Reunions High School Reunion

Jim Davis

Professional "Craigslist DJ"
So I'm just going to get right to the point - I don't DJ as many gigs as I used to. However, when I get a friend referral, I'll usually take the gig if it's reasonable. I've always been on the cheap side for the Philadelphia area, I think. I was initially thinking $500 for 4 hours for this 10th high school reunion. Any thoughts on that price, particualrly from any Philly area DJ's? Am I short-changing myself? Nothing more than my standard sound system and the equivalent of a GigBar for lights. I can probably run the playlist off the top of my head, I was graduating college when this group was graduating high school, so the music is in my personal wheelhouse.
 

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
35,074
Prospect, CT
I think it's probably in the average (outside a Taso event :) ). I did a 10 year reunion 2 years ago and charged $450 for 3 hours and of that, there was probably 30 minutes of dancing.
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
4,962
32
NJ
www.djtaso.com
While I'm not a "philly" local... I have a VERY strong presence in the Philly market (look up my recap videos on youtube, and there should be plenty of venues you recognize for Center city and south jersey. As far as the $500 quote for a 4hr event of any sort is typically considered on the low end of the spectrum. The majority of Dj's will fall between the $750-$1200 mark for a "generic" event depending on venue, difficulty of load in, how much they specialize in a certain type of event, and just how much recognition they have. There's also the premium guys, who are known for more extravagant events, much more recognized, have nicer set ups, and overall branding who can charge $1500+. My average event in philly is between $3500-$4500 for the wedding and Sweet 16 market, and for the once in a blue moon last minute generic events, my price is $1500 + a $100 travel fee.
 

Jim Davis

Professional "Craigslist DJ"
there was probably 30 minutes of dancing.
Good point, I suppose a lot could potentially be background music. (Unless it's an open bar!)
 
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Jim Davis

Professional "Craigslist DJ"
Thanks Taso, I should clarify that the event is out in Warminster, not center city or anything like that. (Jealous of my wedding DJ (Cleveland Morris) who landed a regular gig at the Plough in old city...) I'm not desperate for the gig, maybe I'll float $600 out there!

I've never aimed to be top-tier. My 'Professional Craigslist DJ' tagline is pretty much true. I'm top-tier in the Craigslist arena! I'd rate my music selection/programming as a 9 out of 10, but my mixing skills more like a 6 out of 10. Mic skills, I dunno, 7?
 

DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,797
Oklahoma City
I really enjoy doing High School reunions. I prefer classes from the 20th century and I don’t take events for more than 300 guests. They’re EASY gigs, but be prepared for lots of requests. Similar to @steve149, I charge $100 per hour, minimum of 4 hours, so I usually end up working 5 hours for $500. I AM a bottom-feeder though. Others in this area charge similar rates unless big sound and light systems are required. Then the rates go up significantly.
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
4,962
32
NJ
www.djtaso.com
Thanks Taso, I should clarify that the event is out in Warminster, not center city or anything like that. (Jealous of my wedding DJ (Cleveland Morris) who landed a regular gig at the Plough in old city...) I'm not desperate for the gig, maybe I'll float $600 out there!

I've never aimed to be top-tier. My 'Professional Craigslist DJ' tagline is pretty much true. I'm top-tier in the Craigslist arena! I'd rate my music selection/programming as a 9 out of 10, but my mixing skills more like a 6 out of 10. Mic skills, I dunno, 7?
I think I'm more in the DelCo area and center city itself... I have been to Normandy Farms and the Warrington Country Club, which are relatively close to Warminster... but from my experience, what I did was definitely not the norms for the area... so perhaps the $800-$1200 range for Philly is more like $500-$950 for that area... again not my target market, but do know they don't look to spend jersey prices.
 

djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
3,893
46
From my angle, if you can get $500 for a school reunion, you're doing well. Very low expectations and low pressure.
indeed

ive done a few... usually 2 or 3 students who desperately miss high school are involved in the planning and end up footing the bill on things like the dj and the venue in order to coax alumni to come without a huge price tag involved....

They certainly arent what they used to be...especially in this day and age of social media...where "how fat have they gotten" no longer lingers on most minds... the draw is not as strong.

cc
 
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wifedj

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 20, 2008
2,002
...I've always been on the cheap side for the Philadelphia area, I think. I was initially thinking $500 for 4 hours for this 10th high school reunion. Any thoughts on that price, particualrly from any Philly area DJ's? Am I short-changing myself?...
You know what value you bring...or don't bring.

You know what you are worth...or are not worth.

What a group of unvetted forum opiners thinks shouldn't matter as you have the primary, most relevant information and experience to know your worth.
 

adj2ent

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 20, 2006
1,357
59
Long Island NY
Reunions are usually not high-paying jobs events. Like Steve said Usually not that much dancing. I’ve done quite a few in years past in the catering halls and in parks. The budget for the DJ is set very early in the process along with the ticket prices. What is a little depressing is if you do the reunions for the same class each reunion gets progressively smaller. I attended two different High schools, for our 40th reunion one we ended up just meeting in the hotel bar and the other in a nightclub. The 5 and 10 year reunion’s were the largest.
 
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Ausumm

Day Late and a Dollar Short
Oct 21, 2008
10,765
55
Bethlehem PA
www.mikefoxx.com
PS... don't get me wrong, there are plenty of guys that will gladly work for $500... but on the overall spectrum of where the more recognizable dj's who do more than 30+ events a year fall within (private events, not bar/club), the $500 would be considered low amongst the majority of them.
With Class Reunions, it's not really a matter of what would someone charge to be the DJ...
it's more about how much money the class can afford.
(based on how much is in their class bank account)
$500 for 4 hours is $125 an hour
which aint bad when you consider the amount of dancing they will do.
 
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djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
4,962
32
NJ
www.djtaso.com
With Class Reunions, it's not really a matter of what would someone charge to be the DJ...
it's more about how much money the class can afford.
(based on how much is in their class bank account)
$500 for 4 hours is $125 an hour
which aint bad when you consider the amount of dancing they will do.
Every event is about how much they can afford though... I do understand that the pay for these events is relatively low compared to others, but he asked what $500 for 4hrs was relative to the norms of other philly area djs... which then changed to a slightly different area on the map lol. But that’s what I was answering... what are most djs getting in the philly area for 4hr general events.
 
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wifedj

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 20, 2008
2,002
Regarding your performance, if your ONLY purpose and intent is to play some music to which the attendees will dance, you are being overpaid at any price greater than the cost to rent a PA system to which anyone can connect a music player, playlist, itunes, etc.
 

Ausumm

Day Late and a Dollar Short
Oct 21, 2008
10,765
55
Bethlehem PA
www.mikefoxx.com
Every event is about how much they can afford though... I do understand that the pay for these events is relatively low compared to others, but he asked what $500 for 4hrs was relative to the norms of other philly area djs... which then changed to a slightly different area on the map lol. But that’s what I was answering... what are most djs getting in the philly area for 4hr general events.
I know. And I'm sure your post was a great help to the OP.
I was just pointing out that determining your budget for a wedding or sweet 16...
is worlds apart from budgeting a class reunion.
 
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EERobert

DJ Extraordinaire
Aug 11, 2013
549
Hays, Kansas, United States
Reunions are usually not high-paying jobs events. Like Steve said Usually not that much dancing. I’ve done quite a few in years past in the catering halls and in parks. The budget for the DJ is set very early in the process along with the ticket prices. What is a little depressing is if you do the reunions for the same class each reunion gets progressively smaller. I attended two different High schools, for our 40th reunion one we ended up just meeting in the hotel bar and the other in a nightclub. The 5 and 10 year reunion’s were the largest.
My town does an "All school reunion" every 5 years, where everyone from every class is invited and it's a big weekend deal. I went at 5 and 10, went to a handful events during the 15th and spent the rest of the weekend at my parents farm. I skipped the 20th all together and opted to DJ a wedding across the state. If the organizers wanted me to DJ for the 25th (coming up next year) I MIGHT consider it.
 
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Ausumm

Day Late and a Dollar Short
Oct 21, 2008
10,765
55
Bethlehem PA
www.mikefoxx.com
My town does an "All school reunion" every 5 years, where everyone from every class is invited and it's a big weekend deal.
The private boarding school I work at does that too.
They generally have smaller graduating classes,
so they can afford to do the EVERY FIVE YEAR reunion.
Interesting part is being hired as the DJ.
Rather than having a pretty narrow range of music...
I am playing anything from the 50's thru today.