The Importance of Reading The Crowd

In my experience as a DJ, I have learned the importance of reading the crowd. At weddings, there are several age groups with various tastes in music, meaning a DJ should do their best to cater to each group or musical preference. When I see a group of 30-somethings out dancing, I know they will appreciate a few 90’s songs. Or when a few 50-somethings are sitting down drinking beer, some Eagles, CCR, or Hank Williams Jr. will usually do the trick. It is best to mix in popular music and keep a large variety if possible.

Do DJ’s Stereotype? – YES!

Tell-tale signs of a person’s appearance can also be key indicators when reading for musical preferences. From cowboy boots to hairstyles, you can usually get a good idea if they want country or rock-and-roll. Obviously, the best way to read the crowd is to take song requests because nobody likes to be stereotyped. As a professional private event DJ, I usually know what a person wants to hear, even if they don’t! The right crowd will be super surprised when a fire remix of Fast Car by Tracy Chapman comes on. They think, “Dang, I haven’t heard this in a minute.” Another lesson I’ve learned is when to play the original track; this can be tough and comes from tons of experience. Certain tracks should never be butchered with a re-drum, or you might seriously upset some guests, for example, Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks.

Sometimes it’s a bit tricky

The ability to read the crowd is tricky and can certainly decide whether you love your DJ or not. During one of my wedding events in St. Louis, I had a dance floor of girls aged 20’s and 30’s, and they wanted raunchy, vulgar rap music. It was starting to get late, but there were two gentlemen from the older generation who wanted to avoid hearing WAP by Cardi B or the like. The one guy was adamant about hearing Burnin’ Down the House by Talking Heads, so I mixed in a short edit and brought in Shake Ya Ass by Mystikal. Dancing girls are always a priority.