FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM MARCH 2010
The powers that be at Mobile Beat dubbed this year’s annual DJ Conference in Las Vegas: MBLVX – Turn It Up To Eleven!
When I saw that I immediately understood the “Spinal Tap” reference although I had to wonder why they wouldn’t have shelved the idea one more year to 2011. But I’m sure they’ll have an equally awesome theme next year.
So I attended this convention, ready to soak it all in. Ready to “Turn Up,” as they promised “My Business…My Professionalism…My MBLVX Experience.” I touched down in Sin City with a “bring it on attitude.”
And I can tell you with very few exceptions, my expectations were met. MBLVX 2010 was a solid success for Mobile Beat and all the mobile DJs who attended.
Monday night Mobile Beat began it’s week with a “Tribute to Soul Train.” Hosted by John Rozz (with co-hosting duties handled by yours truly) the evening featured some cool lines dances lead by some of the nations top mobile DJ entertainers. Marcello and Darryl Jacobsen represented New Jersey, Keith Alan and Big Daddy brought their skills from Connecticut, and more locally, Las Vegas’ own Jodi Harris rocked the floor as well. The night ended with a great set laid down by DJ Toad. We may have celebrated 70s Funk and R&B, but the night had timeless energy to it!
DAY ONE – TUESDAY FEBRUARY 9TH:
Mobile Beat has ironed out some of the confusion regarding their Hall of Fame and this year they returned to the tradition of kicking off their convention by inducting two new members. I am biased because both of the 2010 inductees are friends of mine but I have to say they are very deserving of the honor. They have each had incredible individual successes, plus they have had a profound impact on our whole industry. My congratulations to John Rozz and also to Karl Detken.
After the inductions, it was time to kick off the seminars. As usual Mobile Beat front loads their convention with seminars on day one, mainly because the showroom floor is not open yet. So Tuesday got started with a seminar on “Passion” presented by Gerry Siracusa and Sean “Big Daddy” McKee. It’s a great motivational seminar that set the tone for a week of learning and getting motivated. But Mobile Beat didn’t stop trying to get the attendees to a frenzy. Kent Julian was up next with his presentation “Live (and Earn) It Forward.” Mr. Julian said he doesn’t like to be called a “motivational speaker,” yet his seminar was very motivational and inspirational.
With the juices flowing, it was time now for some substance!
And when it comes to substance, no one working the speaking circuit these days delivers more than Mr. Andy Ebon. Andy can speak intellectually on every topic from Search Engine Optimization to any of the new social media outlets. This year his day one seminar was about bridal shows. As always Andy’s hour was content-rich and smoothly presented. As a seminar speaker, I watch guys like Andy and realize how far I have to go as a public speaker.
New Hall of Fame inductee John Rozz was up next with a seminar that was half about longevity and half a demonstration of some cool games. John is more comfortable doing the games than he is talking in a seminar format so once he got the interactive part underway he really hit stride.
I attended the ADJA’s Annual Meeting and though I would’ve liked to see a smoother and more dynamic meeting from one of the nation’s leading DJ Associations, I was very happy to see Ron Brown win the Peter Merry leadership award and The Charlotte Chapter be named Chapter of the Year. Both very deserving winners.
Tuesday night Mobile Beat has traditionally treated its attendees to some live music and this year Coolio and The Sugar Hill Gang were up on the stage. I was able to sit through Coolio’s set but didn’t hang in there for the Sugar Hill Gang which I understand was a mistake. I appreciate Mobile Beat’s attempt at thinking outside the box when it comes to the evening entertainment but I for one have had enough of being cursed at by over-the-hill hip-hop artists.
DAY TWO – WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 10TH
Day Two is always the day that the showroom floors opens. I attended a few of the morning seminars but my mind was more focused on the exhibitors. I’ve been attending DJ Expos for over 15 years now but I still enjoy walking the exhibit floor and seeing all the new toys that are available for our industry. When the clock struck noon and the floor was opened I was like a kid in a candy store.
The ADJA booth is the first thing you see as you enter the floor. What great positioning for Dr Drax. Mobile Beat is smart enough to have a quiet section and a loud room. In the quiet section I got to check out everything from a great open air photo booth to a temporary tattoo station. In the loud room, well what can I say? If you’ve ever been to a DJ Expo you know. Speakers, lights, lazers, you name it. So many great exhibits are attacking your every sense that it becomes overwhelming.
It seemed like a smaller showroom floor this year than last, but that’s not to say unimpressive. Mobile Beat fills the floor with great manufacturers who are doing everything they can to cater to our industry. I appreciate that and I support those vendors as much as I can (just like I believe we all should.)
DAY THREE THURSDAY FEBRUARY 11TH
There were two seminars on Thursday that I wanted to see but they were concurrent so I had to choose. I missed Andy Ebon (I’d seen him present twice already that week so I figured I could afford to) and decided to check out “90 Minutes in Heaven – a True Story of Death and Life” presented by Don Piper. I’m not sorry I made that choice.
Mobile Beat ends their show with a ton of giveaways so I made sure I was on the expo floor at 5pm. Unfortunately I never heard my name. But despite that fact I felt like a winner. MBLVX was a great success and well worth attending. Not to mention that while I was in Las Vegas, New Jersey got a foot of snow. I didn’t miss that!
I had the chance to speak to some of the vendors on the showroom floor. I think these people have a true sense of the quality of a DJ Convention, much like you can evaluate a bridal show by standing in your booth all afternoon.
Dr Drax, ADJA President, said he expected to sign-up 200 new members at the show. I asked him if it was a good show for him and he effused, “it’s Mobile Beat, it’s Vegas baby!” John Rozz said it was a great week. “I wish I could have seen more,” he told me, “but I’ve been strapped to my booth.” From the business John was doing though I’m sure he didn’t regret his decision. John was promoting his new book “Learning Icebreakers” and he told he had signed, “A LOT of autographs.” And when I asked Ray Martinez if he was having a good time he said, “how could I not with all my friends around?” If you know Raymar you know how sincere that statement is.
Andy Ebon offered me perhaps the most thoughtful feedback. ““I have made many presentations at Mobile Beat conferences,” he told me, “and I’m always enthused about the disc jockeys and business owners that strive to make continual improvements in both their entertainment and business skills. Now that I’m publishing marketing books and DVDs, it also made sense to be an exhibitor. Mobile Beat 2010 was successful and gratifying for me. Every mobile DJ should commit to attend, every year.
BEST MOMENTS OF THE WEEK
Marcello Pedalino and I usually fly home together from Las Vegas and one of the topics of conversation inevitably becomes sharing our favorite moments from the week. I’m sure if check out Marcello’s blog you can read his (http://mmpentertainmentblog.com/)
Here are mine:
Fitness Walks. Marcello and I led them all week. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We started with over 20 DJs. And even though the group had dwindled to about a dozen by Thursday, I was still thrilled to be a part of this unique networking/healthy exercise (pun intended.) Someone mentioned that Marcello and I were becoming known as the “fitness guys.” If I’m going to be “pigeon-holed” in this industry, that’s a pretty good thing to be known for.
Networking. A friend of mine sent me a text message during the opening day seminars. He wrote that the live internet stream from the show was horrible (he used a different word.) My first thought was, “why would they simulcast these seminars over the internet?” All it could possibly do is encourage people to stay home and that seemed to be counterproductive for any one producing a show and trying to fill seats. And to me, the biggest crime of missing these shows, even if you can see the seminars on the internet and check out the same products at your local store, is that you miss the networking. I heard Randi Rae say once that you should never eat a meal alone at a DJ convention. I’ve tried to follow that philosophy ever since. Whether it’s a lifelong friend of mine who I rarely see and we’re catching up over dinner, or someone I’ve just met who wants to have lunch with me, “breaking bread” with someone and sharing your thoughts and ideas over a meal is one of the things that can happen at a convention so easily. Our fitness walks are also a great chance to network (and get fresh air.) So are the gambling tables, believe it or not. Anywhere and everywhere at an industry convention, there are opportunities to chat with someone who shares similar concerns as you, and maybe who has the answer to a problem that you have.
90 Minutes in Heaven. Ok, full disclosure, I’ve struggled recently with my faith. My parents raised me a good Catholic boy, and if you read my “Jesus as a DJ” article in December, you know I have great admiration and respect for Jesus Christ. But was He the Son of God or just the greatest, most loving person that ever lived? I wrestle with that sometimes. Did He rise from the dead of did His followers just tack that part of the story on to make His message that much stronger?
So I went into Don Piper’s seminar with a little trepidation. I wanted to hear this story because when you struggle with your faith, you’re also left with the question, “Is this all there is?” I wanted to hear from someone who had purportedly been there, “What’s on the other side.” And based on the title, I thought I knew what was coming.
Mr. Piper’s seminar was the best of the week for me. He told a gripping and agonizing story yet he also found a way to work in some humor as well as some incredible life lessons. I scribbled notes down and as I look back on them, I have to smile. “If you know where you’re going, you should have a better time getting there.” He said that. And in my own experience, it is true. Mr. Piper also talked about “finding a new normal” when your life rearranges. He was talking about an accident and spending 13 months in the hospital (during which time he had 34 surgeries.) But I had to think about all of us, and how we have had to do that over the past year and a half with the recession.
I bought Mr. Piper’s book after his seminar, and he autographed it for me. He wrote, “See you at the gates.” While I still reserve the right to wrestle with that belief, I feel better for having heard his story. He told a room full of DJs that we’ll love heaven because “there’s music everywhere.” That made me smile. Ear to ear. Every DJ I know changes for the better when a good song comes on. We perk up, start tapping our feet to the beat, and if it’s a song we know, we start to sing along. Can you imagine an eternity of that?
Mike Walter is the owner of Elite Entertainment of New Jersey and a nationally recognized expert in multisystem company development and staff training. You can contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM MARCH 2010