DJ Red Flags To Avoid!

November 2, 2021
Written by
Buster Bennett
DJ Red Flags To Avoid!

Avoid These DJ Red Flags & Secure Your Reputation!

One of the biggest mistakes new DJs make is not being reliable, cancelling gigs or being late. It’s vitally important that new DJs realise how important it is to be reliable and professional at all times. Your DJ career is built on your reputation and you have to protect it at all costs.

Many new DJs simply don’t realise how word travels in the industry. If I promoter is let down by a DJ not being punctual or professional in any way they will let their promoter friends know about it. As a result DJs will be shadow banned and see their bookings disappear.

It's important for all new DJs to learn the skills (click here for our DJ courses) and avoid these red flags!

Know Your Gatekeepers!


People who work behind the scenes in the industry control more than you know. DJ acts often come and go as their popularity wanes but the longevity of promoters or bookers will often outlast them all. These people are known as industry ‘gatekeepers’ and to a large extend they control who does and doesn’t make it in the industry. 

You should be professional at all times with everyone in the music industry but especially with gatekeepers. It's not wise to bite the hand that feeds! Be a reliable DJ for these people and the bookings will come time and time again. One hand washes the other so make their job easy and they will return the favour.

DJ Red Flags DJs Should Avoid

These are the things that negatively affect your reputation as a DJ.

Cancelling Gigs

Cancelling gigs close to the event after promotion has started and artwork is made is a bad move. Once you’re on a flyer and in a promoters marketing plan it’s a lot of hassle for them to replace you. If you pull out at this stage it will have a negative impact on the whole event and the other acts. Avoid this at all costs and only cancel when it’s something of the utmost importance. Many promoters will actually have cancellation clauses in their contracts to protect the interests of their company so you also need to read the fine print. 

Being Late For Gigs

If you’re late for a gig the promoter will always remember it and rarely book you again. Make sure you’re there early and you communicate with the promoter. Read and reply to messages as they come in and be contactable on the night. Plan ahead and make ample time in your travel arrangements. 

Coming and Going

If you show up and just play your set and then go straight home again this will be frowned upon. Promoting events requires that everyone who is involved supports the event and helps add to the party atmosphere. Support the acts, have fun and be part of the community.

Doesn’t Promote

The event business, and therefore the DJ business, relies on people buying tickets to events and that in turn relies on promotion. As a DJ you’re expected to promote your gig to your fan base. Failure to do so will make the booker unhappy and they might not book you again. Get involved in the promotion of the event, share content, hype up your fans and engage with the promoters content.

Doesn’t Read The Crowd

No matter what genre of music you’ve been booked to play you’ll still need to read the crowds reaction to your track selections and adjust it accordingly if you feel like the music is wrong. Promoters want someone who is professional enough and competent enough within their music scene to play the right tracks to suit different crowds at different times of the night. 

Doesn’t Understand The Equipment

Promoters will expect a DJ to know everything about the equipment and be able to handle themselves in a professional DJ booth. If you don’t know about your DJ equipment you should’t be in the booth! Go and learn the skills before you put your reputation on the line with embarrassing mistakes. 

Getting Intoxicated

DJing is a job and you’re expected to maintain a professional decorum throughout your time at ‘work’ Sure you get some free drinks and the promoter will make sure you have a good time but don’t take it too far. Don’t get messy. Remember, you’re being filmed at all times nowadays and a promoter doesn’t want to see you on social media making a bad name for their event. 

Plays The Headliners Tracks

If you're playing at an event with a headliner you have to avoid playing their music. Do not play the headliners tracks or remixes, make sure you leave that to them! You also need to make sure that you warm up the room so that the headliner can provide the peak moment of the night. Don't peak the energy levels too soon as this will have a negative effect on the running of the night and the management of the crowds energy levels.

Being Impolite

Be polite, it doesn’t cost anything. Be humble, courteous and kind at all times and in all dealing with people at every level of the music business. Treat people how you would like to be treated and make the industry a better place. Rude artists will always be shutdown! 

Invites Trouble Makers 

Sometimes a DJ might bring some trouble-making friends. They will be tied to your own reputation so if they let you down you’re letting yourself down. Don’t invite people to the party who might cause trouble and make sure your guests also behave themselves how you would want to behave. 

Doesn’t Know How To Switch Between DJs

Many new DJs (unless they have taken our DJ course!) might not know how to effectively switch between the previous DJ and their set. Many mistakes can happen at this most critical time. Make sure you read this blog about the worst DJ mistakes to avoid when switching between DJs. 

Click here to find out what the biggest mistakes are when switching between DJs.

Bugs the Promoter 

Running an event is super stressful. Make sure you make the promoters life easier but not bugging them for last minute guest list after the guest list is shut, not trying to get friends past security when they have already declined them in general not making their life harder! 

Remember Life Just Gets In The Way Sometimes

Of course, there are moments when life just gets in the way but in the events business it is important to make sure you stick to commitments where humanly possible. You do need to find the right balance of being reliable and also looking out for number one. Make sure you stay healthy and in control of your schedule and your life and that will have a positive impact for your DJ career. Most DJs who are making these mistakes often have no control over their schedule and no system for managing their time. Make sure you’re not one of them and create a system that allows you to manage your gigs, tours, practice and production. 

Click here if you'd like to find out more about our DJ courses and DJ opportunities to play in clubs like Ministry of Sound!

View our coursesView MORE posts