published Thursday, May 8th, 2014

City Beat: Riverbend's Silent Disco DJs selected

Fans dance to music they hear in their headphones in a tent during a silent disco at Bonnaroo several years ago. The idea is being adapted for Riverbend, with local DJs programming music.
Fans dance to music they hear in their headphones in a tent during a silent disco at Bonnaroo several years ago. The idea is being adapted for Riverbend, with local DJs programming music.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The competition is over, and the six local DJs who will entertain dancers during Riverbend's inaugural Silent Disco the first three nights of the festival have been selected.

They are: T.Rx (first-night 423PK choice); Moonchild (first-night decibel-meter winner); Bridge Burner Club (first-night crowd-vote winner); Cutlass Cult (second-night 423PK choice); Noted (second-night decibel-meter winner) and New Planet (second-night crowd vote).

For the uninitiated, a silent disco features participants who put on headphones and dance and/or sing along to music only they can hear. They are a big hit at festivals like Bonnaroo not only for the participants but for people who just like to watch. There is something oddly funny about watching people dance in silence.

Riverbend's Silent Disco will have a twist as two DJs will be providing music each night and dancers can choose which to listen to. The effect is that you could have half the people dancing to hip-hop and the other half showing off their best running mans.

The competition, which saw more than 30 DJs tryout out to be among the 16 competitors, was facilitated by 423PK co-founders Joel and David Ruiz. Joel says the quality of the DJs who competed was strong.

In electronic dance music, or EDM or dub step, a good DJ will take parts of several songs and create a whole new sound. Part of the appeal is hearing familiar lyrics and beats used in new ways. It requires a good ear for melody and a working knowledge of high-tech software and equipment.

"We had one guy mixing beats with another guy live drumming on a real kit," says Ruiz. "It was pretty cool.

"We did have a couple using vinyl old-school style, too. Across the board, the quality was really good."

Riverbend has said that if the Silent Disco proves popular with fans, it will offer it on Friday and Saturday of the following weekend. Ruiz is confident that will happen, and the DJs who will perform were selected as alternates at the competition.

"We had 130 people show up for the first night and 200 the second night.

"I think it's really cool that Riverbend is reaching out to people like me and David to modernize the festival. It is already doing well, but this is new and people are talking about it and appreciate it."

Ruiz says there are Riverbend after-parties being planned that will feature some of the DJs not selected, as well.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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