Silent Disco is precisely what it sounds like: a silent dance party of revolutionary proportions. All music will be provided through wireless headphones only. Thus, the Silent part of the Disco. DJ Uplifter, and DJ Thunder along with DJ J Boogie, Motion Potion, DJ Segue and our own DJ Big Styles will be providing the sounds to keep the floors squeaking all night.
Basically, here’s how it’s going down tonight at Cervantes Other Side: When you show up at the door, each participant is given a pair of headphones for the night, and each unit is equipped with a toggle switch allowing you to switch between the deejay of your choice throughout the evening. This is very cool shit, and as with most cool shit, there is a price. Tickets for the Silent Disco are $20 at the door and this event is 21+up.
When the Bayimba International Festival of the Arts premiered three years ago, the public didn’t welcome it with open arms.
In fact, there were less than 100 people in attendance. In 2009, the organisers went back to the drawing board and included the silent disco on their menu.
At a silent disco, people dance to music listened to on wireless headphones. Rather than using a speaker system, music is broadcast via an FM-transmitter with the signal being picked up by wireless headphone receivers.
Those without headphones hear no music, giving the effect of a room full of people dancing to nothing. Awesome. The reception the silent disco received that year at Bayimba was overwhelming that they ran out of headphones.
Due to that success, Ali Allibhai of Talent 256, a company that promotes musicians, picked up the idea and decided to make it a regular on the Kampala entertainment scene.
“We are going to be having it every three months because it is not something that you can have constantly, people will lose the steam,” Allibhai said.
He added that the expense involved is high to have it constantly. According to Faizal Kiwewa of Bayimba festival, each pair goes for about $50-60, that is about Shs 125,000.
Last Saturday, Kampalans braced themselves for yet another night of the silent disco. The Garden City rooftop was the venue for the gig and a walk through the parking lot, it was the silent disco on everybody’s lips.
Like at every show, some men moved around vending tickets on the black market. Authentic tickets were going for Shs 25,000 each, but the black market ones went for Shs 15,000.
Sanyu FM, the co-sponsors of the show, had done a good job frequently advertising the show and how great it would be. Due to the fact that there are no music shows or concerts at the moment, revellers were starved and so, the silent disco became the issue for most party animals.
The show was meant to start at 9pm but as early as 7.30pm people were already inside. Kampala’s top socialites were in attendance. Patrons received a complimentary Club beer.
Usually, the silent disco is run by two to four deejays; that night, DJ Aludah and Sanyu FM’s DJ BK were the ones tasked with the show and they did such a good job that no one wanted to go home.
Up till Saturday night, I still doubted that Ugandans are terrible dancers; it is not noticeable in nightclubs because of the music and lights, but in a silent disco, when you take off the headphones and look around, you are beaten. Most people were shaking rhythmlessly.
Unlike other places where the music is so loud that it threatens to burst your eardrums, the headphones give you the chance to set your own volume. The silent disco is also the perfect way to make a move on a girl unlike in the club where you have to compete with loud speakers.
In a silent disco, it was just a matter of signaling someone to take the headphones off and depending on how good your pick up line is, she gets to hang on every word you say. Well, the silent disco promises to become Kampala’s next hottest theme night.
Silent disco to beat festival sound barrier
But this will be the silent disco – 3,000 festivalgoers are to be issued with headphones this year so they can turn the volume up to 11 without waking the neighbours.
The quietest party in town is a response to the problem of noise pollution at the festival, which has traditionally led the district council to issue a licence for the festival on the condition that its main stages and tents shut down on the stroke of midnight.
This year, the council is to grant a late licence for the new dance area on the condition that thumping beats and pounding basslines are put to bed at 12. But, thanks to Glastonbury technicians, clubbers won’t have to. For one night only, they will be given wireless headphones, so they don’t trip up when dancing to whatever record the headline DJ plays.
“I like the idea of people dancing in total silence,” said Emily Eavis, one of the festival organisers and daughter of the founder Michael Eavis. “Imagine if you were feeling a bit worse for wear and thought, ‘This would be a nice quiet place to sit down.’
“You would be completely freaked out to see 3,000 people dancing in silence. It’s certainly quirky, but our big push this year is keeping the noise down because that’s what the council is keen on.”
Organisers have not yet decided which DJ will play to thousands of quiet clubbers. The silent disco, also revealed in Time Out this week, is part of a new dance area in which a number of boutique tents replace the cavernous old venue.
Ms Eavis said if the one-night experiment was a success, she would consider a silent gig on one of the larger stages in the future.
The full line-up this year remains a closely guarded secret but Michael Eavis has let slip that he expects Kylie, Van Morrison, Brian Wilson and Elvis Costello to make the pilgrimage to Worthy Farm, Somerset. The Undertones will play a tribute to John Peel, who is to have a stage named after him.