By Zhuyin Fan
Glow Fair, the downtown festival that teamed up with Quiet Events Canada in June to bring “silent disco” to Bank Street, is hosting a Halloween version of the trendy dance-and-mingle event.
Glow Fair’s Halloween Monster Bash takes place Oct. 27 at the Alt Hotel on Slater Street.
Guests wear a wireless headphone set to create a quiet atmosphere even while listening to music from one of three live DJs. Each DJ is assigned a radio frequency and a color such as green, red or blue.
DJs at silent disco events often play different genres. Those attending can customize their experience by switching music channels on headphone.
“You have more choices here — you control the music,” said Elizabeth Van Den Akerboom, event director of Ottawa-based Quiet Events Canada.
Silent disco has become a social tool for participants. Because the colour glowing on each person’s headphones shows the music they’re listening to, strangers will approach each other based on matching colours and music.
“Maybe you’re listening to your own music, but you are still socializing with people,” said Van Den Akerboom.
Van Den Akerboom thinks the headphone party is all about engaging with other people. “It brings people together. You can look at your friends across the room and tell them to turn to your favourite song.”
Quiet clubbing is a growing trend in cities such as New York and Toronto.
And noise regulation is one of the factors that led to its popularity.
“We’re able to extend the time of the festival running at night,” said Christine Leadman, executive director of Bank Street Business Improvement Area, referring to the Glow Fair festival held June 16 and 17.
The festival included silent disco since 2014.
“It quite suits for the downtown core and demographic,” said Leadman. Headphones are a solution for late-night partyers to comply with noise bylaws.
This year was the first time the BIA worked with Quiet Events. More than 2,000 people attended this year’s Bank Street silent disco.
“It’s great to work with a local entrepreneur,” said Leadman.
Quiet Events entered Canadian market a year ago to work with various music festivals and events in major cities. “Glow Fair gives us a good coverage and exposure for other festivals,” said Van Den Akerboom.
The target market of Quiet Events is people between 20 and 40, often business people who want to relax after work. “They don’t feel anyone is listening to them; they don’t hear themselves; they just let loose,” said Van Den Akerboom.
The company is also trying to work with universities, such as the University of Ottawa, to explore more business opportunities.
Leadman said the BIA wants to promote Glow Fair — including its silent disco — as an iconic brand of the city. “The more animated your city is, the more attractive it is as an destination.”