Silent Raves

Silent Raves, where people get together to dance while listening to music on their headphones, came to my attention this week through NPR’s “Silent Ravers Dance ‘Together But Individually’.” Get together in a public place, turn on your music at the appointed time, and start dancing!

This particular Silent Rave took place in Boston’s Copley Square, and was promoted through both Facebook and MySpace. Here’s the MySpace ad:

WHAT IS A SILENT RAVE?? A silent rave is a dance party where everyone listens to their own music. Imagine looking out and seeing hundreds of people dancing, but hearing nothing. Pretty cool, eh?

This Myspace page will keep all you ravers updated on upcoming events. It’ll also help promote this event, and attract more people to the raves.

Basically, what you do at a silent rave is bring your MP3 player and headphones. After the countdown to the start time of the event (typically in the evening, but who knows!), everyone presses play at the same time, listening to their own favorite jams. Everyone then starts dancing (dancing, jumping up and down, flailing arms around wildly, it’s all the same at a rave!).

What’s the point? Well, it’s just an event where a bunch of people can get together to have fun, expend pent-up energy, and meet tons of new people with similar interests. These silent raves are supremely exciting (well, with the right attitude) and fun. Silent raves will normally be short and sweet, but everyone is more than welcome to stay afterwards to party and mingle with fellow ravers.

Simple guidelines:
-please Please PLEASE respect the locations where the silent raves are held, i.e. don’t litter and no violence. We don’t want to be attracting any unwanted attention from local authorities…
-Wait for the countdown to start raving, otherwise it’ll be a mess.
-Have fun.

In the States one of the biggest Silent Raves was held last April in NYC’s Union Square. Both the NY Times and ABC News covered it. I’ve included a photo from that rave. For some video go to this You Tube clip.

The odd thing for me was that the You Tube clip included music! I suppose that makes sense for showing off what you were listening to, but as a curious anthropologist (and a guy just out of current style, one of my students commented yesterday) it didn’t help me capture the overall feel of the event. So here’s a video from Calgary. A lot smaller silent rave, but this one gives a better sense of what it looks like to someone on the outside.

And then there was this massive flash mob silent rave in Victoria Station in London!

5 thoughts on “Silent Raves

  1. Dang. The silent rave needs to be compared to the silent disco. This is an event common at European music festivals (at least) where people are given headphones, rather than bringing their own player. Does this change things? Hell yes! Instead of the very error-prone process of all pressing ‘play’ at the same time, people are now all listening to the same music. Except that the silent disco adds a further flourish: there are 2 djs, and thus music on two channels. Users can switch between channels at will, and the music on both is typically at rather different tempi (one high energy, one chill… or so). Now you have two spatially intertwined sets of dancers. Within each set, movement is coherent, but two adjacent dancers may be in different sets.

  2. this is not a mind journey this is a body journey i can not understand how different it must be without unltra sonic and high intensity low frequancy bass that really makes you feel the musak!
    oh and i completly forgot my headphones and the visuals!
    it is pretty cool concept
    you could have one of these in school during lunch break,lol

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