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“What started as a response to noise ordinances has now become its own attraction,” Dowd told Mic, who made silent clubbing his full-time gig as owner and founder of Silent Events. The company prides itself on being “America’s first, largest and most experienced silent disco provider.”
“We do events sometimes now starting at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and go all day, where before they wouldn’t dare have us start until 2 in the morning,” he said.
“You get calls from people trying to do these very cool destination weddings like Maui and the Cayman Islands where you rent these villas and you think it’s carte blanche, but they’re going to shut you down at 9,” Mr. Dowd said.
He also recently received a call from a well-known production studio requesting a silent disco for a scene in an upcoming film. “They’re not making fun of it, so we’re going to do it,” he said.
Love your fiancé but hate his taste in music?
Avoid the issue by starting the marriage off with a silent disco wedding, where guests have to wear headphones to hear the jams — either from a live DJ, a curated playlist or a mix of both by tuning to a particular channel.
“We’ve really seen it take off recently for weddings,” says Ryan Dowd, owner and creator of Silent Events.
Silent Events is considered the founding father of this movement. Created by Ryan Dowd, a former tour manager for Widespread Panic and Drive-By Truckers, the company introduced wireless headphone disco parties at Bonnaroo.
3. The (Bonnaroo) silent disco is awesome. Take it from personal experience: This small tent packs some big fun. Walking by, it may look a little bizarre — a bunch of people wildly grooving in a dead-quiet tent — but once you go inside and pop on some headphones, you’ll be jiving to whatever the DJ is spinning into the wee hours of the morning.
A crowd of bewildered festival goers gather by the Silent Disco tent and draw wry smiles at the awkward, grunting, noiseless spectacle before them. The Silent Disco has moved locations and has greatly expanded this year, and as Quickie Mart drops (presumably) another banger, the headphones crowd goes wild.
“I think it’s become a phenomenon because there are so many ways to enjoy it,” says Dowd. “If you don’t like loud music, you can dial down the volume. If you don’t like a certain type of music, you can change the channel. If you don’t dance, you can people watch.” Often there’s a choice of several DJs or two or three types of music like rock, rap or electronica. Silent Events even created a bilingual option for a recent Coca-Cola silent dance party.
The Silent Disco was a highlight of the (Bonnaroo) experience for anyone who weathered the oft-long line to get in. The crowd inside a relatively small tent all grooved out together while the sound is transmitted to personal wireless headphones instead of a normal PA system. To claim that the experience is surreal and a trip is an understatement. This one of a kind experiment should not be missed. I would not be surprised to see one popping up in an urban area near you soon.
The Silent Disco tent at X Games was put on by Silent Events, the original production company for silent parties in the U.S. The silent party trend originated in Europe, but debuted in 2008 at Bonnaroo Music Festival. The man that made it all happen was Silent Event’s founder and owner, Ryan Dowd. He looked at how it was executed in Europe and found ways to pioneer the silent party in his country. He manufactured his own headphones that introduced the three-channel options so people could customize their own experience.
A mindblowing run of late-night shows, special events in the Bonnaroo Cinema, the Silent Disco and of course the Superjam action are bound to bring an endless stream of fun outside the beaten path of the standard festival fare, and we can’t wait to get to ‘Roo to take part in the full experience.
Dowd says a common concern people have when they first hear the concept of a silent disco is that wearing headphones will take away from the communal aspect of dancing.
“We get a lot of feedback initially — ‘I’m afraid it’s going to be antisocial,’ ” Dowd says. “Well, when you go to a loud club, are you able to talk?
“A lot of people go outside of clubs just to give their ears a rest. We can take our headphones off 5 feet away from the DJ and use our inside voices.”