A&B Productions, Inc. 2006
Crowd Control

Over the years we have been asked about how to better control the crowd at dances.  The following are some ideas and answers that we have found work.

Rules/Warnings – School Responsibility

Ideas for Better Crowd control for Teenage crowds.  First of all, kids need to know the rules of the dance before they arrive.  If slam dancing or “moshpits”, or dirty dancing “freak dancing”, PDA = Public display of Affection, and or if dress code problems are not acceptable than these rules need to be explained to the kids before they arrive.  (Note: What is dirty dancing? Dancing to close during a faster pace song, bumping, and in some cases straddling, grinding or humping while dancing.) These rules can be posted where the kids buy their tickets or explained to them over the intercom during school.  Or another way is to stop the dance at the beginning of the dance and explain the rules at that point.  Either way the kids need to know the punishment for behavior before the event.  Evan though I don’t support any of the above, it’s not fair to the kids that they should be thrown out of an event without proper understanding of the rules.  Furthermore, when the rules are explained, the punishments and or if warnings apply should be explained.  When the behavior is noticed the kids need to be either warned immediately by the administration at the event or punished.

Responsibility/feedback – School/Entertainment Responsibility
  
          Another question often asked is who or what is responsible for the behavior of the kids and who needs to take care of it?  Is it the Entertainment company’s? Is it the School administration’s? Is it the Chaperon’s? 
            We at A&B Productions have been asking these questions as well as how can we be more effective is controlling the crowd for the past 5 years or ever since behavior problems started.  In the 80s, we had problems with kids fighting at the dances, in the early 90’s, slam dancing, mainly with the guys has been an issue.  Than in the late 90s, dirty, freak, or grinding became a problem. 
We have addressed the issue at many student conferences and asked kids what we could do to help control the problem.  The kids that participate in the problem obviously do not want us the control it and are upset when we try.  The kids that are against it, will not participate in it but will not stop it.  At Hillcrest High school several years ago, some young men that were against it tried to help with the problem by starting a club that was called the anti-freak-dance – club.  And that seemed to help at least to a certain extent.  Some of the feedback we received from kids were: “we are just dancing, nothing more”, “my older brother/sister does it”, one comment we got from a student in Idaho Falls area was that “if we do it and the girl let’s us or participates, it will help us get some more after the dance”. This bothered me allot after the conference and wanted to do more.  We were not asked to do this we just felt like it needed to be addressed.  We started experimenting with all kinds of music, from oldies to 80s to R&B to country.  We found that the music didn’t have a large effect on the kids, maybe to some extent.  However, we felt like the kids that wanted to grind or freak dance, were going to do it no matter what music was on.  We also started to announce it more and try to stop individuals or groups of kids and it worked for a while.  The kids would either go somewhere where we couldn’t see them or continue when we were not looking. The more we announced it, the more the dance would go down hill, meaning the energy or mood would slowly go away until kids eventually would leave.  Furthermore, the more we would ask the kids to behave, the less they wanted to dance and participate in activities we planned with the kids.  Over the last couple of years we also had the administrator at the event explain the rules of the dance at the beginning of the dance.  The punishment was one warning and than the dance would be over.  This I felt did help the problem, and we did on a couple of occasions send the kids home early.  And I felt it did help the problem with future dances, however, the attendance went down at the events.  I don’t know if the no tolerance policy had anything to do with that but I defiantly feel it effected the attendance. 
            I guess in answering the question who’s responsible?  My answer is that we all have to take some of the responsibility. 

School                                                Entertainment

  1. Explaining the rules               1. Understanding the Rules
  2. Punishments                            2. Have contact with the Administration during the event
  3. Warnings                                 3. Keeping music clean and edited
  4. Stopping the behavior           4. Provide some appropriate lighting - par cans, etc.  
  5. Helping Chaperons                5. Be in support of the Rules – not blaming the school          
  6. Dress Code                             6. Informing the Administrator

7.   Providing rules to the DJ      7. Help Enforce the rules

            I did some research with other parts of the country to find out what other schools were doing.  I found out that some schools did away with there activities.  I thought to myself why?  The only place for kids to have a possible clean atmosphere would be a school function. Why not try some rules and help kids rather than just let them find their own entertainment. 
            I also feel, and also having kids of my own, that kids will find out how serious we are and test the system as much as they can.  If we don’t have the guts to enforce the rules, than the kids will continue with the inappropriate behavior and nothing will stop them.  We have to Explain, Warn, and Follow through with the Punishments.  If we don’t, the behavior will continue.  And this needs to start in the Jr. High and Middle schools.  Some kids get into high school and have never been told what they were doing was inappropriate, but that it must be ok.  So when they are told it’s inappropriate, they are even more upset.  The Rules need to start today.

Entertainment

          Over the years, I hear allot about DJ’s in my area as well as all over the country.  The DJ’s need to be informed of the rules too.  They shouldn’t be at the school because their price is the best or they offer this or that.  They need to be responsible as well with the kinds of music and the example they show.  Recently, I was at a dance in Eastern Idaho that our company was not doing the entertainment and the fellow doing the music had a dance contest.  This was great that he was interacting with the crowd, however he awarded 3 individuals that were grinding each other as a threesome.  This encouraged everyone else to grind for prizes.  Another dance one of my staff attended a few months ago, the DJ announced that he didn’t have a problem with it, but the school had a policy with inappropriate dancing.  He made sure that the kids knew that it wasn’t him but the school.  At another Jr. high dance recently, a DJ played a song called My Humps. (I think allot of DJ’s think: well it doesn’t swear so it’s ok!) The song repeatedly talks about inappropriate dancing and sex.  Again, the DJ needs to enforce the rules and can’t just do what is popular.  If the DJ and school don’t work together than it won’t work.  But the School needs to either explain the rules to the DJ or find DJ’s that have similar interests. 

Alcohol/Drugs – School Responsibility

At almost every dance we go to we are seeing kids who have been drinking and or are drunk.  It’s a little harder for us to notice kids that might have been using drugs unless we come in direct contact with them.  When it come to kids who have been drinking or show up drunk, this problem should be taken care of at the door where they have to pay to get in by a school administrator.  Sometimes I find that schools will let anyone in because its an extra 3 bucks to be made.  What they don’t realize is that the 3 dollar profit could be eaten up so quickly by one fight or one problem dealing with a person who is drunk.  These kids are typically more likely to cause trouble at the dance than other students.  There needs to be some sort of law enforcement security at each dance or activity. Furthermore, we are finding that the outside doors into the event location are not being monitored at the beginning of the event and we are constantly telling kids to leave and go pay.  This is another way that kids that have been drinking or have been involved with drugs could get in.  Not only that, but you are loosing profits as well.

Inappropriate dress/Attire – School Responsibility

          Often times when we are entertaining at a school we see girls and guys who are inappropriately dressed.  If there is anything at all that will promote bad behavior is the dress.  And this includes formal, themed dances as well.  Sometimes kids will come in dressed appropriately but shed clothing and ask us to watch their stuff.  Again the monitoring administrators and chaperon’s should be keeping an eye out for inappropriately dressed individuals.  If there is a theme which causes kids to dress up, than the costumes should be approved.  We were at a Halloween dance in Logan, Utah where some girls got in, dressed in saran wrap.  At almost every formal dance, there will be a girl in a see through dress. This goes back to is the 3 dollars worth letting kids in just for some additional profit.  You need to be specific on approved attire.  When you are not specific, and leave kids to use their judgment, you will always have problems.    

School Spirit – School Responsibility

            As I mentioned above that sometimes kids are let in even if they shouldn’t be admitted for what ever reason.  Nobody wants to turn away a paying customer.  This is where the advertising, the creativity, the entertainment, and the decorations all come into play.  And more than that is the School Spirit.  How do you define School Spirit?  I have been told by a lot of schools it’s not just dances that are struggling with attendance, it’s all activities.  There is a lack of school spirit in a lot of schools today.  When there is School Spirit, there is more respect for the school and its rules.  How do you increase it?  One way is to be involved.  When the faculty and student leaders attend activities even when it’s not their activity, this increases spirit.  Pep assemblies that pump kids with school spirit, dress up days when all the faculty dress up.  Sometimes I think that student leaders try to do something and are not supported and they find out this is hard and not worth it because nobody comes, and ½ way through the year they have lost their momentum.  Student Council and other school clubs have poor attendance at their activities because they don’t have support of their advisors and or administration on attendance alone.  When I was in school I knew a lot of the faculty by first name, not because I was in trouble all the time but we were friends.  When I wasn’t in class I saw the faculty at activities and was able to get to know them better.  I also saw that they were in support of the school even when they were not teaching. When I decided to become a DJ, I never thought I would be talking about crowd control.  But because I love what I do, I want to make it better and more successful for all those involved. I guess you could say I have DJ Spirit.  I really feel school spirit will increase attendance, so one question to be asked, is how can we increase school spirit?
Music – Entertainment Responsibility

We at A&B Productions have a Strict NO PLAY list that we have come up with for the Jr. High, High School Age Group.  The songs are as follows:

  1. My Humps – Black Eye Peas
  2. Let’s talk about sex – Salt n Pepa
  3. Back that thing up – Jay Z
  4. Head Sprung – LL cool J
  5. Like a Virgin – Madonna
  6. Milk Shake – Kelis
  7. Goodies – Ciara
  8. Culo – Pit Bull
  9. Shake that - Eminem
  10. Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy – Big & Rich
  11. Salt Shaker – Ying Yang Twins
  12. Shoop – Salt n Pepa
  13. Humpty Dance – Digital Underground
  14. Candy Shop – 50 cent
  15. Magic Stick – 50 Cent
  16. Hot in Herre – Nelly
  17. Raise Up – Pede Pablo
  18. It wasn’t me – Shaggy
  19. Freak a Leak – Pede Pablo
  20. Hot ** Country Grammar – Nelly
  21. Stacy’s Mom – Fountain’s of Wayne
  22. Beer for my horses – Trace Adkins
  23. The Thong Song

Allot of the above songs we have cleaned and edited them the best we could but still feel that they are inappropriate for the Jr. High and High School age group.  For example, My Humps,  we tried to edit this song, and even though there are no swear words, the song is filled with sexual innuendos.  The only way we could play this song is by making it instrumental!  There are other songs that we have on a suggested not play list and if we do play, with good judgment only.  Not only do we buy clean edits, often the music industry doesn’t agree with us on what we feel is inappropriate.  So we at A&B Productions, edit the songs even more.  We make what we call short cuts of the songs. These are 2 minute versions and are tailored to fit a club style dance.  Some clean edits we have that would be inappropriate without a short cut version are as follows:

  1. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix Allot
  2. Get Low – Lil’ Jon

I’m sure there are more songs out there, however we have listed a few that have been requested and or have been played in the past, and are possibly being played right now at your dances by other company’s.  My suggestion is to make your own do not play list and provide it to the DJ at the dance. This way there should be no mistake.  If you are hoping that the student Body officers are going to keep you informed of any inappropriate music being played think again.  They may not request it but will not stop it either.  This is when you probably need a DJ with integrity.

Music Videos – Entertainment Responsibility

          For many years we did not have the music video option.  We felt it was too expensive, the videos were inappropriate, we didn’t want the kids watching the videos, we wanted them to be dancing. One year ago, we made our first purchase of a video screen.  This was extremely popular with all age groups.  We originally bought it for Corporate events and parties.  The High schools started asking for the screens as well.  When we purchased the music videos, the company that we purchased the video’s from did send clean videos or would note the inappropriate videos for us however, we felt that some of the videos were still inappropriate.  So we edited the edited videos again to make them more appropriate.  We put clean edited music in with the videos as well.  The videos have been a great enhancement to our show.  We find that the video’s bring more energy to the dance and gives the non-dancers something to do and still be entertained.  We also find that the inappropriate dancing seems to be more limited because the dancers periodically are looking at the screens so it interrupts the inappropriate dancing. We are finding more and more that the screens are helping dances that have themes.  We can help promote there theme and advertise up coming events for them.  
            Do music videos promote bad behavior?  From our stand point, the bad behavior has happened way before we ever had music videos.  I feel that music videos can negatively influence the kids if exposed to non edited versions and music can too if exposed to non edited versions.  We at A&B Productions are very careful about the music and video’s played.  That doesn’t mean we haven’t made mistakes.  It does mean that we are striving our hardest to keep the dances clean.  Not everything we do is popular with the kids and with the adults.  But we are doing the best we can. 

Additional ways to control “Freak” dancing

  1. Interactive Games
  2. Interactive Dances
  3. Prizes awarded / Prize packages
  4. Prizes tossed out – this works to some extent because kids loose their concentration on what they are doing to get the prize.  This can be prizes the DJ provides which may cost extra or stuff the school provides.  A beach ball tossed around the dance floor can cause a interruption to dancers.  Other prizes can work as well – t-shirts, etc.
  5. Single them out in front of their peers – this doesn’t always work because some kids like the attention they receive.
  6. The “Freak” Dancer’s parents are invited to the dance   
  7. Stopping the music. I think this is extreme and if the kids know the rules and understand them, this should never have to take place.
  8. Changing the music.  This can work as a temporary fix but will not fix it completely.
  9. Have administrators walk within the dancing area not just around the crowd.
  10. Spread the dj’s equipment out wide.  In other words keep the DJ’s out of Corners.  This helps keep kids more spread out and opens up the dance floor.  Sometimes inappropriate dancing occurs on accident when the crowd is so close together, and crowding to the front.

As Mentioned

  1. Administration announces rules the first hour of the dance
  2. One warning
  3. Invite the couple to leave or better yet, inform the parents and invite them to leave.  The problem with inviting them to leave is that they get to go somewhere private. Maybe have them get a private rule description by the administrator and than let back in?  When kicking them out, you are sending a couple away to a more private situation without a parent knowing where they might be, this could put a student in a worse situation that at the dance.
  4. After a warning stop the dance early and send the kids home without reimbursement of their money.  This seems harsh but the kids know you are serious.

Conclusion

          A&B Productions have been providing entertainment since 1987.  We have seen trends change and have changed with the trends or at least tried.  We have always been Pro-active in trying to work with kids and providing clean entertainment.  The following is our company standards and are very important to us. For additional information on Crowd control or if you would like us to come speak to your student council or any suggestions please call us at (208)589-6499.

These Standards are Black and white issues with us.  The Standards on the left are the benchmark of our level of quality customer service.  The Standards on the right are the real issues that we have seen taken for granted, looked over and abused in our industry.  Though we have personally witnessed each one of these standards being broken by our competitors, we are determined never to join them in their unethical behavior.  These standards were written to give us a clear guideline to work from and to provide our clients with the peace of mind they deserve when they entrust their party to our care.

----Tyler Brooks