December 18, 2019

Silent discos are, in theory, one of the most preposterous ideas mankind has ever conceived. Picture a group of strangers with their headphones on, dancing in a dark room in absolute silence. Without the music, you’ll hear nothing but shuffling feet. It might be incredibly cringe-worthy to witness as an outsider, or at the very least a good source of laughter, but why is this trend gaining steam? Are people simply curious about the novelty of such an experience, or are they genuinely having a good time, surpassing that of a traditional nightclub?

This year’s Neon Lights Festival featured a silent disco, where participants were free to choose from three playlists, one of which was the usual Top 40s favourites. To give you an indication if the person you’re dancing with is listening to the same song, a specific colour is assigned to each playlist. Your headphones will reflect the colour you’ve chosen, so it’s easier to seek out like-minded groovers. The only downside is that the majority of participants will end up selecting the Top 40s playlist, which is invariably much more danceable than an emo track. Silent discos may not appeal to those with less mainstream music tastes, but they can be liberating in a way where you find yourself connecting with others (and yourself) more, once you get past the idea. Here’s where you should go for your virgin experience.

Dans Le Noir: Otra Vista Social Club

Dans Le Noir: Otra Vista Social Club is a silent party concept by restaurant and bar Dans Le Noir. With locations in Madrid and London, it holds regular “dining in the dark” events paired with a silent disco where free, wireless headphones are provided for the night. A sensory experience that accommodates the deaf, it encourages participants to use sign language to order drinks and interact with each other.

The Wave Silent Disco

Just north of the Venice Pier, folks dance on the beach to a live DJ set fed through a headset on every second and fourth Saturday during the winter months, and every Monday from April to October. Driven by her passion for dancing as a form of self-healing, Julia Grace started The Wave Silent Disco to allow people to be in their own worlds and express themselves freely.

The Scary Canary 

Every Tuesday, The Scary Canary, Sydney’s favourite nightclub, goes mute with a silent rave. Get in for free until 9pm, and savour the finest pours (spirits, beers and wines) for $5 until the clock strikes 12. Similar to Neon Lights, this quiet party offers three channels, each curated and spun by a different live DJ. Take your pick from the usual Top 40s to hip-hop and indie tunes.

Silent Disco Asia

Finally, the folks behind Neon Lights’ soundless bashes—Silent Disco Asia. Instead of operating regularly at a fixed location, this Singapore-based organisation partners with brands and festivals to host silent discos. Depending on the event, tickets typically range from $20 to $50 per person. Catch the next one on New Year’s Eve at the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2020, from 8pm to 1am, where you can dance like nobody’s watching.