While you have many tough choices to make when planning an event, we’ve got just the thing to make your band or DJ decision easy. We’ve taken the liberty of weighing your options for you to help you find the perfect musical entertainment for your occasion. Let’s dig in!
Band or DJ: Consider the 3 V’s
When choosing between a band or DJ for an event, it is important to consider the 3 V’s: vibe, variables, and venue:
1. Vibe: What atmosphere do you want to create?
Is it a chic cocktail hour for millennials? A classic, stately gala for your top donors? Creating the vibe is all about knowing your audience and what will make them smile and stay awhile. And while you do want to pick a band or DJ that is a crowd-pleaser, take care not to be too predictable. You’d be surprised how many people actually like to be taken out of their comfort zone for a couple of hours.
For example, when we plan Molestice, our annual (pre-COVID) block party + music festival for the summer solstice, we book all kinds of music from bluegrass to hip-hop. The crowd loves it.
On the flip side, the wide selection of music DJs have at their fingertips can make for a more familiar sound at your event when compared to live music. This way, you can cater to all your attendees’ music tastes to ensure everyone makes it out on the dance floor to whatever song makes their feet move.
However, while DJs can play the hits your attendees will recognize, they won’t necessarily bring a different musical style to the table to provide that wow factor. That’s because DJs typically play the original versions of songs while local bands for hire can deliver different renditions in unique styles.
2. Variables: Consider your budget and program.
Let’s start with budget. The reality is that most events have budgets that typically dictate many of the decisions made during the process of planning. A significant factor to consider when deciding between a band or DJ is cost. If price is a large factor for you, a DJ may be better suited to your needs, as DJs tend to cost less than local bands for hire.
However, Mole Street Artists has plenty of smaller live acts on our roster, like jazz trios and solo acoustic artists, all of whom are reasonably priced.
Next, you want to account for your program. Do you have an awards ceremony as part of your schedule? If so, consider hiring a live band for your event to usher award-winners, your host and presenters to the stage. Transitioning between the different portions of your program should be well-planned in order to make the event feel cohesive. A DJ may not be able to make these musical transitions feel as smooth.
DJs are great for your late night crowd, cocktail hour and dancing. A DJ is also a great option when there is action in multiple rooms at your event, like the veranda and VIP lounge.
3. Venue: What kind of a space are you working with?
If you have a small space, forget the huge setup that local bands for hire may require with multiple people, instruments, and amps. Consider a DJ or a solo artist, duo, or trio. These entertainers can set up in small quarters, which maximizes the event space and flow.
In fact, a DJ’s sound system, equipment and table are adaptable to any sort of venue big or small. Wherever your event may be taking place (e.g., in a hotel ballroom, private restaurant dining room or even your own backyard), you don’t have to worry about your DJ’s setup fitting into the space.
When you do have a large space to fill, consider renting a stage and hiring a 5+ piece band, especially if they are gong to be a big part of the “show” element of your event. Another option for a large space is an epic dance floor with a charismatic DJ at the helm.
At Mole Street Artists, our DJs are always the life of the party! Whether it be DJ Ben Arsenal or DJ Sabeel Chohan, they always bring their outstanding energy to every event to keep the crowd on their feet all night long. All of our DJs are experienced professionals who know exactly how to curate the perfect sound to accommodate any size venue.
And for those surprise elements, consider the way your attendees will journey through your space. Perhaps you book a string quartet to court your attendees as they enter the lobby of your venue. And as they exit the dance party, consider a drum line or trumpet line to send them home smiling.
Band or DJ: In Conclusion
If you’re still puzzled or unsure of whether to go with a band or DJ for you event, don’t fret. Get in touch with our booking agent, Sean Timmons, to find the perfect musical match for your 3 V’s — and click around to learn about our local bands for hire, like Blues Junior, the York Street Hustle, the Hoppin’ John Orchestra, and the Sermon!. We’ve also got some of the area’s hottest DJs, like DJ Oluwafemi, DJ Ben Arsenal and DJ Hurricane LaRue.
Originally published June 6, 2016, updated May 24, 2021