About Your DJ

It is very rare that you will find a website that has background information for a Disc Jockey - unless you are a prominent radio or club DJ.  I know that previous clients have conducted additional research into finding out a little bit more about me before they have hired my services.  In all honesty, I don't blame them for taking the time to find out a little more about the person they are looking to hire for their special event.  If I was in the same situation, I would use personal recommendations, check out the DJs website and I would also speak to the operator.


I'm not an egotistical person, but this section of the website gives you a little bit of background information on me.  You may be surprised to learn that even though I have a love of all music and entertaining, I never planned on becoming a Professional DJ.


I have lived in the North East of England for the whole of my life and the vast majority of my work has been for local customers.  I went to school in Darlington and it was while at school that I took up a two-week work placement at the local newspaper – The Northern Echo.  I was intrigued by the inner-workings and the behind the scenes actions that take place when putting together a daily newspaper.  It was from this moment that I decided that Journalism was the field of work I wanted to get into.


Two years of Media Studies at Darlington College of Technology made up the foundations for my intention to go to university.  The course at the college covered all aspects of the media and included training and additional work placements at newspapers, radio stations and also an induction into the world of television.  I was keen to get into print journalism, but I also had a passion for radio. What was I to do? Which field of journalism should I go into?


After much deliberation, I decided that print journalism would be my preferred career path.  However, the passion for radio did not stop there. I decided to apply to join my local Hospital Radio service and after an interview with the management I became a volunteer at Darlington Hospital Radio (Radio Skerne).


That was almost 15 years ago an I am currently a Trustee of the station and I hold the position of Vice-Chairman and Secretary.  As well as being a presenter, I have many varied and important duties.  I deal with the day-to-day running of the station and the maintenance of the computer network and the digital music system.  I also deal with the majority of the correspondence coming into the station, so if you ever need to get in touch with the charity, I may well be the person who responds to your enquiry.


As an experienced presenter, I also train up new members in the technical and vocal work that is needed before a newcomer goes on-air. I’ve also been known to get the screwdriver and soldering iron out when something goes wrong.


It was during my early stages at Radio Skerne and while at college that I got into DJing in a live environment.  I initially started off by helping out a friend with his mobile disco and I thoroughly enjoyed entertaining people.  I can't play an instrument, but I focussed on my presentation, music selection and gentle interaction with the audience.  I think my love of all music helped me grasp the most important traits of being a good DJ.


After completing the two-year course at Darlington College of Technology, I then went on to study a BA (Honours) Journalism degree at the University of Teesside.  Very few universities offered this course and I was very lucky that I had an establishment on my doorstep that offered this prestigious qualificaton.  The course was also validated by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).


I used my DJing to help fund my way through university.  Most of my fellow students had to take on part-time work in shops or bars, but I was able to use the skill base I had amassed and was able to get DJ work at various establishments in the North East.  There was a downside - when the weekend came along, I didn't get much chance party like my friends, however, there is immense satisfaction in knowing that because of my actions, other people were thoroughly enjoying themselves.  This partly made up for not being out with my friends and family on a weekend, although, when you DJ as an occupation, you do seem to get the title of the 'Black Sheep' of the family because it's not always possible to attend family events because my services are in such high demand.


Despite working for pub chains and nightclubs in the North East of England, I always had one simple policy – no drinking on the job!  Many bar managers and club owners were shocked to come across a DJ who did not drink alcohol while working.  At first some of them thought that a DJ needed drink to help them get into the party spirit – just like their patrons.  However, I soon won them over and proved that a sober DJ is more reliable, professional and able to read and react to the crowd much quicker.  I still employ my personal policy of not drinking alcohol while working and you will only ever see me completely sober while conducting my duties.


Three years of studying at university resulted in the successful completion of all of my degree and associated NCTJ qualifications, but DJing was playing a more and more important role in my life.  Getting a foot in the door in the world of journalism was incredibly difficult and I took on freelance work at the local commercial radio station – Alpha Radio.  I was compiling and reading the news for the station, but it was interfering with my evening work and I had to take a tough choice – do I continue in radio or print journalism or should I become a professional full-time DJ?


I think you will have worked out that I took the option to take on my passion for entertaining.  I have worked at various nighstpots and for private clients for more than six years, but I wanted to expand the services I offered and wanted to move specifically into performing at weddings.  I took the opportunity to gain experience from other trusted and respected DJs and realised that wedding receptions were a much more specialised function.  Every event is special and unique, but there is no margin for error at weddings because you're creating dealing with life-long memories for all of the attendees.


The high level of professionalism and experience caught the eye of a local independent family-run hotel - Headlam Hall Hotel.  The management and staff appreciated the quality of the entertainment I provided and because it was one of the premier places to hold a wedding reception, they were happy to ask me to become their Resident DJ.


I was the Resident DJ at Headlam Hall for six years and I presided over the evening wedding reception for more than 500 events at the hotel.  You can also throw in the many Christmas and New Year parties, charity events, graduation balls and many other celebrations at Headlam Hall.  I have also worked with many professional function bands from across the country and I have always had a policy of working with other entertainers to create the best night possible.


It is very rare for a DJ to stay fresh and work in the same place for such a long period of time, so in August 2008 I decided to terminate my contract with Headlam Hall Hotel.  I decided that I wanted to go back to being an independent Professional DJ.  I'm now in the proud position to say that I am a fully independent Professional DJ and I hope that after reading this, you will have no hesitation in getting in touch with me.


John Forbes

Professional Wedding DJ



Client Comments

On behalf of myself and Steve, I'd like to thank you for the wonderful service you provided at our wedding. You were a key person at our evening reception and it was perfect.


The mix of music and floor fillers that you played had everyone dancing from start to finish.


A huge thanks for your help mixing our first dance songs and also for the kind CD you sent us using pictures from the evening - it will be a great keep-sake.


We would strongly recommend you to anyone looking for a professional, personal DJ for their wedding or party.


With our best wishes and sincere thanks.


Mr & Mrs Gould