I’ve been involved in the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene for over a decade and in that time I’ve participated in a multitude of ways. Some jobs were better than others, and I want to share that knowledge with you. So, if you’re wondering how you can become more engaged in your local dance music culture that goes beyond attending shows and cutting a rug, here are some tips from yours truly!
Job #1: Door Girl
This was the very first position I held in the scene. The tips were great and I was able to spend the last 30 + minutes of each bar night dancing with my friends. Another bonus was that I now had free entry to the one and only club I ever wanted to go to and staff pricing on drinks, excellent! It was also a great way to meet promoters and DJs as they had to identify themselves as they walked into the club. I would highly recommend this gig to anyone hoping to meet others who are as dedicated to the scene as they are.
Awesomeness Scale: 7
Excellent way to meet people in the scene, although you may deal with some customer complaints about cost and have to wrangle with others attempting to appropriate deals.
Job #2: Coat Check
Now, back in the day when I worked coat check it was about $1 an item so tips were amazing! The coat check was also downstairs near the dance floor so I had more time to schmooze with friends and dance out front of my prison-like cubicle. This was one of my more entertaining jobs because I had the pleasure of watching intoxicated customers scatter their wallets’ contents all over my tabletop–condoms, drugs, pictures of their kids– as they looked for their tickets at the end of the night. I also had some enlightening conversations with patrons throughout the night and baffled them with my ability to read while the speakers vibrated. I would definitely recommend this position, however staying after the club closes and dealing with peeved off people who have misplaced their coat check tickets is no pony ride. Coat check is definitely not for the faint hearted.
Awesomeness Scale: 6.5
Although you may be warmer and inside, you often have to deal with customers giving you flack with a big-ol smile on your face.
Job #3: Festival Volunteer
The first volunteer position I acquired was being a stage dancer at a local summer festival called VEMF (Victoria Electronic Music Festival). I know this is not the best position for everyone but I would absolutely suggest volunteering at local events! It is a chance for you to get behind the scenes and be a part of something bigger than yourself. Plus, you get all access and can meet some really great people! There is nothing better than being able to go and do whatever you want!
Awesomeness Scale: 6
The perks that come along with it are pretty great, however you often work during the festival so you have to miss some of your favourite acts and you have to be a responsible partier.
Job #4: Promoter
After years of experience flyering for friends’ shows, and as my friend group began to include more DJs I realized it was time for me to be the one putting on a show. So many friends were trying to get a head start in the scene while others had made a name for themselves, so it was my turn to get involved and help them bring their talent to the thirsty ears of my hometown’s electronic music scene. Therefore, I decided to start my own promotion company and it was well worth it! I brought in talents like The Smalltown DJs, Dig-Dug, Dave Armstrong, Sir Kutztz, Alex Metric and Hatiras. However, after a few years of shows the stress of promotion and whether or not I would lose money was too much so I tapped out. Even though throwing my own shows was super fun, I often found I couldn’t enjoy them because I was running around dealing with issues at the door and trying to make sure my guests were comfortable. If you have money to risk, and/or have someone else’s money to risk I would definitely suggest this as an inviting way to be involved in the scene and ‘give back’ by providing others with an unforgettable night.
Awesomeness Scale: 6
Although it’s super fun to have complete creative control over who’s playing and what the experience will be like, the stress of it all can be a lot to handle for one person.
Job #5: Hired Festival Worker
After having years of experience working in the scene and getting to know others, I attained my first paid gig working for Tall Tree Music Festival. This was an amazing opportunity for me to combine my professional career (counsellor) and my familiarity with the electronic music scene. Another bonus: I was able to do most of my work before and after the party instead of during it. Some things that are a must when it comes to running your own festival crew are: (a) write your own schedules and speak with your volunteers so that they are happy with their time slots, that way people are less likely to ditch out, (b) make sure you have two other managers to run the show during the party, that way you are free to work as backup in case anything goes wrong and (c) make sure you meet with all of your volunteers personally so that they know what is expected of them and you can gauge their commitment levels–if they are not willing to meet they are likely not to commit during the party as well. This was hands down one of my favourite jobs and something I will attempt to do in the future if the opportunity arises.
Awesomeness Scale: 9.5
I absolutely loved this job! I had control over what things would look like and had the opportunity to work with some really amazing people and be a part of something really amazing.
Job #6: Writer
I have found that writing is a great way to express gratitude, connect with other music lovers, and also provide a platform on which you can meet inspiring artists. You may choose to start your own blog like my favourite dynamique duo Betty and Kora or you may choose to be a contributor like myself. One of the excellent things about being a contributor is that there is little pressure when it comes to how many articles you want to submit because you can write during your free time and submit each work as it appears to the appropriate blog (or whoever snags it first!). Also, you have a bit more freedom to write about different things if you contribute to different blogs as each seem to have their own twist on things.
Awesomeness Scale: 10
I can finally use my passion as a means of spreading information and joy to other like-minded souls. I can also do this on my own time so it is easy to fit into my schedule.
Job #7: Booking Agent
This is a position I have only dabbled in. It’s an excellent idea for those who have been working in the scene for a while because, as I found out, having a lot of connections can help you solidify bookings and/or point you in the right direction. Just like writing, it is something I can do on my own time instead of being required to be at a certain place at a certain time. I can’t provide my personal opinion on the awesomeness level of this position because I have just begun this new chapter.
Awesomeness Scale: To be determined!
No experience… yet!
Job #8: Photographer/Videographer
I am not a photographer/videographer but this is an excellent way some friends have been able to participate in the scene and interact with all sorts of people involved. Wait for my article on “What it’s like on the other side of the camera lense” for more details about this very important position. Some of the perks would definitely be the backstage access, the ability to mingle with artists and those who put events together, and of course you get to keep the pictures or videos! Also you can get paid to do something you love while often attending events for free! Check out my favs Xavier Walker, The Real Matt Love and Rebel Cause Films.
Awesomeness Scale: To be determined!
No experience… yet!
In what ways are you involved in the electronic music scene, other than being a DJ? What would you suggest? Feel free to contact me and/or comment on this post as I am interested in hearing your tips, tricks, and ideas!
WORDS: ❤ Kalisi #StayGenuine