Ahhhh-Freak out! Le Freak, c’est chic! Freak Out! I can’t get shake the disco off my shoulders, and I don’t even want to. When I first heard about the silent disco party, I was doubtful. Aren’t the terms silent and disco antithetical to one another? Let me start with the logistics because I’m sure you’re all thinking the same thing I was: Organized by The Silent Disco Squad , a bunch of people met up in a park with pre-downloaded mixes. Given the option of two playlists (‘Happy House’ or ‘Drum&Bass’) you were to select your mix and show up with your headphones at exactly 4:00 p.m. where at once, every one would press play and listen in unison.
In a group, we would simultaneously occupy and create a metaphysical and material dance floor, grooving in one location before moving to the next. Truly, you would find yourself lost in the music and the community that you and your buds had created. But when you took them out of your ears and checked into a world void of music, you were met with silence. Yet everyone was continuing to dance around you—unaware of your awareness. This aspect of the event was the coolest for me: that you inhibited some liminal space of hyperawareness on the one hand, and complete oblivion on the other. Without your headphones, you were the outsider within, looking astutely into a world of wonder but unable to penetrate it; but guided by the music, you were at once lost within its bounds.
I seriously recommend you try this out next time. Still, we all have our preferences so I’ll just state mine. I felt that moving around the park gave me a sense of urgency: something administrative had to be done or some task had to be fulfilled. I’d like to hear other people’s input on this matter: would you rather be at a party that is constantly moving or one that stays in one spot? Also, I feel that if there could be a way to stream the music live, it would be better than downloading it before hand. This way, you can tune in and out (and play with the boundaries of inside and outside) without getting left behind or having to catch up. The music could also benefit from better transitions.
Personally, I prefer a house music set that tells me a story—and although I especially loved the disco portion of the happy house mix, I feel it could have been preceded and followed by smoother segues. Admittedly, I didn’t listen to the drum & bass mix as much as I should have. If anyone did though, I’d love to hear about it.
Overall, this was a splendid experience. The atmosphere was pleasant, the people were charming and it couldn’t have ended on a better note: with a group hug uniting the solitary dancers.
Silent Disco Squad’s latest event took place June 13, but many more to come.