Whether it’s country, rap, indie or electronic, music drives the heart and soul of Austin. Around just about every corner you can find a bluegrass band jamming in a backyard or a soulful crooner just waiting to be discovered. And because Austin doesn’t do anything normal, they’re no stranger to one of today’s newest – albeit strangest – dance trends: the Silent Rave! These bluetooth-powered jam sessions are unlike any other dance club experience you’ve ever tried, because the music is all played through headphones. It’s a more personalized and intense way to experience every song that you hear, as opposed to fighting the ambient sound of a noisy dance club. You may be wondering how exactly a silent disco works. Well, this particular party took place in downtown Austin at the popular Refinery event venue.
Co-hosted by Outdoor Voices and Bumble BFF, the Silent Disco was a night of drinking, dancing and delighting in all the weirdness that Austin has to offer. As guests entered, they checked in and grabbed goodie-bags filled with baseball caps, outdoor apparel, stickers and fun swag courtesy of Bumble and Outdoor Voices. Scattered on the dance floor were a few stray glow-in-the-dark balloons ready to be passed around. The DJ booth was set up in the back like normal, with two DJ’s mixing beats from laptops. At the side of the club stood a long table of dozens of headphones with blue and green LED lights.
As the dancers arrived, they picked up a pair of headphones, draped them around their necks and socialized as they sipped ice-cold canned wines and rosés from Infinite Monkey Theorem. Before the silent musical mayhem began, guests could be found taking fun group photos at the makeshift who was photo booth underneath glittery streamers and a giant “DISCO” balloon sign.
When the guests started to get peckish, they grabbed a cup of gourmet popcorn from Cornucopia, who was at the party handing out delicious flavors like Dill Pickle, Caramel and Chile Lime. As the party-goers began to warm up and wine began to kick in, the lights turned down and everyone – including the DJ’s – put on their headphones. The music was all being played via bluetooth from the DJ’s laptops, so everyone was grooving to the same beats.
All around the dance floor, dancers were feeling the mood and finding their own rhythm to remixes of R&B, hip-hop and the best-of-the best of today’s dance hits. There were even a few fitness fanatics getting some core exercises in together as they passed a glowing balloon back and forth and bobbed their heads in unison. The Bumble BFF + Outdoor Voices Party at the Silent Disco proves that people don’t need deafening speakers blaring out music to enjoy it. And, more importantly, you can’t fight the power of a good song when it comes to how it can make you move!
A silent disco without the headphones is literally just a room full of people jumping, writhing, bumping and grooving to music that they hear in their heads together. And audiophiles would argue that the only way to really feel the full experience of music is through headphones. It even makes you dance like no one is watching…almost like you’re at home blasting your favorite song while you clean. And, regardless of how ridiculous it might look to an outsider, there’s something oddly beautiful about the camaraderie and good-feelings that a well-orchestrated silent disco can accomplish.
But try one and be the judge for yourself, because words – and video – can never do it justice!