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Silent parties are Halifax’s new jam

Headphone events give partiers control of the music they hear

3 min read
caption A partygoer gets lost in the music. (Reenactment of a silent party.)
Moriah Campbell
A partygoer gets lost in the music. (Reenactment of a silent party.)
caption Silent parties feature lights and headsets as this reenactment shows.
Moriah Campbell

It looks like any other dance party, with people swaying among colorful lights, but at a silent disco the only sounds come from feet on the dance floor.

Silent disco, or quiet clubbing, is a growing party trend that has found its way to Halifax. Lindelle Williams of Evolution Sounds Entertainment launched Silent Events in September.

“It is something you have to experience to understand,” Williams says, noting that each person is given a set of wireless headphones that can stream music from multiple DJs.

When silent discos first started, in Europe and big cities in North America, headphones were only connected to one channel. This meant that everyone at an event would be listening to the same DJ, but Williams says the trend has evolved. Now, partygoers can choose between three different DJs or channels.

“Let’s say a bunch of your friends are interested in country music,” he says. “You can have a DJ playing specifically country music and someone else might be listening to Top 40 right next to you.”

Each set of headphones is colour coded and will light up green, blue or red depending on the channel selected.

Williams says this opens up the door for better communication.

“You can walk up to a stranger who is on the same channel as you are and automatically feel connected based on the type of music you are listening to,” says Williams.

Lauren Zwicker and Leigha Shiels attended a silent party at a Halifax apartment in the summer.

“It feels very intimate,” says Zwicker. “It’s like you are connecting because you can’t hear each other, so you have to make eye contact to get someone’s attention.”

Shiels finds that one of the downsides is having to remove the headphones to talk with someone.

“It felt awkward,” she says. “It didn’t feel like casual or comfortable conversation because it was so silent.”

Silent Events charges $3 per headset, but Williams says that customers can use the technology for events other than dance parties. Across the United States, people are using the technology to host yoga practices, comedy nights and outdoor movies.

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