How I Got Ready for the “DJ Olympics”

October 10, 2016 by Staci Nichols

OK, so there’s no DJ Olympics that I’m aware of… but playing at the world’s largest country music festival, Stagecoach, might as well have been for me. Stagecoach is Coachella’s country cousin held immediately after Coachella every year, in the same venue. The festival started in 2007, and attendance of 50,000- 60,000 people is—yawn—just another day at Stagecoach.

In 2013, a football-field-sized dance floor in an air-conditioned tent with live DJs was added to the Coachella experience…hmmm, now what to do with the space for Stagecoach? A174-6-7 representative from Golden Voice, the company that produces both festivals, called me—a country DJ—and asked if I’d ever heard of Stagecoach! Trying to be polite, I said, “Um, yes, I am familiar with Stagecoach.” In a nutshell, the new mega-dance floor would become a country dance hall…or what we rednecks call a Honky Tonk.

Now, the biggest crowd I’d ever performed for was maybe 200 people at that point in my career, and I was now set to DJ 8 hours a day for 3 days while calling line dance counts, introducing bands and dance troupes, and instructing a few line dances myself to seven to eight times that many people. I had no back-up and a 30-minute window for lunch everyday when a live band performed. DJs, take your marks!

Some of the most productive things I did to get ready for the performance of a lifetime were:
• I met in person with the Stagecoach Honky Tonk producer and came armed with a laundry list of questions. • As the Honky Tonk producer had never produced anything before but a very small children’s area at the festival, I was extremely nervous and made Plan Bs for every possible snafoo—including bringing all of my own equipment just in case. Lo and behold, I ended up
needing my own headset/lapel mic for dance lessons (among other things).
• I created a lengthy list of trivia about each of the evening’s headliners so I could pump up the crowd throughout the day for that night’s main attraction (and fill in should we have dead air while transitioning to/from a live band).

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Staci Nichols Staci Nichols (10 Posts)

DJ Staci Nichols is based in San Diego. She specializes in spinning “country fusion,” Latin/Spanish, and mainstream music. Her wedding know-how has appeared in San Diego Style Weddings, Offbeat Bride, Wedding Planner Magazine, Gig Masters, Brides Without Borders, Book More Brides, and more. Instagram/Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter: SanDiegoDJStaci

Filed Under: Issue #174, Performing