Wedding DJs Head To Milton Keynes For Think Tank Event
Over the past two days (Sunday the 2nd and Monday the 3rd of April), a group of around 30 proactive DJs gathered at the Hilton Hotel in Milton Keynes for the final ‘Wedding DJ Think Tank’ event organized by DJ trainer and mentor Derek Pengelly.

Running across two days, the Think Tank involved a series of educational sessions presented by well-known DJs as well as lots of opportunities for networking and idea sharing. Having already hosted similar gatherings in Reading and Glasgow, this was the final event to be organised by Derek Pengelly. Having spent many years championing DJ education through books, workshops, mentoring, and other avenues, Derek announced at the beginning of 2017 that he will be retiring at the end of the year. This not only means that he will be hanging up his headphones as a DJ, but also that he will no longer host workshops and other training sessions. With no other events planned for the rest of the year, this effectively made the Milton Keynes Think Tank Derek’s ‘Swan Song’.

Hosted by Derek, alongside fellow wedding DJ Alan Marshall, the two days proved to be a big success and a fitting finale for his career as a DJ trainer. Summing up the feelings of all those who were present, attendee Gavin Vaclavik had this to say about his experience, “I was pretty sure the Think Tank would be a great learning opportunity, and I wasn't disappointed. I learnt so much and was very comfortable in the friendly atmosphere. It was great to catch up with people I already knew, and also to make new friends. Worth every penny!”

The first day of the Think Tank featured educational presentations from Derek himself alongside Brian Mole, Fabio Capozzi, Pete Hawkins, Stephen John Davies, Harry Kilb, and Martin Keogh – who had made the journey from Ireland especially to attend the event. The day then ended with an ‘Open Mic’ session where attendees had a chance to share their own views and to ask specific questions of any of the day’s speakers.

“It was not only an honour to be part of the Wedding DJ Think Tank journey (Reading, Glasgow, and Milton Keynes), but to be there and be part of the final ever Derek Pengelly training workshop,” enthused Martin Keogh after the event. “I have learnt so much from my UK peers, so it was only fitting that I share some of the madness and lunacy, as well as the fun and spotlight moments, back with you! After playing my testimonial from Erica & Asa, to have grown men come to me and say they had tears in their eyes, means a lot. I really hope my presentation got across the dedication and effort I put into my weddings, and encouraged everyone in the room to be as real, honest, and loving as they can be. The only thing that can top true hard work, is a true heart!”

It seems that he did achieve this goal, as wedding DJ Paul Allen – who attended both days of the event – singled out Martin’s presentation as a particular highlight. “Exciting is the best way to describe the two day Think Tank in Milton Keynes. I have been in the entertainment industry for over 30 years and it takes something very special to render me speechless... AND it did exactly that. In particular, Martin Keogh's presentation was absolutely inspirational. THANK YOU!"

The second day involved another packed schedule of sessions featuring presentations from Mark Parker, Ian Forest, Euan Bass, Terry Lewis, Paul Taylor, and Tony Winyard. With talks covering every aspect of running a wedding DJ business, attendees left inspired, but also with lots of practical ideas to implement over the coming weeks and months.

“Speaking to, and being in the room with, a bunch of DJs who obviously care about providing the best day possible for their couples was an absolute pleasure,” reflected speaker/attendee Stephen John Davies. There is a proven link between highly talented, highly paid DJs and training! All of this pulled together by the godfather of the modern DJ, Mr Derek Pengelly.”

The calibre of speakers throughout the whole two days was exceptionally high, as was summed up by Euan Bass, in his own inimitable style, “I attended the Think Tank in Milton Keynes on the Monday, it highlighted the quality of the DJs/Speakers in the UK. USA, we are on our way to show you a thing or two!”

Although Derek Pengelly is stepping down for retirement, his legacy is sure to continue through the many DJs – and now presenters – who he has inspired and trained. Look out for an invigorated mobile DJ learning programme at BPM | PRO this year, as well as details of the 2018 Pro Mobile Conference coming soon.

Published: 04 April 2017