The best thing we have done with our school dances is buying scaffolding. We bought the portable Bil-Jax system. It’s not always easy, nor fun, to pack and load, but it has saved our backs!
Even with low-lying crank stands, you still need a chair to reach up to the truss in a comfortable position. Rather than getting up and down every two feet (which strains your back and knees and can wear you out quicker), the scaffolding can hold you and a few lights. Not to mention that you can grab the trussing and use it to push your scaffolding alongside it. You can already imagine how much time this will save as well.
Buy tote bags for your extensions (especially the 5′ DMX) and hang them on the sides of the scaffolding so you have easy access to your cables, tie wraps, tools, etc.
As a bonus, you can use the Scaffolding as a cart. Set it at a low level and you can bring your speakers and most of your lights in one trip! This has reduced our overall load-in time by half and setup time by almost 25%!
You can even use two scaffolding rigs in lieu of speaker stands. Drape the scaffolding and place your tops on it (securely) and you have instant speaker stands that are more secure. Please do not place the speakers ON the poles of the scaffolding; I’m talking the flat surface itself. Make sure to paint the scaffolding black so it blends better. While I’ve only done this a handful of times, I’ve seen many other DJs do it, including my good friend, Johnny Dee of Ambassador Entertainment in the NE region.
We use BilJax scaffolding. It’s easy to set up and break down, it’s durable as it’s taken a lot of abuse, and it’s easy to maneuver. The wheels roll smoothly and they lock. All it takes is two out of four wheels to be locked to keep it from moving around if you’re going to stay stationary for a bit, but once all 4 wheels are locked, it’s not moving anywhere at all.
I’ve often thought about putting two together for makeshift staging. I just need to find out how much weight it could handle. This stuff is so versatile, you could use it for several parts of your setup! Scaffolding has MANY purposes, so explore as much as you can!
Keep in mind that this is not going to fit in a minivan, but if you’re doing school dances, you will need something bigger. If you have a trailer or a cargo van, the the load in will be much easier.
Remember: SAFETY FIRST! Follow all instructions and warnings. Pay attention to the weight limit and always give yourself 20% headroom. Make sure that the beams are LOCKED in or your scaffolding WILL collapse! Just like anything else, this is 100% safe until you cut corners.
Filed Under: School Dances
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