Industry 4.0, Web 3.0, and now Clubbing 2.0 – last night in Valencia while Michael and I went out I experienced something I am not sure about if it was a single happening or will become a successful trend and – because being in my 24th year of clubbing – it gets more difficult to adapt to change.
I am familiar with the concept of silent disco where everybody gets a headset with the same music and maybe due to the circumstances, for example, you are visiting a large open air festival with lots of noise from different stages – you can escape into a different world of music and have a break from the main event. It is also funny that an outsider can observe people moving to the same music while not having a clue what music it is. Personally, this is a funny concept but I would not want to have it as a new disco standard. In Valencia they now developed this concept even further.
Last night we went to a club that advertised to have 3 dance floors with different music. Actually, when we entered I was searching where those dance floors might be. After a few minutes we realized that instead of different floors you could get a headset – which the vast majority gladly took – that provided you with the choice between 3 music channels. The color on the headset would indicate which music you are listening to. While Michael grabbed one of the headsets I stayed very sceptical but he had me try it out for a short while, too. My instant feeling of disconnection to the venue and the annoyance of massive headsets on my ears made me give it back to Michael after 5 minutes.
So during the whole evening I was one of the very few resisting to use a headset with the side effect that it gave me an all-night-feeling of not belonging to the crowd. While I stood between groups of red, green and blue lit headsets I found out that people with a red headset (the Reds) listened to the same music that they played on the dance floor´s speakers and I could hear as well. Consequently, I tried to affiliate more with them to join their rhythm and dance together only to be caught by surprise when they switched to become Blues and became rather lethargic in their style while I continued my moves to A-HA´s ´Take on Me´.
Looking urgently for a new red group to join I noticed a group of Greens that were all dancing for themselves with their mobile phones in their hands probably messaging each other via WhatsApp to tell how great the music was as their headsets blocked all kind of verbal conversation.
After a break on the toilet where I had to listen to a mix of all of the music coming from headsets (I actually noticed that the Blues peed much longer and more relaxed than the Reds and the Greens) I continued my observations:
- You could quickly determine the leader of different groups as he or she would be the first one to change the color and you could see the whole group switching in an instant from red to green some struggling the pace of how the leader was changing the music.
- It is quite uncomfortable being stuck between Reds yelling into your ear “I´m a Barbie girl”, while the Blues were all Britneys singing “Toxic” and the Greens joined Suede´s britpop “Beautful Ones”.
- The 5% headset-less crowd did not join together to form an island of old fashioned disco-goers though everybody had a face of “What are we doing here?”.
- Conversations among friends were reduced. Communication (flirting?) between members of different groups non existing. High usage of mobile phones on the dance floor.
Why do we need this when the whole fun part of being together in a disco, being on the dance floor, dancing and singing together, flirting and forming one happy, ecstatic crowd is taken away by introducing headsets? In a time of where we less and less use the telephone for talking and everybody gets soaked into their mobile phones on the street without realizing their surrounding environment anymore I can already see what Clubbing 3.0 will look like: Dancing at home alone in front of a video camera connect to others or Clubbing 4.0 – to make it more real again – using a Virtual Reality headset at home.
Let´s see if this gets a trend (and me getting old) or if it was a single occasion that has no future 🙂