DIY your own house party

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iol life dec 29 ny eve party


Why not round up your friends and host a New Year's Eve party at home? Picture: RAJESH JANTILAL

For most of us New Year’s Eve is often an anti-climax. This year, why not round up your friends and host a New Year’s Eve party at home?

Dillon Jearey has been creating parties since 2001 – first as a DJ and over the last seven years as the MD of Kilowatt AV, an event production and technical support house.

Here’s his advice on how to arrange three essential elements for any party - music, visuals and lighting – for under R500.


According to Dillon, DJs are great for the entertainment factor and for reading the crowd but if the budget doesn’t allow for one then ask your guests to pre-compile playlists on their phones.

“Delegate the sundowner, party and after-party sets to different people or play the lists at random. The best thing is that everyone’s favourite song will play at some point in the night so you know that there’ll always be someone on the dance-floor.

“For a simple solution download playlists from Soundcloud or create your own from SIMFY (, a legal music portal.

“For R60 per month you can download as many songs or albums as you like. Subscription can be on a month-to-month basis and you don’t need a credit card – you can opt to be billed directly to your cellphone account.”



Dillon says that if you already have speakers it’s not necessary to rent more. “You can buy a R50 cable from any AV shop and connect your laptop or phone to your home speakers. However if you want bigger sound, you can hire an excellent sound set-up from any local sound and AV company. All you need is one JBL Eon 15” powered speaker and a mini-jack audio cable for great sound for up to 50 people in a small room.”


Visual effects for the dance floor

These days dance parties aren’t only about music, lights and décor. Professional visual-jockeys (VJs) create a heightened effect with images that are synced to the style and timing of the music.

“Creating an awesome dance-floor shouldn’t cost you more than R20 for the equipment and a bit extra for some internet data. Search for VJ loops or ‘club visuals’ that complement your choice of music on YouTube.

“Choose ones that are an hour or longer so you don’t have to constantly play VJ. Then rent a cable from an AV company and connect your PC to your TV.”



“Besides dimming the lights and lighting some candles, Strobe Light is a free and fun sound-to-light syncing iphone app that creates the sense of professional event lighting. Ask all your guests to download the app and (if they’re willing to part from their phones) place them around the room and to give you a great basic ‘disco’ lighting effect.”


The finishing touches

Lastly Dillon says, “To create a real ‘club’ vibe nominate someone to act as the door person and arm them with a clipboard and guest list, have an official stamp made and offer welcome drinks.

“Ask everyone to bring snacks and something to drink, clear the furniture to create a designated dance-floor and for better party flow make sure that the bar is near the dance-floor. And then just enjoy – it’s a party after all!”

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