From Philadelphia to Winnipeg, DJ Style
So this is a blog which is long overdue. Anyone who follows this blog probably already knows that I spent the first two weeks of February this year in Winnipeg, Canada. It was a vacation so it was primarily social, but the one thing I have learned from being in this industry for so many years is the power of networking with other entertainment/production companies in other cities. My first invaluable experience with this began with my attending a DJ convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey back in the late nineties (1999 I think it was). That is when I first met Keith ‘KC’ KoKoruz, owner of Spinnin’ Discs in Chicago. He was speaking in front of a packed room (over 200 people) about how to better market DJ services, and I was thoroughly impressed. After the seminar I approached KC, and (perhaps to his dismay) he and I still speak fairly often to this day. You see, the Mobile DJ market is a very regional one, and companies are more than happy to share information with other companies that aren’t in their region and hence are simply not competition. Naturally an equal exchange of information is preferred, which is why I am never quite sure why KC still talks to me as I often times feel that there is very little I offer him in exchange for the never ending flow of priceless guidance and information he is always happy to share with me. Might I also add that KC is a marketing guru, and perhaps the best at what he does in the United States, (yes, I know that’s a big order, but if you speak to him for fifteen minutes you’ll certainly understand what I mean), and a top-notch entertainer to boot. The relationship has been nothing but beneficial to myself, my staff, and naturally my clients as well (indirectly of course). Spinnin’ Discs is one of the most successful DJ companies (if not the most) in the Chicagoland area, and has served as a model for things we do at Cutting Edge Entertainment on many occasions.
But this isn’t about KC…
So back to Winnipeg. Let me start off with a few facts about Winnipeg that I didn’t know, and perhaps you – the reader – don’t know either.
- The population of Winnipeg is just over 630,000. (In comparison, Philadelphia has a population of over 1,500,000, 400,000 more than the entire population of Manitoba, the province in which Winnipeg is located).
- According to Wikipedia, Winnipeg is the coldest city in the world with a population over 500,000.
- Winnie the Pooh was named after Winnipeg the bear, who – after serving as the mascot of a Canadian brigade serving in WWI – resided at The London Zoo where he was first encountered by a young Christopher Robin.
- Winnipeg is the home to one of the most impressive DJ entertainers I have ever met.
Which brings me back on track. Prior to traveling to Winnipeg, I contacted several Synagogues, hotels and event facilities in the city asking the same question, “Who are the best DJs in Winnipeg?” And each time I received the same answer… one name, Barry Kay. Now after doing a little research on my own I found that the company Barry trades under is called ‘Cherry Tree Productions,’ although Barry’s own name is much more renown than that of his company, and he operates with virtually no competition to speak of. As I soon found out the reason for this was not for lack of DJs in the Winnipeg area, but simply because the man is that damn good at what he does.
Barry and I spoke a handful of times before my trip, and upon arriving in Winnipeg I contacted him and we decided to meet for lunch at ‘The Old Spaghetti Factory,’ a favorite (or should I say ‘favourite’ for my Canadian readers) spot of mine. Meeting with him was nothing less than fun. He is so animated and excited when talking about what he does that I can’t imagine a prospective client wouldn’t book him on the spot, being instantly impressed by his passion and enthusiasm for what he does. Heck, I wanted to book him! Here was a consummate entertainer if ever I had met one, and again, like with KC, I left the meeting feeling the lucky one to have met him. In the short three hour lunch meeting I learned new ideas and concepts from a true master of his craft. Not only was I impressed with his way, but I literally felt recharged and excited to get back to work and apply some of Barry’s excitedness and focus on my own business. It is no surprise that Barry Kay rules the Bar/Bat Mitzvah and corporate markets in Winnipeg and the surrounding areas… he is quite simply ‘that good.’
There were so many things that Barry is currently doing in the industry that are new, creative and innovative that I was completely blown away. Being here in Philadelphia and being exposed to New York and our metropolis of the east, I would have thought we would be light years ahead of a small DJ outfit in a small city, but that just wasn’t the case. There is so much I learned from Barry that I couldn’t even begin to cover it here in this short blog… nor do I really want to. In the coming year I plan to apply them, and all I can hope for is that the Philadelphia market can handle some revolutionary and profoundly awesome new ideas… that have been going on in Winnipeg for quite some time.
I look forward to a long and productive relationship with my new found colleague in the Great White North.
Cherry Tree Productions in Winnipeg – http://www.cherrytreeproductions.com
Spinnin’ Discs in Chicago – http://www.spinnindiscs.com
Cutting Edge Entertainment in Philadelphia – www.cuttingedges.wpengine.com
I am humbled by your words and I thank you for them.
KC, you took the words right out of my mouth. Wow this is incredible.
I was very impressed with your Blog comments about Barry Kay. It does not surprise me as I have known Barry professionally for many years,
Barry doe all my production work and audio for my concerts. That’s no small task as we have one of the largest touring illusion shows in North America and we tour to over 40 countries. Our requirements are
not simple and we require extreme detail and professional quality.
Barry is the only one I have trusted to do this for a decade!
I am glad he is getting the recognition he deserves!
P.S. Check out the videos he edited and mixed on my video page.
Barry is a class act and I’m glad people have taken notice. He has hired me numerous times and he is always a pleasure to deal with.