DJ Mineh Ishida

My First West Coast Swing Event – DJ Katie Fallon

Dj Katie Fallon

Dj Katie Fallon preparing for her debut at the Michigan Classic 2012

By DJ Katie Fallon

A little over a week ago in Romulus, Michigan, I got the chance to play music at a west coast swing event called the Michigan Classic as a staff DJ. Not only was it an amazing experience because the entire weekend was full of wonderful things and energy, but it was my first time being hired as an event DJ; My eternal thanks given to Doug and Lori Rousar for giving me the opportunity. Playing west coast swing music for an event differs greatly from playing for a local dance, which is what I was used to. For the past year, I have been DJing for Swustle Swednesday, a weekly dance that Doug and Lori Rousar, and DJ Mineh (Mineh Ishida) had created. I was given my first opportunity to play when Mineh moved to Florida and made me the house DJ in his place. Proving myself through constantly improving my DJing skills at a local dance, Doug Rousar believed that I had what it took to be a staff DJ at his event. My hard work paid off for I was hired Michigan Classic 2012!

Most of us that play west coast swing music at our local dances are solely responsible for the music that is played. At an event most of the time this is not the case! At Michigan Classic, I shared the booth with seven other DJs. If you get into this situation, use it to your advantage! One way would be to ask the experienced DJs questions. Most DJs are open to giving advice, they want to you succeed as well. If you unsure of what song to play next for the competition, bounce ideas off another DJ Victor Loveira, who was the head DJ at the Michigan Classic, offered me guidance for my song selections for the threesome competition. We came up with the Party Rock Anthem for a final song that was a crazy fun way to end the competition. Sometimes two or more heads are better than one.

Review your DJ schedule a week or so ahead of the event so you are familiar with what you are DJing. Once you know, have an idea of what you’re going to be playing so you are not scrambling around beforehand. An example to prepare is to make labeled playlists! Remember that your goal is create the best music experience possible for your crowd.

Every DJ wants to known for playing the latest and greatest songs but you don’t want to be the third person to play the same hot new song in the past 2 hours. If you’re going to start djing for social dancing, check out the set list of the previous DJ so that doesn’t happen. There are tons of great songs out in music world and people love when you bring back songs that used to popular but are still good.

One thing that I learned that both Victor Loveira and Ruby Lair mentioned and is engraved in my brain now is, you want INSPIRE the dancers to keep their feet moving from the Thursday night pre-party till Sunday at 5pm. Variety is one way to ensure that you are working to inspire dancers from all ages and different locations.

Lastly, always read your crowd! Pay attention to why people are sitting. Maybe they’re tired of the slower songs and are waiting for you to kick the tempo up a notch, or ready for some blues as opposed to contemporary.

Good luck to all aspiring event DJs! Hopefully this information helps you so that you are a little more prepared than I was for my first event! If you should have the opportunity to play an event, remember that experience is where you learn the most.

About The Author

“Katie Fallon is a west coast swing DJ located in Cleveland, OH. This is where her love of dancing took root in 2010. She tried many different types of dance, but nothing stuck as much as West Coast Swing. Soon after, local DJ Mineh Ishida recognized her talent for listening and playing music and introduced her to the world of DJing. When he moved away in 2012, she was hand picked to be the new house DJ for Swustle Swednesdays, the local dance hosted by Doug Rousar.

Katie plays west coast swing and hustle music weekly at Swustle Swednesdays in Akron and monthly for the Cleveland Akron Swing and Hustle Club. She loves that DJing connects her love of music and dancing together to provide a fun experience for others. Ultimately Katie’s goal is to inspire people as much as possible to keep them dancing. Michigan Classic 2012 was her official debut as a West Coast Swing DJ in the circuit and it surely won’t be her last! ”

  • Victor Loveira

    You were AMAZING!!!