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Time To Setup Disco

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I always ask for 1 hour to setup as a minimum....


not becuase it takes that long but becuase it gives me time to sort any problems and relax before i start..... nothing worse than setting up in a rush.


you need to try it a few times with your own setup and then add some time to it for what if's



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A few years ago it would've taken me and 2 helpers the best part of 2 hours (1 hour if we rushed it). Now it takes just me 30 mins for the majority of my gigs.


There are several things you can do to reduce set-up times.

  • Pre-wire your lighting gantry so you only have to plug the lights into it (inc DMX) and then have one lead (or joined set) down to the controller.
  • Fasten pieces of double sided velcro to the leads at suitable intervals for securing tidying leads to stands
  • Pre-install your radio mic receiver into the flightcase with your mixer.
  • Keep all the leads you use regularly in one bag or case with the back-ups in another so they don't get mixed up and have to be sorted through each time
  • Only take sufficient equipment in to the venue
  • When setting up look at everything you are doing and analyse it. Is there something you can do to make it easier/faster? Even if it means spending a couple of hours at home adapting things to save you 2 or 3 minutes each time it'll soon repay itself.
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Spot on;

Over time your equipment will evolve and you will find ways of reducing the setup time.

One of my time-savers is to leave my projectors bolted to the T bar, removing the whole top from the rest of the stand.


Try simplifying your wiring: I use what is known as a 'coffin' case, which houses my two twin CD decks and the mixer. All these are wired up to just a single mains input point, meaning it's just a case of plugging one mains lead, and the output to the amps.


Maybe look at setting up the critical components - sound source, amp and speakers first, so you can get a CD playing. This will then buy you time to wire up your lights if you are running a bit tight for time.


Anyhow, I always ask for a minimum of 1 hour to set up, although the main rig is usually operational before this. The rest of the time is spent doing sound checks and tidying up the visible wiring.


As Marc said, always allow time to sort out faulty equipment, and don't forget that some places are a pig to get in and out of.

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The quickest time ive ever set up was - 45 minutes


I agree with everything Paul said



On my basic setup now, the one im using in Greece, Setup is about half an hour. Once ive messed with the plasma tellys for karaoke.





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thank's DJ Marky Marc is it just you as it is just me. on my first time run it took me 2 hours

have you got some tips on on how to cut the time down thank's smithy


DOnt panic mate, Im sure was was all slow to begin with, the more practice you get the faster you will get at doing it.

So in addition to what the others have said about ways to reduce your setup time I will add that it just takes time to get used to it.

Me and my roadie have got everything running like a well oiled machine with setup and takedown, Im doing one bit while the roadie is doing another part, works really well.

So well in fact that I dont think I would ever want to setup on my own, would be too much like hard work and Im pretty lazy :rolleyes:



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I have to say that I struggle to set up in under an hour due to my physical disabilities. This, however, changes dramatically with the employ of a roadie with whose help I can be ready in 30-40 minutes.


Practice, as others have said, will speed you up as will the way you pack things in your car/van, pre-construction of some of your kit as Paul has pointed out and planning (with regard to which kit to take to a gig in the first place)

Phil Cunnington

Member of the LWP

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All sound advice here.


Remember, that if you are using a contract, specify that it takes you one hour from arrival at the venue. If it takes 2 hours because of poor access, then it's their fault; not yours.


I always allow one hour. I aim to be ready to start about 15 mins before the schedule start time. That's enough.

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Same as Phil, I have disabilities which mean it takes me a little longer.

I always have to use a roadie, if it's my son it takes about an hour, with my step son on Saturday it took 2 1/2 hours, that was more due to access restrictions though.

A bit of advice that hasn't been mentioned, get a trolley of some description, also flight cases help loads too.



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Hi, i am just starting to do mobile discos i wonder if you could help by telling me how long it takes you to

set up a mobile disco at a venue






Hi Smithy


I normall ask for 2 hours, I know I can FULL Set-up in 1 Hour, but every venue differs, ie, stairs, distance from van etc


By giving 2 hours it also give me time to fully test and ensure every thing is plugged in correctly


Hope it helps



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  • 3 weeks later...

First time I setup it took about 2 hours - but it was mostly sorting out all the wheat from the chaff. I'd guess at having g-clamps on lights would be quicker than bolting to the t-bars each time too, in fact when I did a set of discos in succession some of the lights were left on the t-bar and I just carried it from store-room to hall.


I think i've got it down to just over an hour. On Sunday i'll be taking two flights of narrow steps, which is going to be interesting.


I'll also take the advice above - putting main leads in one box and backups in another...




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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with all the tips - one thing that helped me when I was using light boxes was to pre-mark all the lead connectors with a dab of nail polish (or similar) - one dab on the lead connector and one dab on the corresponding lightbox connector so that everything was colour coded - red to red, purple to purple etc.


That really cut down setting up / sorting out the leads time.

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I usually ask for access at least 1.5hours before hand to give time to unload everything and set up. Music is usually playing in about 20 mins then I help my Roadie (or lighting technician as he likes to be called) finish setting up the lights, strapping down cables and tidying up. Usually all finished in about 1 hour.


Probably could do it quicker the Roadie is easily distracted and sometimes starts faffing around with other things.

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Depending on the function requirements, I've stated that the minimum time required is 1 hour to set up.

Have set-up the Speakers, Plasmas, leads and Decks in under 20 mins. Still took 30 mins to find the right room and get changed! :wall:

One hour is not always ideal for a wedding program - say due to the venue, E.g. room has to be cleared before the disco can set up and the timings maybe running late, etc so I'll always discuss with the client their Reception program first and address time windows for safely setting up, confirm access to the room, etc.

Happy to set-up / store kit on site the day before where possible and I'll happily be on site two hours before everyone else which is reassuring for the client on their special day. ;)


Appreciate the help of a roadie and find that the gear being flight-cased really helps.

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