Local entertainment & conference supply hero still as enthusiastic as ever despite the Pandemic

18 January 2022

West Yorkshire DJ and entertainment/events organiser Tony Sykes has achieved many of his goals over his career, and still going strong. Here, we take a look through this unbelievably interesting career so far.

Starting his love of music as a child, at just age 11 Tony became Bandsman of the year for the Acton Hall Colliery band. Following this and with little money, he slowly put together his collection of 45s and invested in a Gerrard twin deck. Once Tony left school and saved up enough money from his butcher’s job, at the tender age of 18 he decided to follow his dream, and with his supportive parents, bought a mixing dec, amps and expanded his music collection.

And so his DJ career began! Starting off at children’s parties and then moving into local pubs and clubs, Tony knew for sure that he found his passion.

In the years to follow, Tony found his niche playing in high end Golf Club lodges. It is here that he truly learned how to read the audience and end the night on a high.

As his confidence and experience grew, he also became a businessman. Tony realised that with all the gear he needed (the best of audio-visual equipment, a van etc), just working a Friday and Saturday night would not provide enough income. This is where the event organisation and management side of his career was born.

From starting and growing iconic Friday nights at the Swiss Cottage (Wentbridge), he helped invent hotel entertainment during the week, taking the Parkside Hotel in Pontefract from no entertainment income to millions. For Monday nights he created an extremely popular singles night for the over 25s and Thursday nights for the over 40s with a different set of music. With this and his Sunday nights at The Midland Hotel, Bradford, Penningtons Variety Club and Tramshed, Tony soon became known as the Mobile Maestro in the local & national press.

His next career move was taking over a failing DJ slot at Painthorpe Country Club which occurred every last Friday of the month. Using his marketing skills, Tony took the night from an audience of barely 100 to over 1500. This iconic evening survived for almost 20 years, and at the same venue a midweek ballroom evening also flourished.

You will have heard of many of the venues that Tony has held residencies. These include Garforth Hilton, The Midland Hotel Bradford, Pennington’s Variety Club, Leeds United banqueting suite, Roger Thorpe Manor, Crown Plaza Leeds, Queen’s Hotel Leeds, 0898 Nightclub Bradford and approximately 50 more.

To this day, Tony retains his full music collection in order to be able to cater to as many tastes as possible, from ballroom to Motown, from 80’s pop to the latest trends. He also still does a lot of work for The Midland Hotel in Bradford. From working as a resident DJ for many different types of events, to devising and organising full themed nights.

As his reputation amongst premium clientele has bloomed, Tony decided to add a string to his bow by training as a Professional Toastmaster. This unique service involves planning events such as weddings, balls and large gatherings and ensuring they run on time and to plan, making any speeches and announcements along the way.

Tony expresses his love for entertainment: “Music and entertainment have been my passion from childhood. I have loved every second of my career so far and still have much more to give. Customer service is top priority for me, whether the client is a venue or a couple getting married, they get the same premium treatment. Seeing people enjoying themselves is the best reward. It is the same with my conference supply – I am available 24 hours a day to solve clients’ problems.”

But of course, like many in the entertainment business, Tony Sykes Productions have taken a hit since the Covid-19 Pandemic began in early 2020.

Tony comments “As with many industries, the entertainment sector suffered massively throughout the Pandemic, not just the lockdowns. It was sole destroying watching so many events get cancelled and venues remaining closed and struggling to survive. But I have lasted this long and am not about to give up now. Humans are social creatures that like to be entertained; the industry will thrive once more!”

Tony is a true West Yorkshire legend in the entertainment industry and is known and well thought of by many.