Diffusing Boozing Club Kids

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a road sign warning of a drunk person crossing the street

You’ve all had to deal with the drunken party guest, or the inebriated clubber who makes an obnoxious request, or worse, threatens to damage your equipment. What’s the best way to handle such flotsam, besides joining them? Try these trouble-shooting tricks. 

Contracting Blame Include a clause in your contract that holds the client responsible for any damage inflicted on your DJ equipment by a drunk guest. “Before we perform at an event, the clients know they’re responsible for their guests’ behavior and if they do anything unbecoming of a normal guest, the client is responsible,” says DJ Ray M.

Buddying up with guests at an event can diffuse future problems, and hopefully nip your drunken guest in the bud. “The first thing I do when I show up at an event, when I don’t know anyone, is to get to know people quickly,” says DJ Kenny M. “I walk around and talk to people during dinner, going from table to table, so people feel more comfortable. When people feel like they know you, they’ll tend to watch out for you through the night. People are less likely to start problems with someone they know—hopefully.”

Get the Attention of the Person in Charge. When the party starts to spiral out of control, and you’re not in a controlled environment—like a hotel or catering hall—the best thing to do is to get the attention of the club’s manager, or host, or whoever’s in charge. “If I’m DJing in a club and a drunk guest is bothering me, I leave about two seconds of dead air between songs,” says DJ Rick K. “People will look over to see what’s going on, and they see that you’re talking and they’re going to come up and see what’s going on. Have your next song cued and ready to go, so when the manager comes over you can get right back into it. It doesn’t usually take more than a second or two. People are so used to having one song mix right into the other that to hear nothing gets people’s attention.”

Place a police beacon on top of your booth and use it only when the dunk guy is harassing you. Another option in a club is to leave your mic on. “If the person is being persistent, you can leave your mic on, letting the crowd know what’s going on,” says Rick. “That usually gets people’s attention real quick.”

Shut Down. One DJ suggests dealing with drunk guests by shutting down the music until the person is removed from the event. “My staff and myself, we shut the music off if there’s a problem, until whoever’s in charge comes over,” says DJ Smith. “We don’t start again until the person is taken out of the party.”

Sound extreme? In DJ Smith’s experience, with fraternity and sorority parties, situations can become extreme very quickly. “College parties are different than wedding receptions,” he says. “At these parties, the whole point of the event is to get drunk, so you really have to be careful. The people are also younger, and, at that age, people usually become more aggressive and more antagonistic if they aren’t getting what they want. You’re there with $5,000 to $10,000 in equipment. What’s to stop him from pouring beer on your stuff? Nothing. At adult functions, you don’t usually see that extreme, but at younger parties you do, so if someone has a serious problem, we won’t continue until the person is taken out of there.”