On Saturday, June 2nd 2012, I attended an event that made me redefine my concept of “fun party”. I’ve never been too keen on going to dance party, because I seldom found them fun or enjoyable from my standpoint. But something about this one made me reconsider, and I didn’t quite put the finger on it until I arrived at the NYC Decentralized Dance Party.
WTF IS DDP ?
A short video explains better than a thousands word :
The fact is while the concept can be quite hard to explain without the actual machinery used to transmit (and receive) the music of the party, it makes perfectly sense after ten seconds of seeing it live. If you read this blog a little, you know I like numbered points, so let’s get started on the amazing features of a Decentralized Dance Party.
1. You never get too “hot”
It may be an overlooked point for some, but it’s really a “cool” feature that the party can be done anywhere, especially outside, for example in public parks. Dancing is consuming a lot of energy that is converted into heat by basic muscular movement. Enclosed space limits heat exhaustion and temperature rises, which in turn provokes perspiration.
And I don’t like it, at all. Being outside removes this drawback. Plus, being outside means that you can’t be too much “under-dressed”, which reduces the sexual tension that can usually be felt in some parties and spoil the fun.
And you can wear costumes all night long, which is also cool and adds to the fun.
2. Music is not too loud
Another concerns of me is the sound level of parties. Some believes that the louder the better, I’ve even been told that it’s made on purpose for men to have a valid reason to come close to a woman without fearing rejection before being able to even say something. True story.
But at some point, loud music becomes just noise, and my threshold is rather low. The fact is that with boomboxes, the music can only be so loud, as the audio power is limited. Even with hundreds of 50 W speaker (which is the max you can find, most don’t go even beyond 5 W), you simply can’t be louder than a single 200 W woofer (which is the min you can find in non-portable speaker). It’s the way the sound works, and it turns out great for me in this case.
The other advantage of having multiple small speaker is that you’re constantly surrounded by the music everywhere you go. I would say that there was a boombox for every 4 people at the party. Even with really small radio receiver, you can’t be out of the fun, it includes everyone in a nicely manner, not by blasting your ears off if you’re a little too close to the speaker.
That even allows to include bystanders that can’t be repelled by the sound level. And if you really want to have your eardrum pierced, you can always pick up the biggest boombox you can find, and stick it to your ear. At least no one else is harmed.
3. No alcohol
Another great feature of this kind of party. It’s even in the DDP manifesto :
People drink a lot at most Parties because most Parties are boring and drinking is therefore necessary to loosen up and have fun.
I understand now why I didn’t had any fun at any “conventional” party beforehand! As the party takes place outside, you can smuggle in some booze, but not enough to bother anyone with any drunken behavior. And everything went fine, people complied with police officers direction, didn’t fight with each other, didn’t throw empty bottles everywhere and behaved well during the party.
No alcohol means that to have fun besides dancing, you have to find other ways. DDP encourages that by making the emphasis on fun clothing around a predefined theme, bringing props (exercise bike, mini-trampoline, sled…) to the party and in general letting yourself go within law boundaries.
4. Cheapskates allowed
Again, you could think that’s is a minor point but the fact is that a DDP is cheap. There’s no rent, no bouncer salary, no cleaning to do afterwards, no expensive light showcase, no mafia taking his share. This means that everyone able to lift ten pounds (or not) can go to a DDP.
Since there is no money involved, there’s no show-off either. Everybody who is here has a good reason to be there, and it doesn’t include any bling or money. If you don’t like it, you can just leave the boombox you carried (if any) on the floor and walk off, you won’t have wasted any penny.
5. No lengthy night
Like all the good things, DDP have of course a start, but also a clear end. This event is in itself limited by the batteries carried by the DJ with its FM transmitter. It leaves you with 4 hours or so of pure and simple dancing fun, while watching crazy dance moves, props in unusual places, and banana costumes. There’s no bad ending because it can’t end too late for mistakes to happen.
Decentralized Dance Parties are one-of-a-kind events that re-conciliated myself with dancing parties. Their concept is fun and simple but allows many good things while preventing the bad by design. I would recommend to anyone to go to the nearest available DDP, even those who don’t usually like dancing parties.
Thanks to Tom and Gary for this amazing idea and evening !