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Silence at SOL

May 12, 2008

Silence at SOL

Kelvin Ovington silently rocks out at the 42BELOW Silent Disco at Honey’s Rooftop Bar.


Dance like nobody’s watching. Sing like no one can hear. Or in the case of a 42BELOW Silent Disco, dance like no one can hear you.

The Silent Disco concept was created to let partygoers “go wild in silence”. It involves DJs, numerous sets of customized wireless headphones and a bit of “dutch courage” to get the unique form of partying on to the dance floor.

Instead of being played out through speakers, the music is delivered to dancers’ ears via their own set of wireless headphones, which is music to the ears of partygoers and noise control alike.

New Zealand vodka maker 42 Below jumped at the opportunity to introduce the Silent Disco concept to New Zealand. “We wanted to give consumers a new and exciting experience in interesting venues where noise would otherwise be an issue," says 42 Below brand manager Susie Drummond.

Next week the brand hosts its sixth Silent Disco in an underground basement carpark in SOL (South of Lichfield) Square in Christchurch.

The unique thing about 42BELOW Silent Discos is that two DJs are set up side by side, each spinning very different records simultaneously. Dancers have the choice of tuning in to one or the other with the simple flick of a switch on their headphones.

You can imagine the scene with half the crowd shaking their booty to the sounds of 70’s funk, while the other half rocks out to drum ‘n’ bass.

"Through the headphones you hear everything perfectly and the crowd feels part of something quirky and special. Initially people are a little self-conscious but as the night goes the whole crowd sings and dances to an inaudible beat. It’s all part of the fun and occasionally you might want to stop, take your head phones off and listen to what everyone else is singing,” Drummond says.

It all makes for a surreal night of uncoordinated dancing and even less cohesive singing. To the observer, there is a room full of people dancing in silence - or at least until the chorus - with half the room also apparently dancing out of time. To the participant, it is a unique and hilarious way to party.

Silent Discos have featured worldwide and have been a hit at UK's Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading music festivals. The events have got around late-night bans on loud bass by handing wireless headphones out to concert-goers, meaning they can continue partying until the early hours.

If you aren’t lucky enough to be joining the European summer and festival scene, don’t miss out on the 42BELOW Silent Disco featuring DJs T Rice (Auckland), Josh Sinclair (Christchurch) and John Manson (Christchurch) on Saturday May 17 at SOL Square in Christchurch. Entry is free and doors open at 9pm.


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