Even a rainstorm couldn’t stop Dion Dia, a local music and creative collective, from bringing a refreshing twist to the nightlife scene: Silent Disco

At 10:30 p.m., Friday, attendees had all the control. Hosted by the Civic Media Center, Silent Disco night allowed attendees to choose the music they wanted to listen to through a set of headphones provided upon entry.  

Jahi Khalfani, one of the founders of Dion Dia, said Silent Disco was something that they’ve been passionate about doing for a long time but had never had the number of headphones needed to do so until now. Now that they’ve successfully pulled it off, though, Khalfani said there will be more Silent Discos to come.

“We had a lot of people tell us that it was the best thing they’ve been to in Gainesville,” said Khalfani.

Laila Fakhoury, a 20-year-old UF family youth and community sciences junior and another founder of Dion Dia, said the recent craze of silent discos at music festivals inspired her to put one together.

“I wanted to see them outside of music festivals as just night activities that you can enjoy locally,” said Fakhoury. “So, I pitched the idea of bringing ‘silent disco culture’ to Gainesville.”

Attendees had the option of choosing between two genres to tune into. One station was alternative indie, and the other was old school hip-hop.

Avi Matarasso, a 22-year-old UF chemical engineering senior, said the rain didn’t stand in the way of this unique experience.

“I liked that you could have a personalized experience as far as the music playing, while still being with friends and socializing,” said Matarasso.

Matarasso said the high attendance was comparable to those at The Fest shows.

“There weren’t enough headphones, and (it was) the most people I’ve ever seen at the CMC,” said Matarasso.

With the CMC transitioned into a dance floor, people in the crowd moved to the rhythm of their choosing, their headphones glowing neon green and purple. If during the night someone wanted to lose the headphones, there was an option for that too.

Two silent disco DJs, as well as a live DJ performed their own sets simultaneously.

“The beauty of the headphones is that I could have done either the headphones or the music playing,” Matarasso said. “At times, I wanted one over the other and I had that option.”

When not breaking a sweat from dancing, partiers enjoyed a variety of fried sweets, from vegan funnel cakes to fried strawberries, catered by Dank Cakes.

Cody Evans, who works at Dank Cakes, said he almost didn’t attend due to the rain but was thankful he did, as the dessert shop had a solid flurry of responsive party-goers.

“I’d say there was around 100 to 200 folks that came and went throughout the night,” said Evans. “People danced as if there was not a care in the world.”