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The powers at DJ Times wanted this year’s International DJ Expo to be bigger and better than ever. After all, in an industry that has seen conventions come and go, twenty years of Expos is something to celebrate.
By all accounts, they delivered.
Taking place at The Taj Mahal from August 16th-20th, The 2010 DJ Expo (dubbed “X20”) brought thousands of DJs to the boardwalk. This expo traditionally attracts everyone from world famous DJs to the bedroom hobbyist and this year was no different. You might have found yourself in the same elevator with DJ Jazzy Jeff or Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton. And where else can you witness a scintillating set by DJ Skribble in a lounge so small you could step up on the stage and see him mixing? (which many DJs did.)
Seminar-wise, X20 was solid. The education this year was sales intensive with Steve Moody and Jerry Bazata providing two awesome seminars on the subject. Jason Jani also led a seminar that was a personal favorite of mine. “The Brand of You” was a 90 minute talk that included everything from SEO to offering more exclusive upgrades. When Jason said “embrace the new media or you’ll quickly be a dinosaur and soon after be a fossil” it was as bold as statement as you’ll hear at a convention. He made his point and continues stamping himself as a rising star in the Mobile DJ Industry. The New Jersey Disc Jockey Network brought in Peter Merry to lead a seminar entitled “Make It Fun.” In my opinion there is no one better in this industry at MCing weddings (with that great God-given voice of his) and Merry showed off some of the unique things he’s done for couples through the years. It was one of those “you had to be there” seminars; if you were, you know what I mean. Another highlight of the education was a seminar I contributed to. Steve Moody put together what he called “All-Star Wedding Secrets Revealed.” To be on the same panel as Johnny K, Adam Weitz and Liz Daley (to name a few) was a dream for me and I can only hope I didn’t embarrass myself compared to all those heavy hitters.
DJ Times also prides itself on their showroom floor and indeed many of their attendees purchase “Exhibit Only” passes. This year, as you approached the Exhibit Hall you could feel the walls thumping. How the “quiet booths” like the ADJA can even carry on a conversation over all that music is beyond me. Troy Ackermann of DJ Event Planner was smart enough to take a booth far away from the fray. He might have been tougher to find but at least he could explain his fine product without a megaphone. But if you want thumping bass and flashing lights, DJ Times has the vendors just for you. When you can watch DJ Roonie G mix one of his incredible sets at the Denon booth space and then go compare similar products at the Pioneer exhibit, you know you’re at the DJ Expo.
The last piece of the puzzle at any good DJ Convention is the night time activities. After all we are not an industry of early birds. As the host of the Monday Night Mobile Party and the Wednesday Night DJ of the Year Competition it is hard for me to be unbiased about these events. So when I humbly say they were “amazing nights filled with more talent on one stage then you’ll ever find anywhere in the universe,” you my good reader, may think I am exaggerating just a bit. You might also disagree that my two dogs are the best looking canines God has ever created, but again, that’s where we’ll agree to disagree. I can report with no bias that this year’s winner of the coveted DJ of the Year competition is Philadelphia’s own Adam Weitz. His performance focused on how to entertain a crowd after you lose power. It was a bold move at a competition that features mostly games and dances, but Adam is an incredibly talented DJ and musician and he pulled it off. Congratulations Mr. Weitz and the entire crew from A Sharp Productions.
The one night that I can speak honestly and truly about (because I have nothing to do with and can’t even get a VIP Pass even though I’ve had multiple subscriptions to Promo Only for 13 year now . . . but I’m not bitter) is the Promo Only and Pioneer party that happens every year on the Tuesday night of the convention. With a jam packed line-up highlighted by Mike Posner, Kelly Rowland, Shaggy, Salt-N-Pepa and Judy Torres, the party went well into the wee hours of the morning. Way past this writers bed time. I can report first hand that Judy Torres still sounds amazing and that Shaggy is as entertaining in person as he is on record. Regarding the rest of the acts, I might suggest John Young find a younger reporter to fill in those details.
I attend a lot of DJ Expos and conventions. From the smaller regional ones (shameless plug: I’ve been booked to speak at Robbie Britton’s ARM DJs next June) to the larger national shows. I attend with an anticipation of wanting to learn and recharge my batteries simultaneously. Rarely am I let down which some might say makes me too easy to please. I prefer to think I am the type of person who looks for the good in any experience and more often than not finds it. With all that admitted to and upfront, I still feel this year’s DJ Expo (X20) in Atlantic City was a special week. The education was first class, the showroom floor was jam packed and the evening entertainment was star studded. DJ Times has led the way for this industry for 20 years, publishing a magazine that keeps us informed and producing shows that bring us all together. I honor The Disc Jockey News for even publishing an article that praises a rival publication in the industry and I thank DJ Times for helping us all become better DJs and business owners.