Originally posted on January 128, 2011 on Examiner.com | by Eric Garner
Silent Storm Sound System is a live music service and equipment company with an LLC in Philadelphia and additional offices in Boston and San Francisco, specializing in throwing silent disco parties across the United States. The Capital Region got its first glimpse of the silent disco idea during LarkFEST 2010 when Silent Storm Sound System teamed up with the Capital District’s own Gravity Entertainment, SinSation Sound and Dreamy Productions to throw a silent disco party on Hudson Avenue in Albany. The basic concept is simply that the performance is broadcast wirelessly to headphones the company supplies to audience members rather than being amplified and blasted out to the crowd via a P.A. System. The rental cost for the headphones is included in the price of event admission.
George Gayl and co-founder Julia Kuder started Silent Storm Sound System, or SSSS for short, in Boston during the autumn of 2009 looking to Europe for inspiration, where the silent disco idea was already a success. George Gayl has a background in online branding, experiential marketing and live music promotions with Julia Kuder acting as Chief Financial Officer in Philadelphia. The San Francisco site manages the company’s West Coast presence along with national campaigns and business development under the authority of Sarah Thomas, Director of Business Development, Marketing & PR. “Silent Storm Sound System was founded upon our love of music. Our business model allows for our backgrounds to truly support the growth of the company,” says Gayl about the principles the company was founded upon.
Though the concept is simple, silent disco events have a completely different feel than what might be expected both for the audience and for spectators passing by. The audience enjoys a sense of exclusivity since they are the only ones who can hear the performance while spectators are left to watch them dance in apparent silence and wonder what it is that they can hear, much to their own amusement. The headphones have two separate channels allowing more than one musical performance to be broadcast at the same time, and listeners can choose between channels at their leisure simply by flipping a switch on their headphones. According to the website for Silent Storm Sound System, this results in events that are “unifying and strangely uplifting… a brilliant experience not to be missed”.
SSSS was built from the ground up to spread the silent disco idea through its growth beyond music festivals, where most people learn about it for the first time, toward spaces where volume restrictions create thorny issues for musical events. Museums, galleries and historical buildings, and even private house parties where noise is an issue for neighbors are among the wide range of venues beyond music festivals that make up their target market. “At SSSS we aim to provide a unique musical experience through silent disco to a wider range of people, ages, and venues,” says Sarah Thomas.
Brand marketing is another service provided by SSSS in addition to services for venues and music festivals. Gayl notes an event SSSS recently hosted by Yelp in collaboration with Skyy Vodka and others on a young professionals’ gathering in the San Francisco area. Positive feedback about the event sparked interest from several other brands to replicate this success at other sponsored events across the country for 2011-2012. Gayl also notes expansion toward trade shows and conferences, where the two channels on the company’s headphones can be utilized for bilingual or simultaneous presentations. In the meantime, the SSSS street team in Boston continues to keep momentum going in the Northeast with silent disco events being held on a regular basis there.
For booking and pricing information, event planners can reach Silent Storm via email at info at silentstorm dot me or contact Sarah Thomas at (203) 446-7292. “We allow the autonomy for you to run your event with your own people and representation if you desire, and will train your team to ensure your event is a success,” notes Gayl.
If 2010 was the year that Silent Storm Sound System helped to introduce the country to the silent disco idea, 2011 is set to be the year that the company turns it into a full-fledged phenomenon. “This year is proving to be our year for expansion, not just geographically but in terms of service providing, brand marketing, trend-setting and the re-defining of the silent disco experience,” says Thomas. “2011 is the year we begin to take the country by silent storm.”