The concept of silent discos is not uncommon abroad, and is usually reserved in the country for partying destinations like Goa. Now, Mumbaikars can get a taste of this peculiar concept as part of a multi-city electronica conference and festival that will kick-off in the city titled ‚India Goes 3D‘ at the Indo-German Urban Mela on April 20.
The organiser behind this effort, Dr Marla Stukenberg, says, „Cross Maidan falls under the silent zone of the city, therefore a „silent concert“ was most appropriate. We will be able to present the best of German and Indian electronic music in the most environmentally and culturally friendly way.“
German DJ and producer Daniel Haaksman, who has played a heady mix of baile funk, tropical bass and UK funk at silent disco parties before, says, „It’s very different from a traditional clubbing experience, where subsonic frequencies make a large part of the unique listening experience. But even without the physical body experience of bass, people dance to the music.“
As for his desi counterpart, Delhi-based DJ Gaurav Malakar (who helms the audiovisual project BLOT!) says, „Silent disco is brand now. Barring a few gigs in Goa, there haven’t been many of its kind in India. The elimination of loud speakers permits us to have performances in open spaces in the heart of the city without causing a disturbance. This will certainly be amongst the rare, if not the first, silent parties in Mumbai!“
At a silent disco event everyone is provided with a pair of wireless headphones upon entry. Through these headphones stream the live music being performed by the DJ or artist of the evening. Each pair of headphones comes equipped with a volume control knob and a mute button. Want to rock out? Crank your volume up! Want to talk to your friends? Hold the mute button down.
OK, so get it? Still skeptical? “Try it, you’ll probably love it. We love converting skeptics,” says Gayl.
Experiencing live music through the SSSS has many advantages. “You’ve got excellent sound quality no matter where you are in the venue – even in the restroom! It sounds like you’re standing right by the speakers everywhere. It’s also very easy to have a normal conversation with someone if you prefer to have a chat – no need to scream over the pounding speaker system,” says Gayl.
And how many of us have wanted to have a party but were hesitant due to the chance of noise complaints? SSSS has the answer: “It’s now possible to have a live music event at places you never could before due to loud noise restrictions and amplified sound ordinances. All that goes out the window, and the music goes directly in your ears. Whether it’s an event outdoors, or at a house party with sensitive neighbors- no noise, no problem.”
SSSS even offers the opportunity to rent the silent disco equipment to throw your own party!
Live music addicts may have experienced Silent Disco at several festivals this summer includingNateva, KahBang, Bonaroo and Camp Bisco. Or at venues throughout the Boston area including OM, Wonder Bar, The Draft, The Good Life, and the MIT sailing pavilion along the Charles River.
The press have reported this week that silent disco’s are now the in thing, saying:
‚T in the park is to follow the Glastonbury Festival into introducing a ‚Silent Disco‘ this year.
So that revellers can party through the night, clubbers at particular stages will be given headphones so they can continue to listen to music at high volume without upsetting the festivals neighbours.‘ NME Online
Is this the end of the festival as we know it?
For years now festivals have taken place across the world. For some they have proved to be a nuisance but generally only for the minority. For the festival-goer it can be the highlight of the year, with some people taking the whole family year after year, almost as a ritual or rite of passage in some cultures!
With the introduction of silent discos are we changing the social aspect of music and dance? I can’t say as I would like to share that magical moment when your favourite band, artist of song plays with a set of headphones!
I agree that it will reduce the noise level and nuisance to neighbours and enable the festivals to play later into the night but it does trouble me to think that the whole of western culture is now becoming so ’solo‘. With so many social activities now becoming available on the Internet, will our social skills gradually waste away?
There is of course a good balance to be had with Internet entertainment and face-to-face, human contact, leisure pursuits.
Let’s make sure that balance remains.
And what better than hearing the music you’re passionate about drifting across the warm summer fields!