What Can You Do When the Room is Setup Just Plain Wrong?

Generalities

Look. Even when every conceivable measure is taken to cover the bases with repeated instructions and written memos, the unexpected twist can still slap you in the face. And when an inconvenient and complicated scenario rears its head, what do you do? How do you react? Speaking for myself, I have to remember to ask myself, "Is it insurmountable and if not, is there another way to skin the cat?" Well, IF I can remain calm, take a breath and keep my wits about me, maybe I can see what needs to be done to overcome the unforeseen obstacle without too much dismay. Then I can "bite the bullet" and forge ahead. Do I have a choice? No. Not if I want to deliver the goods as promised. In circumstances like these, I rarely possess the real, required degree of poise and invariably get flustered. I try to control myself, and not fuss and fume too much. Losing my control and temper is bad for those around me, and hence bad for me too.

Specifics

With 250 people in one big room, and with the expectations high for well-conceived and effectively-delivered room-wide focus and entertainment, I had mandated how the room needed to be set up. Everyone, from the bride and groom to the folks in charge of the facility were well-informed. There were no uncertain terms: head table on one side, guest tables in a large semicircle extending from either side of the head table, big opening in the middle containing the dance floor to also serve as the central focal point, DJ/MC situated within the circle, either facing the head table or to one side of the head table—a viable layout. One Bose tower would be ideal for a nice, balanced sound, I'd have easy access to the focal point, standing with my back to my gear, and I'd always be able to see everything and everybody. Ideal.

Uh-oh!

Stepping inside the banquet hall, everything is set up with precise exactitude. With great attention to detail, it looks beautiful. There's a circular cluster of posh, decorated tables and chairs, spaced around a huge dance floor. The long, impressive head table is situated in front of the far wall, and on the other side of the dance floor is an enormous wedding cake. But...SLAP! Ow! My face! They forgot to set an area for "the DJ!" "The DJ" has been replaced by a cake. And just yesterday, I had reiterated everything with the hall's coordinator. Unfortunately, the groom's mother, who had personally baked and decorated the wonderful wedding cake, had never gotten the message. Now where am I supposed to set up? There's no room left! Okay. One of the banquet staff is pointing out that a table on the other side of the hall on the OUTSIDE of the circle, behind clusters of tables and chairs framing that gigantic cake, is for "the DJ." Here I am getting paid a handsome fee, responsible for presenting a specially-crafted reception agenda containing a host of selected, special activities along with the bride and groom's hopes that their 250 guests will be engaged and entertained, and I am relegated to an inconsequential after-thought and placed outside the circle! I am serving as Master of Ceremonies AND Music Host. How am I going to direct the proceedings without wending my way around the cake and through the cluster of tables and chairs? Well, I'll just have to do so as smoothly as possible. But here's the real real concern and the real challenge. How am I supposed to set up the sound?

Grabbing the Bull's Horns

Situated as I was, outside the circle, with so many tables of wedding guests directly in front of me and so far away from the head table, it was obvious one or even several Bose Towers near my console would never work. There was only one alternative. I just had to set up and send a wireless signal to two wide-dispersion, full-range speakers against the far wall, high on stands, behind either side of the long head table. I'd situate them so music and miked voices would waft over the head table and project the sound out into the large room. I'd use a Bose Tower next to my console at a low volume, which would actually provide a surround sound effect, but being Bose, wouldn't be uncomfortably loud for those immediately in front of me. It worked. Yes, for awhile I harbored resentment, but I fortunately also had enough time and was able to wrestle this bull to the floor. Or, in line with all these old metaphors, I ended up skinning the cat from the other side. That is...from the other side of the room.

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