Before you head out to a DJ gig, you'll want to make sure you have all your essentials packed with you. It's a good idea to work out a packing system for the equipment you'll need to bring with you, as this will make it easier for you each time you head out the door. Be sure to double-check you got everything with you before you head out to your gig; your essential DJ items will make the night of the performance go smoothly.
Here are the essentials to bring:
If you're using digital DJing software, you'll need to bring your laptop, your laptop cable and/or any controllers you use. Always store your laptop in a laptop case when travelling and keep your laptop cable in good condition by rolling it neatly before and after you play. If you're using digital DJing software, bring along your controller CDs or vinyl, and your Traktor or Serato box if you're using one. You may also want to bring a laptop stand, if the venue does not provide one. My personal favorite type of laptop stands are produced by Crane Hardware.
If your music is stored on an external drive, be sure to bring this with you. Protect your music collection by keeping your external drive stored in a carrying case. Other essentials include USB cables, RCA cables (if you'll be using these), and a power bar. Keep your cables in good condition by winding them neatly or tying up with cable wraps.
If you're playing a new venue or using a DJ controller, ask if there are any other cables you'll need to bring with you. It's also a good idea to bring 1/8” to RCA cable in the rare case your digital DJing program fails and you need to play off iTunes for a minute. For the same reason, bring along a few songs on a USB key so you have some backup in your arsenal.
You'll also need to bring your DJ headphones; keep these safe by storing them in the protective bag they came in. Other items you should pack are a small flashlight, and a set of mini tools. You never know when something will break at a club and you'll have to do a last minute fix-it job!
Once you have all your essentials together, you'll want to make sure you pack them in a good quality DJing bag or backpack. I recommend bags by MONO or UDG; both companies make good quality bags specifically for DJs. Keep your bags in good condition and when they start to look shabby, replace them. You can make a better impression if you arrive at your performance with a bag that looks sharp; it will make people think that your DJ business is doing very well.
If you get a special DJ bag, it will likely have some side pockets where you can store a few extra items. You might also want to bring a permanent marker for signing autographs, as well as your business cards, USB keys with your tracks or mixes (if you have these), as well as any small promo items you have, such as stickers or tattoos. It's always nice to have something to give to your fans at the show!
You'll also need to bring your wardrobe with you, unless you're wearing your gig clothes to the venue. Bring these along in a suit bag to keep them looking fresh! If you bring any items like gel or hairspray, I highly recommend putting these sorts of personal items in a separate bag, as they can explode and potentially damage your DJ equipment. Make sure to bring some deodorant; chances are it will get a little hot on stage and you'll want to be as sweet smelling as you can pre and post-show.
If you're playing a long set, bring along a healthy snack like an apple or power bar, something light that won't get crushed easily. Lastly, an extra pair of socks can be a life saver; if you're playing at a club or rave, you never know what you'll encounter! Once you're a bigger DJ, you can add these items on your rider but in the meantime, it's always best to be prepared.