LAL Summer Schools Disco Equipment Procedure

Operating the Disco Equipment

To offer LAL more flexibility within our programme, it has been decided that our Leisure team will run their own discos and events throughout the course. To this end, each site now has the exclusive use of some very technical and expensive equipment so it is imperative that the utmost of care and awareness is applied at all times.


Basic Principles

The Leisure Manager/Activity Manager and Leisure Co-ordinator/Activity Co-ordinator will be ultimately responsible for this equipment and are to speak with the Summer School Operations Manager Summer Schools Acting General Manager if they have any queries. They are then to permit use of the equipment to a small predetermined group of staff (no more than 5) who will always be ultimately responsible for all the equipment.

During the staff induction, Leisure Managers/Activity Managers will have the opportunity to get to know the activity staff and ascertain any skills/knowledge that will help them in their roles. If you have staff with experience of using disco equipment, they are the perfect candidates for DJing at disco nights and taking care of the equipment.

All discos must have one of the above members taking control and responsibility of the setup, maintenance, operation and pack up of all equipment.

Other staff are to only use this equipment if being monitored by the above staff members.

Students are to NEVER touch the equipment. There will be 3.5mm plugs allowing the DJ to play their songs off any portable music device/phone and this is the only time a student should ever be within two meters of the equipment.

If there is a problem with any of the equipment, contact the Summer Schools Operations Manager immediately.


Setting up the Area

As well as the value and delicate nature of the equipment, it is also critical that any staff responsible take full awareness for the safety issues this may present.

  • All cords, wires and cables must be away from any traffic areas, tied together where appropriate and kept completely free from liquids.
  • The DJ area must have clearly marked out boundaries preventing students from getting within two meters of the equipment unless they have specific permission.
  • The Speaker and Lighting stands must be double checked to ensure that they are secure and that all locks are tight. There must be no obstacles that could be knocked on to them within reach and any cabling running from them must be tied/taped down securely.
  • The fog machine must never be touched by any staff or students when it is being used or for the following 15 minutes as it will be hot. Only use enough fog to show the lights and cover the centre dance area. There is no need to fill the room and some people find this uncomfortable.


The Equipment


The Mackie 400 watt RMS are very lightweight for their loud output and because of this it is important that they are never pushed too hard. The dials on the back must always be set to the middle (12 o’clock) as the mixer will do all the work with base/treble etc. The speakers themselves must then never be set to full volume through the mixer either as this can cause them to pop. You will be able to tell when they are struggling. The speakers need a lot of power to run and must have their own plug directly into the wall (for both) and cannot be part of a 2/4/6 plug board that is also running other equipment. The stands are important as they will ensure that the sound fills the room and is not muffled by the crowd.


These speakers are also able to act as a stand alone PA unit and can take any music device, microphone, guitar etc. directly at their rear. This will be useful for many occasions, however they must remain in their covers.

The speaker cords must always be folded into the compartment at the rear and the covers must always be used.



Each school will start with two basic lighting units. A LED Pulse that will have both circular patterns of multi-colour moving lights and a strobe light in between (which can be turned off if required) and a small laser light that will provide an impressive display for its size. Both these units react to sound. They must both be attached to the lighting stand to ensure they are secure and they are turned off by simply unplugging them. The Laser Light has a few simple options at the rear which dictate the speed of its cycle.

Please ensure they are kept in their boxes with their cables when not in use.


Fog Machine

As the lights are quite basic, this adds a great new element by highlighting the beams as well. There will be a five litre bottle of the fuel and this should last the summer. Contact the Summer Schools Operations Manager if you are running low. Please fill the fog machine to about 66% full at the beginning of each disco and there is no need to empty this until after its final use. It will get hot and it should always be placed in a safe area away from all.


Decks and Mixer

Hopefully each centre will have someone who knows what they are doing with decent mixers. These were purchased for their ability to be very easy to use at a basic level and also able to entertain much more complex tricks. If you are unsure, speak with the Summer Schools Operations Manager. They will take both CD and USB directly into them and the mixer will have two 3.5mm plugs so that any device with a 3.5mm plug can also be used.