Campus DJs can’t wait to meet students on the dance floor


DJ on the outdoor terrace of Midway on High. Credit: Courtesy of Alex Davessar

As pandemic restrictions become more flexible, it’s not only students who are excited to resume their evenings.

DJs from campus bars look forward to welcoming students this fall with a mix of their favorite tunes and electronic dance music. After a year of COVID-19 limitations, Mitch Wilkins, DJ at Midway on High and Ethyl & Tank, said he was looking forward to performing in front of a student audience again.

“I’m just excited to have a crowd again, honestly,” Wilkins said. “I spent a year not playing in front of people and doing live broadcasts and trying to figure out a way, whether it’s making a blender in my room or doing anything. I love playing in the summer, but having everyone back, being able to play in front of a big crowd again on game day, where the energy is just ridiculous, is probably the part I’m most excited for.

Alex Davessar, a fourth year in business and DJ at Midway on High and Ethyl & Tank, said he looks forward to experiencing the positive atmosphere that accompanies nightlife on campus.

“It’s great to be able to take requests and hear what people want to hear and to be able to respond to it,” Davessar said. “And again, make people happy, make their nights, make them smile and help them have a good time.”

Ryan McKee, director of locations and experience at A&R creative group, which owns several bars and restaurants in Columbus including TRISM, Fourth Street Bar & Grill, Midway on High and Ethyl & Tank, said guests will be able to hear a variety of genres and sub-genres. played both in different areas of the bars. He said playing different music on different floors of a given bar would ensure there is something for everyone.

“It will be a great experience, where the bars are busy and people can hang out,” McKee said. “And they can go and listen to four different kinds of music in one night and have fun musically in different environments, and I hope they can find their vibe.”

Wilkins said he often played a genre called progressive house on Ethyl & Tank and Midway on High, which contains elements of pop vocals, melodic repetition, and beat drops. Notable progressive house artists include Avicii, Calvin Harris, and The Chainsmokers.

“More melodic progressive house music usually gets people excited just because it’s a song they’ve heard before mixed in with something they haven’t done yet,” he said.

McKee said he tries to foster a collaborative environment where younger or less experienced DJs can gain experience and grow learning from more experienced DJs and working with the latest professional equipment.

“We’re kind of creating a culture that encourages people to learn more about the music industry itself,” McKee said. “So it’s not just… a guy up there alone or a woman or anyone on stage.” It kind of makes a bit of community behind the scenes as much as possible. ”

While bars in the campus area aim to get DJs performing again in an environment that fosters a good experience, McKee said they also aim to create a safe environment against COVID for students to perform again. unforgettable memories are created.

Customers were required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken in the past 72 hours to attend Friday’s DJ set at Midway on High, but the bar has not announced whether this protocol will continue in the future . McKee said they will continue to do what they believe is best for the health and safety of their customers as new regulations continue to emerge.

“There are a lot of different approaches to the way people run things, and we’re just trying to do what’s best for our clients in our current state,” McKee said.

Davessar said knowing how to read a crowd while watching their energy during a set was essential, but pandemic restrictions last year made that difficult. He said he usually adapts his set to the reactions of the crowd as they dance to a song, but with people sitting at tables the DJ has to adapt.

Despite the changes to DJing, Wilkins said he hopes his sets can relieve the much-needed stress students need during a tough time.

“Obviously, college is not easy,” Wilkins said. “When you study five days a week and focus on school and everything, and you have the chance to go out, spend time with a group of friends in an environment you want to be in, it makes you the week seems a little less difficult.


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