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NOTE: This is one of several newspaper articles I wrote about the Valley Music Sound & Light Show, a mobile DJ business we operated from 1976 through 1992. The two pictures in this article were taken at the dance described but did not appear in the newspaper. We officially got out of the DJ business in 1992.

by Mike Blakesley

Originally published around 1988
in the Forsyth Independent-Enterprise

As you may know, besides being in the movie business and the writing business and the retail business, I am also a dance music DJ. Along with the Valley Music Sound & Light Show crew, I've been doing dances around this area for longer than I sometimes like to admit.

Usually, things run smoothly. However, sometimes we have near-disasters, such as the time we played Plevna last spring. Herewith, a chronology of the fracas:

1:00 I make final preparations to leave the Roxy Theatre in the capable hands of my employees. Then I pick up crew member Ray Deering, and we jump in the Valley Music van and prepare to hit the road.

1:05 Van won't start.

1:30 We've "jumped" the van, checked the gas tank, the battery, and several other essentials. Nothing. Drive to Ray's house to get his truck.

1:45 Sound & Light equipment won't all fit into Ray's truck. We scramble to find another vehicle, coming up with my dad's Ford Ranger, and load the rest of the stuff into it.

2:15 Finally loaded, we leave town an hour behind schedule.

3:00 Stop at McDonald's in Miles City for some "Chicken McNuggets."

3:05 McNuggets are cold.

3:45 As I'm driving behind Ray down the highway, our aluminum step ladder blows out of his pickup. It lands on the highway, skids past the Ranger, and almost causes a car behind me to hit the ditch. The ladder survives with a few bent legs.

4:20 We arrive at Plevna. People at Plevna High School have been panicking because we're late.

6:30 Setup of equipment is going well. I start plugging in lights. A kid asks me if I'm the guitarist.

6:31 Fuse blows. Lights out. I start looking for short circuits.

6:35 With the help of a schoolteacher, we find the breaker box down a hall, around a corner and in a storage closet. We move some of our lights to a different outlet.

6:40 Fuse blows again. Move more lights.

6:45 Fuse blows a third time. We begin to think that all those people who keep telling us the lights really aren't necessary, might have a point.

7:00 Finally we talk to a janitor who informs us that he can't even run the "big vacuum cleaner" in this room without blowing the breakers. We find another outlet, on a different circuit, in a room down the hall 200 feet from the gymnasium.

7:30 Setup complete! The dance begins, and is a roaring success. We breathe easier.

12:00 midnight: The dance is over. We tear down, and head for home at 1:30 AM. We decide to park Ray's truck full of equipment in my garage for the night.

1:50 AM: Arrive home. Truck won't fit in my small garage. We put it in my parents' garage.

THE NEXT DAY...11:00 AM: We go to pick up Ray's truck to unload it. It has a flat tire. I am also informed by my mother that the ice machine and the pop machine at the theatre broke down while I was gone.

Oh, well. I guess if there weren't these kinds of problems, it would be too boring to be show business.

Here's a picture of our DJ equipment (before the CD era took over!)