For young unknown DJs, breaking into the Sydney club scene can be difficult. Unless you’ve already done gigs and made a name for yourself it’s almost impossible to get work.

New Mardi Gras recognised this problem in 2003 when they decided the Mardi Gras party’s outdoor dance venue should feature up-and-coming DJs. When they put out a call for CD submissions from DJs they were overwhelmed with interest and amazed by the quality of the untapped talent.

NMG decided to hold a DJ competition at Stonewall to choose who the best entrants were, and so the annual event DJ Spin-Off was born.

Once again, on Sunday 13 February, eight previously unknown DJs will be selected to play it out at Stonewall for one of the six two-hour DJ slots available at this year’s outdoor dance venue.
Organisers haven’t done a count of this year’s submissions yet as the closing date was just last week, but of last year’s 30 or so entries there were DJs from interstate and around the world, with New Zealand, China and the US all being represented.

The eight finalists will be judged by party organisers on technical ability, style consistency, mixing, musical ability and crowd reaction (the comp last year attracted around 200 music fans).

There’s evidence DJ Spin-Off has really helped kick-off some DJs’ careers, said Jock McKeon, a former NMG board member who still runs the event. He said former winners include Midnight Shift regular Guy Hornsey and Ruby favourite William Silva.

For those who aren’t chosen to play at the party, most say just having the opportunity to play at Stonewall in front of a large crowd is a great experience, McKeon said.

DJ Spin-Off is on Sunday 13 February, 6pm-midnight, at Stonewall Hotel, 175 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst. Admission is with a gold coin donation.

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