No phone, no fun ?
Here we are. You just bought your ticket to a concert to see your favorite artist. You waited for days, weeks, maybe even months! The day has finally come, and you’re finally in! Sadly, not everything goes the way you wanted it. You’re quickly surrounded by all kinds of synthetic lights coming from hundreds if not thousands smartphones. Whether you like it or not, smartphones have become a staple of modern clubbing. However, many ravers find that smartphone users on the dancefloor can be quite annoying.
Clubs and party locations in general have long been regarded as a way of escaping ‘real life’. As of late, it’s quite the opposite due to an excessive usage of smartphones, being for taking pictures, filming something, or searching for tracks with Shazam.
It kind of kills the fun, really, because everyone wants to immortalize this instant, and can lead to some sort of egoistic behaviour regarding smartphone usage, where it becomes an hindrance but only if someone else does it.
The dance floor is a space where music should lead the way out of the real world, leaving preoccupations behind. The very idea of ‘Shazaming’ a track or taking the best picture possible is pretty much wrong by itself. It also prevents most if not all social interactions, with people not willing to break the ice in favor of their Instagram Story or Facebook post.
From a DJ’s standpoint, it can also be considered a lack of respect. The dazzle coming from the smartphone flashes can prevent them from connecting to the public, and lessen the feelings they convey.
The biggest problem is indeed that this constant need of documenting the night definitely harms the initial connection proposed by the raves/parties.
Some clubs (like the Berghain in Berlin) now forbid the act of taking pictures and/or filming, ensuring some discretion and a total freedom about what happens in the club. This is mainly done to preserve the clubbers’ privacy, making sure they’re not filmed without their knowing.
In Paris, some raves like MYST or ‘Sécurité’ are taking themselves pictures, making sure ravers can dance and enjoy the party without this stress.
To resolve this problem, a company based in California founded in 2014, Yondr, creates cases rendering smartphones unusable in a set radius, kind of like a chastity belt, but for your phone. Clubbers put their device in one of these cases, that will lock unless you’re in a phone-free space.
In the US, many schools and venues are trying these cases and are close to definitely adopt them.
Here in France, the Sarcus festival and humorist Florence Foresti tried it too last year, because the artist was annoyed by phone ringing during her one-woman-show.
A question subsists : Do we need our phones on the dancefloor? Can’t we just seize the moment with our friends like we did in the 90’s, when we were talking to people and enjoying the music as if it was the last rave on Earth?