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ARTICLE
Our Focus & Retreat at the end of January was a huge hit. Completely different to Pro Mobile conference, the event was designed as a simpler and smaller gathering of professional DJs. We wanted to do something more relaxed with an emphasis on networking, but also an event at which attendees could bring partners and in fact, families (in a couple of cases, even family pets).

We also wanted to shine a light on UK-based DJs who are doing incredible jobs building great businesses. So we asked just some of those we have got to know well as regulars at Pro Mobile events and also as contributors in the magazine. And boy did they deliver.

What really stood out for me was the complete and utter professionalism of all of those who spoke. Each and every one of them was very happy to discuss how they got to where they are, but also to engage with attendees and offer advice. And as is always the case with people who are doing well, they were there to ask questions and learn as well. It’s really very humbling.

Another highlight was the discovery that if you invite people to turn up any time during the day for an evening event, they will get there very early indeed. In fact when I got to the Balmer Lawn shortly after 10am, some were already there and networking! By midday, most delegates were in the venue – it was fabulous to see them all spending time with each other, sharing war stories, discussing workloads and sharing advice.

We swiftly followed Focus & Retreat with a hop over to Las Vegas for Mobile Entertainment Expo and Photobooth Expo. Again, the networking really stood out as key to the success of the week. It’s such a busy event with around 5000 entertainment professionals, four days of seminars and trade floor plus a packed schedule of after-parties.

I was especially happy to bump into Randy Bartlett. Randy had a huge influence on my DJ career as well as many other DJs I know. But those who do know him, know that he retired some years ago. Obviously, I was curious to find out why he had made the trip. Turned out it was to catch up with his old friends and colleagues.

This took me back to my old corporate days. I once worked as part of a fantastic team of managers and we socialised a fair bit. In fact, at least once a year, we would go to Calais on a bit of a booze cruise. But mostly to go out and share a dinner, have drinks and enjoy a night out at the worst night club we could find.

The thing with our job is that it can be really lonely. As owners of relatively small businesses, it’s all too easy to get trapped in our silos and far too often think of each other as competition. Yet we really shouldn’t allow that to happen.

There is definitely enough business out there for all of us and my years of pretty intensive networking, attending conferences and expos, show that there are only benefits to be gained from doing so.

At the end of April Steve and I will be attending Midwest DJ’s Live in Milwaukee. This is an event I have always been curious about as it is similar to our own conference. The opportunity came about from a discussion with Mitch Taylor, a speaker at 2023’s conference – when he invited us to attend, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to watch someone else’s event and focus on the future of ours.

Our next big event is Photobooth Expo London. You can expect to hear some news about how we are going to build in the success of last year’s first show with a brand-new initiative for DJs. Watch this space!
The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 124, Page 6.
UPCOMING EVENTS
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12 / 10 / 2024 - 13 / 10 / 2024
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13 / 10 / 2024 - 14 / 10 / 2024
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