part in supporting the music scene. In fact, you can do that by buying a ticket. One of the elements that you should be willing and happy to pay for is a ticket to get into the party. Not only does it allow promoters to carry on booking great artists which provide you with a great night out but also allows them to eat, buy clothes, pay their bills.
I wrote and rewrote these words over the past few months after Summer. This is because someone had probably asked me for
When DJ’s play for promoters they might get two free spots or they might get ten. Try to remember that they don’t get infinity. So, you plus one is, maybe, OK. You plus six is not. I’m lucky enough to be able to do this but rarely ask to be on the guest list. I like to support my own scene. If I am offered or given entry to a party I never ask for more than plus one. Maybe it’s just me but I’d rather pay for the rest of my friends and support the promoter. After all, they are risking their own money to put on the event. I would rather support them than spend hours trying to figure out how to get in for free.
Lastly, when you’re added, you really should try to actually turn up.
Finally, to everyone else out there who are always happy to contribute and those who really do appreciate being on the list (but don’t abuse that privilege or expect it, ever), I/we thank you from the bottom of our heart(s).
I really, really love a crowd in the DJ booth. However, the music really does sound better on the dance floor. Backstage is a great place to visit for a little bit but don’t miss the party. It’s out in front of the speakers.
This was a guest post by Lee Burridge.