theSQUAD Creative Event Management Company Johannesburg
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Everyone is in Serious Need of a Party!

We are in serious need of a party Earned SQUAD Stripes

DJ James Cassel is supremely talented at creating exactly the right music vibe needed to make an event memorable. He’s a brilliant asset on any job, but because of the restrictions during COVID lockdown many challenges were thrown his way. We asked James how he handled the tough times, and where he’s at now. Thanks for the interview James, and see you on the dance floor!

We are in serious need of a party Earned SQUAD Stripes 1"COVID-19 affected me in so many ways. I’m a full-time DJ and the events industry was hit hard. I’ll never forget when the very first lockdown was announced; overnight all of my gigs were cancelled. I think the worst part was the uncertainty and not knowing what lay ahead during this pandemic. At times it felt like someone was playing Jumanji and I kept hoping they would stop!

I did anything and everything to survive, from online virtual gigs to video editing. I even leant how to sew, and my wife and I started a sideline business selling scatter cushions and masks just to keep going! My theme song during lockdown was Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, “Don’t worry about a thing, 'cos every little thing, is gonna be alright.”

Post-COVID, my wife Elsa, and I have relocated to a farm and we are changing our lifestyle and priorities. The pandemic definitely put things into perspective and we're working towards a less stressful way of living, with a bigger focus on family and quality time. This pandemic has taught me that life is short and can so easily be taken for granted. 

In my opinion the biggest negative change was the lack of social interaction. As a DJ, I was definitely missing and craving the energy and vibe you get from a live crowd. One of the things that negatively affected many people was mental health. I found that chatting to my peers and friends in the industry and checking-in every now and then was really important. You need to realise you’re not alone during these crazy times!

Right now, it's a challenge for customers to find suppliers who are available, and who are still in the entertainment industry. Unfortunately, many amazing suppliers have either changed career paths or are understaffed and under more pressure to make the function a success!

A trend we're witnessing is 90’s music is making a big comeback! We'll also continue to see a combination of live events with a virtual/hybrid mix. With the awesomeness of technology and a solid internet line, the AV and entertainment teams are doing next level things. For awards ceremonies anyone can just dial in and be “present.” 

I feel the biggest positive in our industry is how quickly we can adapt and change the way we work to make the impossible happen. Going from face-to-face live events, to running virtual/hybrid events from our home offices in our slippers! We are a resilient bunch of people in the eventing industry. The thing to look forward to is that we're slowly but surely getting back to some kind of normality! Live events and functions are happening in a big way, and everyone is in serious need of a party!" 

James Cassel