This new type of clubbing is called the silent disco, where people dance to music through on wireless headphones. Instead of big speakers, silent disco participants are given wireless headphones, and the music is broadcast via an FM-transmitter by DJs.
“We first introduced silent disco in Korea last year, but the craving for such a new music festival arose in 2005,” said Ryu Jae-hyun, the director of Sangsanggongjang who came up with the idea of the Silent Disco Korea. “It took five years to launch the first silent disco in Korea because of equipment and transmitting problems, but since Sangsanggongjang had the motto, ‘Making dreams into reality,’ we could overcome these struggles in the end.”
Silent Disco Korea takes on the features of a parade where participants not only dance in designated places but also parade through the hot spots of various cities in Korea. Nowadays silent disco is a hot, global festival trend that already takes place in other famous foreign music festivals such as Australia’s Big Day Out, Ireland’s Oxegen Festival, and England’s Glastonbury.
“We are also planning to introduce Silent Disco Korea at the Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea as one of Korea’s new recreation cultures. I believe it is important to show that foreign recreation culture can develop into a new cultural trend of our own,” Ryu said.
Silent disco was first started as an alternative to noisy clubbing and an outbreak of the general concept where dancing and enjoying music had to be an indoor activity.
“I love to dance and listen to music, but the clubs today are filled with people smoking and I just couldn’t stand the stuffiness,” Ryu said. “However since we use wireless headphones and the equipment are all portable, silent disco can be started anywhere without disturbing non-clubbers with loud noises.”
Also, participants are able to share a sense of belonging no matter how many various kinds of people are gathered to enjoy the party, through the same music and DJ’s voice they hear through the headphones.
“Whether you are a young foreign student or a senior Korean citizen, by putting on wireless headphones and sharing such an experience you become part of a group and that feeling of solidarity is a rare experience,” he said.
Some Ewha students also stepped into the unique recreation culture.
“My friend and I had the chance to participate in a silent disco last November. Dancing in the streets was very exciting since it was just like dancing in a club, but with the wireless headphones on. Some people might have thought we were crazy, dancing with no music on, but my friend and I enjoyed the experience very much and hope to participate later on,” Ryu Ye-Seol (Advertising & Public Relations, 2) said.
“I think silent disco is a great idea since recreation culture is also a culture that must be developed continuously. Through implementing such alternative recreation culture people can bring up more innovative ideas and perceptions on culture,” Shim Seo-hee (Media Studies, 1) said.
In order to enjoy silent disco people can register through Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/silentdisco.korea) or Naver Cafe (http://www.silentdisco.co.kr), ID cards will then be required for renting the wireless headphones. There are no rules on when and where to start the party. People who want to participate can check the time, and location, and should wear comfortable clothes for dancing. Currently plans for the next silent disco at the Hongdae Playground will be set later in June.