PDJ 004 – Small Time Promoter Tips w/Jessica “Fortune” Fenner (pt. 2)


The suspense is over… here’s part 2 of the #SmallTimePromoterTip Podcast with Jessica Fenner!

In episode 3, I introduced you to Jessica Fenner of A.part Music out of Milwaukee.  If you haven’t listened to episode 3, make sure you go and listen to it first!  Outside getting to know Jessica, we talk about some unique approaches to building nights in small or limited markets, the value of a mentor, how to please your market, how “word of mouth” is greater than any promotional tool, how to have a sense of security when planning your own event, and how to avoid burnout.

If you like what you hear, please subscribe to the podcast.  I have a lot more great discussions and interviews planned for the future!

In episode four, we talk about:

  • How to promote your party as a party, not a charity
  • How to build community (or tear it down) based on how you interact with other promoters and your audience
  • Why it’s all about the experience, not just the names you book
  • Your right to price a DJ’s worth in your market
  • How operating without integrity sets everyone back
  • ATIP – avoid taking it personally (and how to invest in success by focusing on quality)
  • The struggles that women face in a male-dominated market, and how you can turn those hurdles into success
  • How Facebook is a promoter’s blessing and curse

Items mentioned in this session include:

Download the PDF!

Jessica has graciously allowed me to compile all 30 of these tips into one easy-to-read document.

Download the PDF of Small Time Promoter Tips here!

I think she’s awesome for letting us do this and you should too, so if you find this helpful, please make sure to Tweet her and let her know!

@djFORtUne, thanks for the great #SmallTimePromoterTip list from the PassionateDJ.com podcast.  You’re awesome!  (Tweet this!)

Special Bonus – Jessica’s Notes About Gender & Sexism in the Scene

Jessica was gracious enough to provide us with two articles she wrote and published on her Facebook wall regarding gender issues in the scene.  I hope that you will take the time to read them, as they provide some very good insight from someone who has an inside view.  These are unedited posts directly from the source.  Thanks so much, Jessica!

Sexy female DJ vs Talented female DJ

May 10, 2011 at 1:35pm

Post from a recent discussion asking when i noticed the 2 female dj camps. My point was  both can exist. And that we have been groomed to judge different types of sexiness as directly reflecting different levels of skill/intelligence. A major part of why I chose to do a semi-nude dj shoot was to illustrate, & contradict that.

” I didnt see many female djs when i started djing period. Super Jane girls were super fly, Reid Speed too.. and that was about it. But we were all still ravers rocking cute androgynous raver fashion! Then Djing reached a mainstream saturation point & the gimmicks (top 40/female/celebrity djs) erupted.

I played into the sex symbol vs artist dichotomy, judging the Heavy Grinders & DJ Raps without actually paying proper attention. For close to a decade I literally only wore pants & sneakers even though internally i had far outgrown the raver uniform! I didnt want the attention or the image – i wanted to be taken seriously.

With age however I became more comfortable with my woman-hood & the temporary gifts of my physical. I wanted to rock my body how I felt, alongside my mental, spiritual and artistic side – instead of worrying how I’d be viewed. It took some growth to feel I no longer have to prove my genuine passion – if people dont know how lethally serious i am by now, then they’re not paying attention, & thats ok!

I began to consider how may other females, not just djs, feel the same way and maybe dont even realise it.. and why? I’m pretty sure that all of us enjoy being sexy. Unfortunately an oppressive mindset says “be sexy, in this certain way, up to this level, or your other talents become void, you become only your body”. Most of us follow the rules; some buy cleavage enhancing bras, but would never let a nipple show through a shirt (who can profit from the natural sexiness of nipples?!). Others subdue their sexiness to avoid seeming untalented or dumb enough to play into the meat-market scenario. Either way, the great power that comes with the female form has been decimated by equating it with dumbness.  It’s a mindset born from the dynamics of a male dominated society, but one we are all guilty of perpetuating.

If women stopped being groomed to be conscious 24/7 of what others think when they look at them.. or twisting themselves into a (male run) media image.. or trying to become something that they think will land them Mr. Right .. the world would change.

If women harnessed & rocked their full mental, emotional & physical power, rather than suppressing it, the world would explode!”

Why I’m Sexist

September 6, 2011 at 1:25am

A friend bought up a good question to me last night: How can I go on about equality and sexism, yet throw parties like Iron Maiden, with an all female line up?

I was glad, and slightly surprised that he asked. Many out there question motives, reasons, but never ask.  Making ones own, often inaccurate, conclusions is easier; and for some, repeating those one-sided conclusions to others is ejoyable. Sadly the respectful but blunt honesty i was approached with last night, is rarely practiced, but stupid drama is ok. An unfortunate trend, at least in my pier group/age group/party scene. Anyway, we had a great conversation; several points came to light during, and in my mind since..

  • People of colour formed the NAACP, fighting for “equality of rights… and to eliminate race-based discrimination.”  They werent being racist because they did something as a group. Showing solidarity does not mean you are reversing the “ism” onto other groups, or exploiting your own. It simply means you are coming together.
  •  How many all male line ups have you seen? So if one all female line up is sexist..  hmmm!!
  •  I was a female, booking females who have proven their authentic skill and passion. It was a completely female show, from the promoters, to the ladies on the door, to the line up. (unfortunately i don’t know of a woman with a sound system… yet!) It was not a man booking women for an attractive gimmick.
  • I also wanted to bring attention to the 3 girls who were newer on the Milwaukee circuit. It makes me very happy to see 3 female djs in Milwaukee, playing out, passionate, AND supporting each other. I never had that. I wanted to showcase their existence to audiences, and show them support. As the old Ma of Milwaukee promoters, it seemed like a natural thing to do!
  • Part of my goal was to bring together some of WI female djs – a group of newer ladies and a group of old school pros. An opportunity for them to meet, for us to hear each other play; to see that there’s more than a couple of us out there; and to all kick it and throw down! (side note: As much as I love and respect the Milwaukee OG guys who supported and taught me, through out the years I  longed for women who’s passion was playing and talking music, discussing, dissecting, sharing, learning. But I never knew any who were that deep in it. Consequently most of my time & bonds are with men – but I longed for there to be women on the same level; to be able to share my passion with a like minded woman, with none of that male-female equation that naturally exists – no matter how hard i try to ignore it!).
  • I was so glad this friend approached me. Other wise I would never have had a chance to share my motivations and he would have gone on thinking i was a hypocrite. It was a lesson for him to look below the surface. And a reminder to me that what i assume is obvious, can come off completley differently to others.

Perhaps more importantly, friendship is not about never ruffling feathers. It is being willing to have uncomfortable moments. Addressing things that may feel awkward. It is being open to having your mind changed, learning something, hearing criticism, being judged, or being mistaken.  No one needs more Yes men – or unspoken negativity. I hope more of my “friends” in The Matrix (FB) follow this example. Share concerns or questions – it doesn’t mean be confrontational or rude! But if you have doubts about someone’s motivation, sincerity, or motives… MAN UP. Have the decency to give the person in question the chance to speak for themselves ESPECIALLY if you are going to share your thoughts with others! RESPECTFUL, challenging conversation is invaluable; it allows all involved to learn and grow. My friend and I both learned, about ourselves, and each-other from our chat; and came away from it knowing one another a bit better, and I’d say with increased mutual respect.  Thanks for reading.. your comments/questions are welcomed!