Review: Silent Disco in Incredible Places: At Oxford Town Hall on 2 Feb 2024, touring throughout the UK, tickets around £27.
I first came across a silent disco a few years ago, at Truck Festival. It was midnight and walking back to our camp, we came across an open marquee filled with hundreds of people dancing to music live streamed to headphones; all singing their hearts out. I’ve never seen a group of adults dancing and spontaneously singing wholeheartedly without inhibition. The beautiful sound of this sheer, uninhibited joy was quite moving. It looked like so much fun, I promised myself that I would go to the next silent disco I saw advertised.
Silent Discos in Incredible Places (SDIP) is an organisation that tours the UK, presenting silent discos in extraordinary historic buildings – places which would not normally host traditional dance parties. While in theory, the disco is silent because all music is streamed to headphones, in reality, it’s anything but silent because of the spontaneous singing.
The beautiful singing at the silent disco at Oxford Town Hall on 2 Feb 2024
The SDIP held in the ornate Oxford Town Hall was an 80s themed event. I presume that this is why the attendees were primarily Gen X. I’m not sure why, but by far, the vast majority of attendees presented as women. The gender balance, as well as the efficient organisation and visible security, gave the event a fun and very safe vibe – where people could come to just have fun without worrying about anything.
Each attendee was given a set of sturdy headphones with three different channels that streamed the music of three live DJs on stage, and volume control. The three channels were coloured coded, so that the headphones glowed either blue, green or red depending on which DJ’s music was being streamed. It was quite an interesting experience to watch a popular song spread across the whole room by some sort of mysterious osmosis. It was truly wonderful to see everyone dancing and singing without inhibition. While drinks were available to buy, the main focus of the event was dancing and singing, and I was impressed that most people in the packed room danced for the entire two and a half hours.
Silent discos aren’t conducive to sitting around (there were barely any chairs) or meeting people – I can imagine that it would have been beyond awkward trying to strike up a conversation with a stranger. As such I think silent discos put on by SDIP are a great way to party with a group of friends, or as an intentional night of solo dance. Tickets for the Oxford silent disco went on sale months in advance and sold out quickly despite the rather hefty ticket price. So if you do plan on attending one of SDIP’s events, I would buy the tickets sooner rather than later. SDIP at Oxford Town Hall was a great fun, well organised, safe and care free night out.
If you enjoyed reading about the silent discos, you might enjoy reading about Truck Festival here.
All images taken at Oxford Town Hall 2 Feb 2024 © Catherine Flutsch.