My name is Brian Mole, I am a full-time DJ. This year, I should be celebrating 40 years as a DJ. Since 2009, I have been a full-time DJ, working mainly at fabulous peoples’ weddings, and this is my sole source of income. Up to then, I had a successful career in IT, and DJ’d as a hobby.
2019 was the best year for me as a full-time wedding DJ, having won several client-led awards, culminating in being voted National Highly Commended Wedding DJ of the year 2019 at the wedding industry awards. This was very humbling and one of my proudest moments. 2020 was fully booked, and I was looking forward to being very busy with 80 bookings, plus a few Xmas parties.
As March started, I DJ’d at two very special weddings. Justine and Jacob’s wedding at Hampton Court Palace, and Coral and Ryan’s wedding at Field Place. Just a few days later, our PM asked us all to stay at home as the country shut down. Then our world fell apart.
What followed was an unprecedented international disaster for our human race. Businesses closed, schools closed, borders closed, hospitals prepared for the worst, and many many people (too many) fell ill and died. Although the government here rightly provided support for employees, only limited support was provided for self-employed people like me and some business owners got nothing.
Since March, I have been working tirelessly with distressed clients to rebook and re-rebook them. I have also had to refund several clients whose alternative dates I couldn’t fulfil. This alone has wiped out 80% of the self-employed grant I received in early summer.
As a self-employed DJ with no premises, I am not eligible for any other help. There is the promise of one last and reduced grant later this autumn. The government has also facilitated loans to support us. But the real issue as other industries go back to work as lockdown is eased, is that my beloved wedding industry and particularly the wedding DJ industry is going to be the last thing to return to any kind of normal. And this is going to be a long time away.
I believe that I will not DJ any more weddings this year. So, there is zero income since March, and for the foreseeable future until restrictions are fully lifted. The last thing I want to see is an early, premature return to full dance floors. I am not looking for our government to allow this as soon as possible. This is way too dangerous.
I am very proud to say that I absolutely love my job. It is not only what I choose to do for a living, but it is my passion. For 40 years, I can’t think of a better way to make a difference to people’s lives, I celebrate with them. Despite what some have said, I have proved that I can do this successfully and consistently, paying my taxes with a huge smile on my face.
This crisis has taken us all by surprise. I have seen colleagues seriously ill, I have lost several colleagues too. In the past, whatever was thrown to us, we managed to survive. People still partied during recessions, but this… I’m not sure we can survive this. I have never worked so hard, dealing with stressed couples trying to rebook their weddings, day in day out. Originally we thought maybe this would be over soon, but as this became impossible, couples rebooked again and again. Then they cancelled.
I’m not sure if we are even going back to work next year, I really hope so, as I have a lot of clients planning their weddings in 2021. I’m not sure if many of my amazing colleagues can hold out and survive this, mentally and financially.
What we need is recognition from the government, we need the government to engage with us, and most importantly, we need further financial support until there is some light at the end of the tunnel and we can all go back to work.
This is why I want you to get behind our industry and help – it will take ten minutes of your time at the most. The DJ associations SEDA and NADJ have got together with others to raise awareness of these issues and get some help. They have the support of the industry at large. I need you to lobby your MP, download the letter template, and send it to your MP. Please do this NOW.