Silent Events powers Amberland and Jam Cruise

By: Gordon Lamb for flagpole.com

Published: Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Silence Means Security: Athens-based entrepreneur, inventor and producer Ryan Dowd is the man behind Silent Events. The most famous of these happenings is the Silent Disco at Bonnaroo where late night revelers slip on wireless headsets to hear the music being spun live by DJs. Dowd recently tried this same concept with a live band on the Jam Cruise with much success, and the Silent Concert will make its debut on dry land at Perpetual Groove’s annual Amberland concert on May 22 in Lafayette, GA. The way it works is all the musicians run directly into the soundboard and the mix is broadcast locally to the headphones. It seems the potential for such technology is endless, not to mention an incredibly inventive way to stay on the safe side of any noise ordinances that might impede a late-night event. Although at Bonnaroo Dowd must use headphones made by a certain manufacturer under contract with the festival, he has designed his own headphones for use at other events that include a mute button, a right channel button, a left channel button and volume control. Dowd got his start here in Athens working for the Georgia Theatre, Drive-By Truckers and Widespread Panic. It’s interesting to note, too, that Dowd’s great uncle was legendary engineer Tom Dowd whose work is chronicled in the film Tom Dowd & the Language of Music. It’s in the genes, I guess.

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