After nearly 19 months of uncertainty in the industry, the DJ market returned on a grand scale when the DJ Expo 2021 brought athletes of all stripes back into its community.
Renamed DJX, the DJ Times-produced fair / exhibition filled the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City with mobile entertainers, club DJs, streaming jocks, and home studio dogs from August 9-12. After missing its 2020 incarnation due to the pandemic, the show on AC’s famous boardwalk featured three days of exhibits featuring some of the latest technology in the industry, four days of seminars, workshops and keynotes, and three nights of sponsored after dark events . With its 35th show since it was founded in 1990, the DJX remains the longest running and most successful trade fair / exhibition in the DJ industry.
Show floor: Mell Starr instructs a teenager.
The show: The DJ Expo (DJX) featured an exhibition space full of professional audio, lighting and accessory equipment, as well as educational seminars and evening parties that hosted exhibitors / sponsors such as Bose, Chauvet DJ, JetPack, L-Acoustics, Pioneer DJ, RCF- USA and Stamm XR.
In addition to a series of themed seminars intended to benefit mobile, club, streaming and studio jocks, DJX presented special keynotes from various industry giants such as Howard “HK” Kessler, a popular syndicated mixshow DJ who has done much of his career spent as an A&R man for the legendary Tommy Boy Records. Loaded with entertaining and educational stories about working with hitmakers like Naughty By Nature, Queen Latifah and RuPaul, “HK” left the DJ Expo (DJX) audience thrilled.
Virtual Reality: At the Tribe XR booth.
DJX’s always entertaining after dark events fueled two hard rock venues (Plum VIP Lounge and DAER Nightclub). At the “Opening Party” sponsored by RCF on Monday in Plum, four turntablists, the party jock Kid Kasper and the hitmaker DJ / artist Joe Bermudez rocked the intimate venue. The next evening at DAER, the “Twitch Tuesday” party sponsored by L-Acoustics presented Twitch partner DJs such as Mike Marquez and Joshua Carl as well as the chart top DJ / artist LODATO.
After Dark: DJ Kid Kasper rips it open.
On Wednesday evening, DAER doubled itself with two parties, both sponsored by L-Acoustics, who equipped the room with a powerful club system (including A15 Focus speakers as well as KS21 and KS28 subs). Under the direction of Jake Jacobsen, the “No Judgment Wednesday” event presented an evening with America’s top mobile radio talents. Later that evening, DJ Skribble was joined on the decks by hip-hop legend DJ Scratch at his annual after party, who carried him home that night.
The winners: On August 12th, Artie Branigan won the Ultimate DJ Giveaway at Artie’s Parties in Waretown, NJ. The winning system included equipment from the following sponsors: Bose (Noise Canceling Headphones 700); Pioneer DJ (XDJ-XZ controller, VM-80 speakers, HDJ-X7 headphones); RCF (AYRA PRO5 monitors); and Tribe XR (Oculus Quest 2 VR headset, Tribe XR software key, masterclass with LODATO in Tribe XR).
In addition, the winners took home products at daily giveaways: Bose (SoundLink Micro Bluetooth Speaker); DJ Times (all-access passes until 2022 DJX, T-shirts); JetPack bags (JetPack Snap Backpack); and Tribe XR (DJ in VR Software Key, T-Shirts).
The reaction: “It’s been a while, but we’re excited to see the DJ industry making such a strong comeback,” said Jim Tremayne, editor of DJ Times magazine and co-organizer of the show. “We had faith in the market and despite the bumps we’ve all suffered over the past year, we’ve always believed in our community. Fortunately, his strengths came to the fore at DJX. As always, we would like to thank the exhibitors, sponsors, performers, panelists and visitors to the fair for their continued support. We look forward to returning to the Boardwalk at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City next August 8-11. “
Artie Branigan: Ultimate DJ Giveaway Winner.
The response from exhibitors and visitors was enthusiastic:
“Pioneer DJ has had a successful partnership with DJ Expo for many years and appreciates the opportunity DJ Expo (DJX) offers us to strengthen our relationships within the DJ community. We build real friendships with professional and aspiring DJs by hosting seminars, equipment talks, and performances by talented artists. This year’s DJX cemented its position as a must-attend event for everyone in the DJ industry, especially in a year where personal events, clubs and live locations are emerging from an incredibly challenging year. Pioneer DJ was excited to be back on the show floor in 2021. ”- Marc Weinbach, Pioneer DJ, Torrance, California.
“We loved it! I’m really happy to be with Hard Rock and pleasantly surprised with the attendance – great energy, traffic and commitment.” – James Sajeva, Korg USA, Melville, NY
“It was nice to feel the camaraderie of our industry come together in one place after not having a show last year due to the pandemic. To be part of that community and feel like the entire show was an amazing experience. ”- Ross Akselrad, Pulse Entertainment, Richboro, Pennsylvania.
“DJX was a big upgrade … it was easy to get to and had great accommodations! – Jonny Diver, Elegant Music Group, Montclair, NJ
“For us, the DJ Expo helps us stay involved in the world of mobile, club and mixshow DJs … There’s no other DJ show like it.” – Nick Ditri, The Disco Fries, Red Bank, NJ
“When I first attended the DJ Expo in 2012, I was a single op [mobile DJ] and weddings for $ 400. Now I’m multi-op with five team members and my price is over $ 3,000. The main reason? Participation in DJX! Attending the DJ Expo (DJX) gives me the tools to stay one step ahead of the competition in my region. ”- Pascal Lévesque, Pascal Party, Montréal, Canada
“It was a great time … amazing people and a really great venue!” – Michael Mahler, VIBO, W. Hartford, Conn.
“We really enjoyed our experience with the [“Remixer/Producer/Mixshow”] Podium and audience. When we attended the Expo as a participant years ago, the panels inspired us to be better producers. We wouldn’t be where we are without the DJ Expo. ”- John Feelgood, The Scene Kings, NYC
“It was so important to our industry to host this show and we were proud to be a part of it. Like every year, DJ Times did a great job! ”- Lars Schlichting, Pioneer DJ, Torrance, California.
“This year, the community aspect of the show has shown more than ever how important it is to all DJs across the country and beyond … After over 30 years of running the DJ Expo, DJX ’21 has again emphasized How much of binding force in the industry it is! ”- Jordan St. Jacques, Digitera Interactive, Ottawa, Canada
“Much better venue for DJX ’21. Makes more sense. Hard rock has more prestige, that’s nice. ”- Justin Brock, RCF-USA, Edison, NJ
“With DJX, DJ Times has made large, educational conferences feasible again. It took two years, but all attendees received amazing information from some of the best entertainment educators in the country and a spectacular shopping experience in the always incredible exhibition space. ”- Jake Jacobsen, A2R Entertainment, Cumming, Ga.
“DJX has given the industry a much-needed makeover. I met so many great people that I had connected to virtually before – but this time in real life. This experience cannot be quantified. ”- DJ Cova, Bayonne, New Jersey
“As the wedding industry returns to normal, there were a number of important moments that indicated we are on the right track. The DJ Times, hosted by DJX in Atlantic City, was one of the largest. It was so great to see so many industry friends again – and to meet so many new ones! Thanks to DJ Times for bringing us all together. ”- Mike Walter, Elite Entertainment, Tinton Falls, NJ
“I’ve been coming to the DJ Expo for years. The panels and seminars are essential for inspiring producers / DJs to get inside knowledge of the process and the business. It’s also a great place to test and demonstrate the latest gear on the market. ”- LODATO, Spinnin ‘Records, Queens, NY
“For many years, the DJ Expo has inspired me to return to the real world of DJing and create something new and exciting. It offers just the right dose of information, networking, and the chance to see the latest technology and equipment. The energy and excitement is second to none. ”- Xavier J. Powell, Sounds of Jersey, Bloomfield, NJ
“As a first-time visitor, I had a great time! It was great to see state of the art DJ setups from all professional providers…. not to mention first class DJs at the evening events. I was musically inspired and loved meeting other DJs from all over the country. The panels were also very educational and well-rounded. ”- Nicole Otero, Brooklyn, NY
“DJX is a great place to learn how to improve your DJ business, get inspiration from some really talented DJs, meet more DJs, and have a great time in DJ heaven. From the equipment to the parties to the seminars, DJX is here for a reason! Do not miss it! ” – Staci “The Track Star” Nichols, Cancun, Mexico
“DJX gave me life. I returned home excited and ready to go! ”- Joe Bermudez, Mass Movement Radio, Boston, Mass.
“DJX is valuable because it gives all DJs the opportunity to see the latest equipment, but it also enables everyone to get further training in the seminars and workshops. Add to that the education gained through networking. ”- Greg Curran, DJ Entertainment School, Abington, Pennsylvania.
“The best thing about DJX is how it brings DJs together as real people and builds relationships that have a much bigger impact than just grabbing dance floors. The seminars, display space, and parties are great, but the connections and networking are the key! ”- Chris Washburn, Washburn Ent., Dryden, NY
“DJX ’21 was super important not only to get in touch with friends and colleagues again, but also to show those who came back after the quarantine that our profession still exists. This show prepared us for 2022 and beyond. ”- Mike Marquez, Brooklyn, NY
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