Trying and Failing to Understand the Point of a Silent Disco at Highland’s Cold Mountain Release Party

I’ve heard much about Highland’s Cold Mountain release party since moving to Asheville and finally managed to attend it this year. My takeaway: it was fun, but I don’t know if said fun warranted the $20.00 cover and half-hour line of cars I waited in snaking up the Highland driveway between 6:10 and 6:40 on a Friday night to attend. 

That’s not a dig. I like Highland. It’s definitely in my top breweries here in Asheville and one of the ones I end up going to often, partially due to its proximity to my apartment, but more because I like the atmosphere, love their beers, there are always 2-3 solid food truck options (I often go there simply to eat on Friday nights when I’m too lazy to cook), and they’ve got solid outdoor options. What struck me about the Cold Mountain release was how akin it was to an average outing at Highland. At another brewery, a band, more than one food truck, and four new beer flavors might be a big deal, but it felt like paying a bit more for a typical Friday at Highland with, like, two more food trucks than usual. 

The one thing the Cold Mountain release had that you can’t usually find at Highland was a silent disco. A silent disco, for the uninitiated, is a DJ set where attendees are given headphones (in this case, ones that glowed underneath blacklights) so that they can hear the sets the DJ pumps out. Still, to the rest of us observers, like myself, attendees are simply, and most importantly, silently, dancing around like fools. I do not understand the point of silent discos and can report that after sitting and watching this one unfold for a solid hour, it’s still a choice that leaves me befuddled. 

Maybe it’s just how I like to rage, but I think half the fun of watching a band or a DJ with friends is singing and screeching along with each other, and putting headphones on sort of silos you into your own mind. If I wanted to retreat into myself and rage like a fool, I’d just dance around my kitchen, you know? I think it also has a bit of going-to-the-movies-as-a-social-outing quality to it, which is to say, if I’m going out with friends, I want to be able to converse with them. The one time I attended a silent disco, I took my earphones off constantly to chat with people—maybe I’m just incapable of becoming one with the music, which I’m perfectly fine with. I guess I could see the purpose of a silent disco towards the end of the night if it’s late. Your event is being held in a residential area you don’t want to interrupt, but I don’t see the purpose of it at a beer-release party where you want people to dance and drink and have a good time. Like, I would’ve loved to hear the songs the DJ was playing, but I also didn’t want to put on earphones and wanted to chat with my friends. 

If there are any silent disco enthusiasts out there, I’d love to hear from you. What’s the point? Is this just like my EDM hypothesis: I don’t know the correct drug cocktail? Or is it something more? Curious minds (me) would love to know.

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