It is worthwhile checking that the main lighting in your chosen venue is controllable so that it can be dimmed
when the entertainment starts. Some village halls, for example, have a bank of fluorescent strips which are
either all on or all off. This can make it difficult to create the right ambiance.
Check that your venue will dim the lighting to a realistic level as some will insist on quite high levels of lighting
citing "Health & Safety" reasons.
Also bear in mind that inside a marquee at the height of summer will remain very light until late into the
evening. Some marquee companies are starting to offer a blackout area around the dance floor, sometimes
enhanced with twinkling lights. I have found this works very well.
Installed at some venues but not always brought to your attention, these work by measuring the sound output
and, if a predetermined noise limit is reached, the power to the stage area is cut off automatically and will
need to be reset. Whereas most of these limiters are professionally installed and don't usually present a
problem, I have come across a few venues that have these devices adjusted at such a sensitive level
necessitating the Disco volume to be set so low that it becomes little more than background music and not
conducive to dancing. This can also make it difficult for announcements to be heard in all parts of the room.
If a sound limiter is installed at a venue it is worthwhile asking to go along to an event so you can check for
yourself that sound levels are to your satisfaction. Do this later in the evening at around 10pm when you
would expect things to be in full swing. Also have a quick chat with the Dj to ask if he has had any problems
with the system.
Some Dj's, who are using laptops and the like, are starting to refuse bookings at venues due to possible
damage that can be caused to sensitive computer equipment by the sudden cutting of the power supply.
Many lighting effects used by Dj's and entertainers these days are of a scanning beam type much as you will
have seen on programmes such as "The X Factor", "Strictly" and numerous other entertainment programmes.
You will notice that you can see multicoloured beams sweeping around the venue. The only reason you can
see these beams is that there is an almost invisible artificial haze being generated into the air by use of a
hazer or smoke machine. Without such a device being used, these beams would vanish and you would only
see patterns on the walls and ceiling thus losing these dramatic room filling effects.
Some venues ban the use of smoke or haze machines for fear of triggering a smoke alarm. However it is
possible to fit a removable dust cover to a smoke detector thereby temporarily disabling it. These covers are
used by venues who are having building work carried out (to prevent dust in the air setting off the alarms) but
they work equally well with smoke machines! They take seconds to fit and your venue my well have had
covers supplied when the detectors were installed. Fire regulations would NOT be compromised as manually
triggered ("break the glass") alarms would remain operational.
You may wish to speak to your venue about this or consider my "Liquid Light show" option.
"In House" Entertainment
There are venues that insist their own In house Entertainer / Dj is used for functions. Always check how
much of your total bill is for the entertainer and ensure you can go along and see the entertainment provided
and that it is suitable for your particular event.
I have come across some venues who will try to charge a fee to customers who wish to book their own
entertainment. This has been as much as £250 on one occasion!
If a particular venue does try to charge you for a service they are NOT providing you may wish to consider
giving Consumer Direct a call on 03454 04 05 06 or visit Norfolk Trading Standards website for help and
It is always worthwhile asking for a bar price list prior to booking your venue particularly if it is a hotel function
room. Many people have been quite shocked at the prices their guests have been expected to pay for a drink.
I have even come across one hotel that was charging higher prices in the function room than were being
charged at the main hotel bar. Once this was discovered by the wedding party at one particular event, the
function room bar was deserted in favour of the main bar causing long queues and I was left entertaining a
half empty room!
Having worked for many years as a Dj, I regularly come across some situations and issues not always
considered by customers, and hope that you find these notes helpful and informative when planning your event.