The new trend of quiet clubbing and the silent disco
There is a new craze sweeping through Europe and it is starting to take hold of music festivals internationally- the silent disco. Say you want to get together with a group of people: some will want to stand around and talk; some will want a dance floor. A hot spot that won’t attract confrontations with police or nearby residents disturbed by loud music will not only make everyone’s life easier and provide a place to hang out, but it will offer something new and completely different to try. Thus, the silent disco comes into play.
According to the website for silent disco events, (http://www.silentdisco.com) what started from the idea of entertaining people preparing for an act, evolved into a plan for an illegal disco party using wireless headphones. The silent disco founders, Nico Okkerse and Michael Minten, birthed the idea and unveiled it in 2002 at the traveling music festival in the Netherlands called De Parade. This brilliant way of pleasing everyone without contributing to noise pollution simply involves grabbing some wireless headphones, a dance partner and heading to the dance floor. The headphones allow for comfortable music transmission only those wearing them can hear. This is without a doubt a considerate way to party but it is kind of odd and funky.
The July/August 2008 edition of Ode magazine featured a story on the silent disco which mentions, “everyone raises their hands in the air, simultaneously shouting, Ooh ooooh!’ The odd thing is, you don’t hear any music.” The accompanying picture, though, shows extremely jubilant and excited dancers all wearing headphones. So these party goers are clearly not embarrassed to be seen dancing to what looks like silence. The founder of Camping Rotterdam, Rini Biemans, is quoted in the same issue of Ode as initially finding the notion of the silent disco as “quite funny.” Yet he too was obviously intrigued by the idea enough to incorporate the silent disco into his summer festival layout.
Festivals, concerts and various other musical venues are all promoting the silent disco as a good time for all. However, the quiet concept really exploded in popularity in 2005 when all eyes were on the extremely renowned performing arts festival of Glastonbury, England. Loud music penetrating the Glastonbury air through the wee hours of the morning could have potentially ruined the festival experience not just for festival organizers and the local Glastonbury residents who get tired of the concerts from time to time, but for the festival attendees who went to the shows to do more than just hear music. It’s hard to meet new people, converse with pals and get the latest souvenirs and memorabilia if the music all around you is drowning out your words.
With such booming success, there will be a silent disco option local to you before you know it. In fact, there won’t just be a silent disco nearby. Technology companies are supplying this same wireless technology to music companies and events across the globe so that soon quiet clubbing will be a reality. Residence of densely populated cities will hold music festivals and concerts while being able to sit back and enjoy the silence.
I love to dance.
Whether I’m at a planned, themed SYR I have been looking forward to all week or a spontaneous study break dance party, I am always willing to bust a move. While my moves are not graceful, smooth or cool , the one redeeming quality of my dancing is copious enthusiasm. Whether or not the world wants to see it, I love to move my body.
So, obviously, when Allie and I decided to go to Silent Disco at Legend’s this past Saturday night, I was excited. The premise of Silent Disco forces the dancers to accept that they will look ridiculous. Silent Disco-ers don headphones and choose between two channels broadcasting the stylings of two different DJs. If any dancers takes their headphones off, they can watch a roomful of silent people dancing to different beats. Participants must accept that they will be part of this ridiculous set-up. Basically, Silent Disco forces everyone to approach dancing as I always approach dancing: abandon any semblance of caring about what onlookers think.
Allie and I, along with the friends we coerced into going with us, arrived at Legend’s at about 12:30 am. The scene when we got there was a little pathetic — about 11 people silently (and awkwardly) dancing. This sight did not deter my enthusiasm. I grabbed a pair of headphones and tuned in.
The beauty of any ill-attended Legend’s night is the huge amounts of space you have to break it down. Unlike a crowded dorm party or an SYR where all attendees feel the need to dance as close together as possible, Legend’s provides copious amounts of dancefloor when there are only 15 people in attendance. With my headphones on and the dance floor clear, I danced it out to song after song. I looked completely foolish, and I loved every second of it.
If you choose to participate in the glory that is Silent Disco, however, do me a favor and do not sing along to the music. We had the honor of hearing the vocal stylings of a very drunken group of boys. While I understand that most Notre Dame students belt out “Livin’ on a Prayer” every chance they get, the glory of Silent Disco was ruined by the attempted harmonizing of these inebriated fellows. I was busy shakin’ it to the electronic beats of the other channel and hearing their dulcet tones over my own channel threw me out of my dancing zone.
If you do choose to participate in the spectacle of Silent Disco, there are some key steps to maximizing your fun. First, choose to go with a group of people who will enjoy it. These friends must either be unafraid of looking ridiculous or be easily coaxed into looking ridiculous. Secondly, if you are of age, go with a bit of a buzz. Don’t go so smashed that you will become those kids who sing aloud to every song, but a slight social lubricant can only help overcome the initial barrier of awkward. Finally, come prepared to show off a wide variety of dance moves. The white guy head bob or the awkward step-tap-wave-your-hands will simply not cut it. Need inspiration? Watch Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” music video. Realize that Robyn is in her 40s. Aspire to her give-no-cares style of aggressive dancing.
Although Allie may try to convince you that Silent Disco was a