In every sense of the phrase, Midwest DJ Productions is truly a family business.
Started in 2005 by the Kenosha husband-and-wife duo of Diego and Dianna Villalobos, Midwest DJ Productions has steadily grown over the years to where it now provides DJ and entertainment services for 60-plus events a year, including weddings, special events, corporate events and festivals.
Today, Diego and Dianna’s three sons – Romeo, 24, CJ, 22, and Angelo, 18 – all help out with the business in some form or another.
But there’s another up-and-coming DJ in the family who may surpass them all when it comes to turntable talent.
That’s because Diego and Dianna’s 3-year-old granddaughter is already preparing for the family business.
“She’s actually training to be a DJ herself,” Dianna said with a laugh in a phone interview this week.
And what’s she spinning already at such a young age?
“Right now, she’s doing Kidz Bop,” Diego said. “She’ll be graduating to a different job probably in a few years.”
With all that pedigree, it seems as if Midwest DJ Productions is in great hands for the future. And it’s doing just fine today, of course, with its biggest event of the year scheduled for this weekend.
This Saturday and Sunday (July 29 and 30), Midwest DJ Productions is presenting the third annual Midwest Mix Fest at the Kemper Center’s Faulkner Building outdoor grounds, 6501 Third Ave. The event, a music, art and foods festival that will be hosted by Koerri Elijah and will feature more than 20 DJs, runs from 3 to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 2 to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Tickets are $10 per day – that fee is just a donation – with children under 18 admitted free. All proceeds will benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a pediatric cancer research foundation.
For more details on Midwest Mix Fest, click HERE.
For their work in putting together Midwest Mix Fest and all they’ve provided for Kenosha and its surrounding communities through Midwest DJ Productions, Diego and Dianna Villalobos have been named this week’s Kenosha.com Kenoshans of the Week.
For Diego, his successful DJing career began at Washington Middle School, which was referred to as Washington Junior High School when he attended in the late 1990s.
“They needed a volunteer for the dances, and I volunteered,” said Diego, who goes by the name “DJ Diego Lobo” and will be performing Saturday night at Midwest Mix Fest, when asked how he got started in DJing. “That’s kind of what got me passionate about the DJ industry.
“… I had some mentors. I wouldn’t say self-taught, but I did a lot of research, and I kind of figured out how to DJ. So it’s been a passion of mine since school.”
“We actually met in high school, when I was 16 and he was 15,” Dianna said. “So we’ve been together for 25 years now.”
Dianna graduated from Bradford in 1999 and Diego followed a year later in 2000. They started a family and were married in 2009.
In the meantime, the Villaloboses started Midwest DJ Productions in 2005. It was something they did part-time at first, but in 2017, after Dianna had received a formal marketing education, Diego said the business really became a full-time thing and grew to what it is today.
Diego and Dianna both agreed that he handles most of the DJing end of things and she handles most of the marketing and promotion. But they now each do a little bit of everything for Midwest DJ Productions, which is presently in between office locations after previously being located in the top floor of Kenosha Creative Space.
“We’re doing a lot of cross-training, where Dianna’s actually out there doing gigs on her own,” Diego said.
Added Dianna: “We basically cross-trained each other.”
With Diego and Dianna working in tandem, Midwest DJ Productions’ footprint has expanded throughout the area. Diego said they have worked events as far north as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and as far south as Texas.
Diego fondly recalled the wedding he DJed for in the Upper Peninsula, at Munising, which provides an example of how Midwest DJ Productions’ reputation has developed throughout a big area.
“The groom, he’s actually a DJ himself from Detroit,” Diego said. “Apparently, his parents are from Milwaukee. Somehow, they heard about us. It was a really, really cool wedding. He wanted me to play all vinyl records, and he wanted me to play his personal collection.
“So he really needed to find the right man for the job, and because we offer that, we were able to provide what he wanted. It was one of my favorite weddings of all-time. I had a blast doing that. It was outdoors next to Lake Superior.”
From starting Midwest DJ Productions in 2005 to making it a full-time business in 2017 to now, Diego and Dianna Villalobos have obviously established a great reputation through their talent and hard work.
“We always had intentions of growing the business and providing good service, but we never thought that we would get so much support from the community and so much support from other businesses, and just leaders of the community, in the way that we’re growing,” Diego said. “And then also other industry members, DJs, they’ve shown a lot of support and are so willing to work with us.
“It feels great, it definitely does.”
Growing electronic music
In that regard, Diego says one of his main objectives with Midwest DJ Productions is to provide the area with more musical and entertainment diversity.
In addition to being a great charity fundraiser, this weekend’s Midwest Mix Fest gives Kenoshans a great opportunity to check out many talented DJs.
“We feel that Kenosha does a great job with entertainment, but we also feel that there is a missing piece in the options that we get,” Diego said. “We do get a lot of live instruments and really cool indie and folk and rock, but there’s not as many electronic music options. You don’t see as many DJs as you do when you go to — for instance, we went to the Milwaukee County Fair, they had DJs everywhere you go.
“That’s something that you don’t see as much down here in Kenosha. So we’re trying basically just to show Kenosha DJ culture, give Kenoshans another option and educate folks on what DJ culture is all about.”
Especially with an ever-increasing number of visitors coming to Kenosha – in many cases moving here – from the Chicago area, it’s important for the city to present musical diversity.
“People want it,” Diego said. “There’s more and more folks coming from Chicago. On social media, I follow a lot of the DJs from Chicago. … There’s always DJs throwing down, famous DJs with huge followings.
“… So we need that same culture here, because I feel that people want it, people like it. Folks enjoy DJs as much as they do bands.”
Culture and family
In addition to promoting the DJ culture, Diego and Dianna Villalobos are heavily involved in supporting the Latino and Hispanic communities. Kenosha, of course, has a large Latino and Hispanic population and has always been extremely enriched by their people and culture.
Diego and Dianna Villalobos helped to found Kenosha’s Festival Orgullo Hispano in 2021 and hope to start more similar events in the area.
Diego was born in Costa Rica before his family moved here in 1990. Dianna herself is originally from just down the road in Waukegan, Ill., but she has family roots in Mexico and Texas.
“It’s very important that we don’t forget about the Latino community,” Diego said. “We’re growing here in Kenosha. I’ve been very involved with the Hispanic community since I was a kid. When I first moved to the United States back in 1990, I didn’t know a lick of English, and the Latino community was the community that was there for us, that helped us with the transition.
“… It’s always important that we don’t forget the Latino community, and it’s important that we represent for ourselves, for our food, our music, that we show others really how beautiful our culture is, and how delicious our foods and how beautiful our people are.”
In terms of their own family, Diego and Dianna Villalobos’ three sons all help out with Midwest DJ Productions but also have their own special talents and interests.
Their oldest son, Romeo, is a DJ but is also a performer in his own right.
“He does some of the local festivals and some of the local shows around here,” Diego said. “He’s very involved with the indie scene. He’s also going to be DJing at Midwest Mix Fest.”
Their middle son, CJ, is going to school for business management and was in charge of organizing the volunteers for Midwest Mix Fest.
And their youngest son, Angelo, is going to school for photography and videography and will be the videographer for Midwest Mix Fest.
As for Diego and Dianna, they have managed to build a successful business in Midwest DJ Productions while being a close-knit couple the entire time. When asked what the most difficult part is of being a husband and wife and also working together, they both laughed with their answers.
But it truly is a partnership that was meant to be.
“The best part of working with my spouse is … working with my spouse,” Dianna said. “Actually, I love everything about it.
“… We both have our strengths and weaknesses.”
Says Diego: “We (did) an interview (Monday). They called us the ‘Dynamic Duo.’ … We work together well.”