What the heck is a 'silent disco' pub crawl, and what's it doing in Dayton?

Cold weather pub crawls can be dicey at times. But the Silent Night Pub Crawl coming to Dayton’s Oregon District on Dec. 2 has a twist that may just re-energize the very concept. Though disco may be dead, the silent disco trend is just getting started.

Not So Loud, the group organizing the silent disco crawl, will provide each pub crawler with a pair of headphones which light up. The listener is given three channels to choose from, with each channel playing a different style of music. 

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Firefighter and Not So Loud owner and DJ Christopher Chilton started up his company shortly after seeing a New York DJ using the headphones on her Instagram account two years ago. 

“Basically, a silent disco is a party without speakers,” Chilton said. “It was described to me by a guy I ran into at the last crawl we did as a ‘private party in public’, because no one else gets to hear it.”

Not So Loud will hold their third silent disco pub crawl on Dec. 2 in the Oregon District.
Photo: Jim Ingram

Of course, that’s only partially true since many of the participants end up singing along to whatever song is being played on the channel they’re listening to. So you could potentially have a group of people dancing and singing to three very different songs at the same time.

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“It’s like the ADD of partying. People are used to going to parties and go with whatever is playing, and they’re usually content with that. But once you add this option, they’re constantly flipping the channel because they don’t want to miss that next thing,” Chilton explained.

Chilton says Not So Loud is the only company in Ohio doing silent discos. But, with the trend catching on nationwide, that could soon change. He recently worked an event at COSI in Columbus for a gathering of librarians. In what turned out to be the appropriate marriage of technology and people who constantly want silence, the silent disco was a hit. Chilton also says he's getting more requests for the format at weddings, and he also rents them out for private parties.

“The best part about it was we only scheduled for three hours. Then they asked about a possible extension. So we ended up going four hours. By five hours, it (was) time to go. People were sad and mad about it because they were having such a great time,” Chilton said. “(The organizers) ended up telling me they were the group that hosted it last year in Paris, and this was way better than what they did there.” 

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The Silent Night crawl will be Chilton’s third in the area and will hit Dublin Pub, Blind Bob’s Trolley Stop and Ned Peppers, with each stop lasting about a half hour . Though the last crawl also had a specific route, they found themselves making an unexpected stop because patrons from another bar became so interested in what silent disco crawlers were up to. 

You can reserve your spot in the Silent Night Pub Crawl here. The cost is $5 and you must be 21 or older with a valid I.D. 


WHAT: Silent Night Pub Crawl

WHERE: Oregon District, Dayton

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2

COST: $5

More info:  http://www.nslsilentparty.com/