When deciding on a solo performer, DJ, or both!
All the rage is about DJs these days! They can range from a typical DJ that keeps the ambience lively and atmosphere social to DJs that simply pull out all the stops and rock the house. Then you have the solo musician who may play guitar, or possibly piano, or may simply have a pre-recorded playlist but is still a great singer and can connect to your audience. Aside all the flair with awesome sound, lights, fog machines, lasers, light sticks, glowing shades and whatnot, each performer has their place in the wedding scene, the corporate event, and absolutely at private parties! Which one works the best? Well, I think there are a few factors to consider:
1. What type of event is it?
If it's a wedding, the solo performer could be perfect for the ceremony and/or the cocktail/dinner hour. I've actually played a few weddings where the main reception is being THE solo performer. It usually works best with a smaller audience, but, like Ed Sheeran, it only depends on your charisma and about 100,000 watts of sound equipment. DJs usually fill the bigger role when it comes to getting the dance floor packed.
In the case of a corporate event, solo performers are thought of as creating the atmosphere as one of mingling and socializing, but, again, I've had the time I could bust out the power ballads and rock the classics and make the solo performance the life of the party. DJs can fit the same role, but tend to be for the party side more often.
Now, private parties are where there are no boundaries! As long as the music is the right volume, looping on a guitar or mixing hot tunes will both make the grade.
2. How many people are showing up?
If you have 10-20, you can do both. If you have 1000-2000, you can do both. I have found that it's easier to keep a crowd being a DJ with a lot of people, but it's more fun an intimate playing for 40-50 people as a guitarist, singer, looper, beat-boxer, and entertainer.
3. What is the budget?
This is somewhat of a touchy subject, but is always important when deciding on your two choices. Usually the budget is dependent on the time involved for the performance, but hours aside, the real question is whether you are doing it for entertainment or ambience. Both suffice for setting the mood, and if so it can be considered inexpensive, but then again, it goes back to referring to the original two questions. More planning = more money. More people = more money. More bells and whistles = MORE MONEY! You really do get what you pay for!
So, which is it? In my opinion, if you want the full effect, you hire BOTH! A solo musician can liven the setting and people can still interact and be social, but a DJ can create the atmosphere and bring the house down. The next time you consider having the choice, choose both! You can experience the best of both worlds.