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Boogie down

Although art-walking Ashland was crammed with people dancing to live music up and down the main drag on a warm spring First Friday, scores flocked to Silent Disco at the entry to Lithia Park, where they rented 200 headsets and pranced about to tunes on two different channels as giant soap bubbles floated overhead.

The popular Silent Disco event — which happens every First Friday through October — offers the advantages that it doesn’t bug neighbors with loudspeakers, you can take off your headphones and talk to friends, and, says producer Jordan Rose of Silent Movement International, there’s a sense that you’re free to do your own thing without feeling on display.

The wireless headphones light up red for funky “house” music or blue for hip-hop with a deeper bass — so you can tell if you and your partner are dancing to the same beat. Kid music is green. The “super funky lineup” included, on Blue Channel: Papa Gringo, DJ Marko, The Roomy Depth, Sylvah Sol and HashBuddha, and on the Red Channel: The Profunktionals, Soulbotik, Huggapuppy, and Jr. Angulo.

Another big plus is parents can bring their children and turn them loose on the “Wiggle Wagon,” a cart full of synthesizers, drum machines, vocoders and loopers, all synced together, “creating a sonic playground where kids can explore music without the fear of messing up. There are no wrong notes, only new sounds. Kids are controlling everything.”

The kid channel is run by Synth for Kids, Rose’s educational nonprofit designed to “teach and empower children through electronics.”

Rose notes, “You get a great sense of community here. It’s easy in our world to let technology make you distant and forget how we need this. It’s so important for family and parents to have a sense of community.”

Dancer Andi Hudson said “Everyone’s out cutting a rug, so fun to get out, and I love to see the kids. My son, Henry loves to dance and be free, so why not let him?”

Alina Van Beck said, “I’ve been to Silent Disco every year and I love the music and being able to go outside and dance with friends.”

The event is a bit of a light show with DJs, rappers and emcee JAYA (Raise). Lighting is designed by Greg Panero of PanArrow Productions. The show features different hip-hop acts each time, with The Roomy Depth doing it for May. In June, CJ Thomas will teach hatha yoga over an accompanying DJ from 5-6:30pm.

Rose last year did Silent Disco in the park bandshell, but it suffered from being too far from the hoppin’ Plaza during Art Walk, so not it’s back beside the lower duck pond. Given lines to get and return headphones, Rose will double the supply to 400 next time. A percent of the money goes to Ashland Parks Foundation.

It’s $5 to rent headphones. You can get in an express line with canned food for Ashland Emergency Food Bank. No dogs, drugs, alcohol or smoking are allowed.

They will hold daytime “pop-up” discos, possibly at Garfield or Hunter Parks. They will be posted on fb.me/silentmovementinternational and instagram.com/silentmovementinternational.

Rose will offer Family Movies in the Park, 8 to 11:30 pm on the second and fourth Fridays, starting May 24 and going through September. He and Parks-Rec have figured out how to project films on Butler Bandshell, so you can sit or lay on your back and watch.

You can vote on which PG movies to show at https://bit.ly/2ViNBwx.

They include “Incredibles 2,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” “Christopher Robin,” “Trolls,” “How to Train Your Dragon” and others.

The kid channel is run by Synth for Kids, Rose’s educational nonprofit designed to “teach and empower children through electronics.”
The “Wiggle Wagon,” is a cart full of synthesizers, drum machines, vocoders and loopers, all synced together.