press clips

ARGONAUT NEWS – June 15, 2016
The Sound of Silence
At HUSHfest, deejays broadcast through wireless headsets for dance parties no one else can hear. There, in silent tandem, hundreds of revelers danced to an invisible beat. Hips shaking, arms twisting towards the sky, the sea of strangers twirled and cavorted to music only they could hear.

New Year’s Eve extravaganza is a new chapter for veteran concert promoters
For 15 years, the Sea of Dreams concert was a staple of New Year’s Eve in San Francisco. Led by veteran concert promoters, HUSHconcerts and Another Planet Entertainment, the event ran for over a decade at the Concourse Exhibition Center. With the South of Market venue slated to become housing, it found another home at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, near the powerful dome of City Hall. Last week, HUSHconcerts and Another Planet Entertainment did something new: The Big One, a new concert concept with the theme of unity and a headliner in the Flaming Lips, an Oklahoma rock band with a reputation for extravagant live shows.

THE BAY BRIDGED – October 5, 2015
The HSB Silent Disco Experience
Beckoned by the alluring movements of a diverse pack of fenced in dancers, I wandered my way up past the Hardly Strictly festival crowds into a eucalyptus grove lending its shade to the HUSH Silent Disco. With bluegrass at full swing below us, we slapped on luxurious headphones and stepped into a different world reminiscent of some futuristic science fiction film. Like clockwork, festival goers similarly were transformed from mere folk spectators into aggressively enthused dancers.

FESTIVALS FOR LIFE – August 17, 2015
An Outside Club on the Pier? HUSHconcerts’ Silent Disco
If one were to stroll down the Santa Monica Pier this past Saturday night, a curious site would be found at the the pier’s end. Hundreds of people getting down with their best dance moves, however, no music could be heard by those passing by. A crowd had gathered around those dancing, watching the unique spectacle. What in the world was going on?

FESTPOP – July 3, 2015
Electric Forest 2015: The Fantasy of the Forest by Lindsay Shearon
A growing trend at festivals is the Silent Disco. This is a great opportunity for festival goers to get a chance to listen to some great DJs at their own volume and in a much more intimate environment. One of the most influential artists on this concept is Robbie Kowal, a.k.a. DJ Motion Potion. I got a chance to sit down and chat with Robbie at Electric Forest and he had some really interesting things to share about how he got into the business and where he thinks the Silent Disco is heading in the future.

CBS / KPIX – June 19, 2015
Silent Disco Marks Reopening of Revamped Dolores Park
After a lengthy renovation that cost millions of dollars, the north end of Dolores Park in San Francisco was reopened Thursday, as revelers celebrated with a silent disco party.

LIVE 105 / CBS LOCAL  – May 31, 2015
BottleRock Napa Let’s You Quietly Party With A Silent Disco 
One of the unique festival experiences at BottleRock Napa is the up-and-coming concept of Silent Disco. DJ’s spin their wares while dancers party but the sound and the volume are controlled by the individual through wireless headphones.

POLLSTARApril 7, 2015
HUSHconcerts Announced  by Joe Reinartz
Two companies based in San Francisco have announced they have merged into HUSHConcerts – the implication being that “silent discos” are shifting from a niche market to a national trend.

CBS / KPIX – February 15, 2015
In SF, Silent Disco Devotees Dance, Dance, Dance To A Beat Only They Can Hear by Mike Sugarman
Dozens of young people gather on a dark, San Francisco street. It’s well past midnight and they’ve come to party. The deejay cues up pulsing dance music that fills their ears and gets their bodies swaying. Surprisingly, people asleep in nearby homes don’t realize anyone is outside, unless they happen to peer out their windows. Welcome to the new age of silent disco.

“Silent Frisco’s quiet revolution takes dance parties out of club” by Aidin Vaziri
For the past decade, Silent Frisco’s co-founders, DJ Robbie Motion Potion Kowal and John Miles of SunsetSF Promotions, have been throwing similar parties at a variety of left-field spots from Ocean Beach to Golden Gate Park, as well as at some of the Bay AreaÕs biggest musical happenings, such as the Treasure Island Music Festival and Outside Lands. They have taken the concept on the road, bringing it to subway platforms in New York, museums in Miami and the Santa Monica Pier. They also make regular appearances at corporate functions for companies like Oracle and Yahoo.

DO512 – October 3, 2012
An Interview with Silent Frisco’s Robbie Kowal
From the beginning the focus was always on trying to find places where you canÕt have concerts. Getting people outside of clubs, under the trees, under the stars, out into fields, onto beaches. We do a lot of clubs and festivals as well, but to us the magic of silent disco is that you can bring music wherever you need it.

CNNMarch 12, 2012
“Silent Frisco @ Austin Enchanted Forest” by Aaron Geiser
The fine folk at the Austin Enchanted Forest have done it again. Yesterday night, the forest hosted a silent disco where guests get to wear headphones and rock out silently to their choice of two live DJs. Several hundred people dancing and grooving at night in the forest Ð not a peep to be heard.

SF WEEKLY – All Shook Down – January 27, 2012
“Silent Dancing and $68,000 Soundsystems”
by Tamara Palmer
There were more curious wallflowers than hula-hooping dancers yesterday as the wireless headphones-assisted dance party Silent Frisco took over the second floor of the Macworld conference. (It continues today from noon to 6 p.m. with DJs Motion Potion and u9lift). For Sunset Promotions, which takes Silent Frisco to locales like Ocean Beach and Treasure Island and plans an ambitious schedule of events this year, it’s a huge opportunity to turn people on to the joys of a dance party, without the elements that can be barriers to entry for many (late night hours, intoxication, loud noise).

AMOEBA / BOMB HIP HOP January 17, 2012
“How I Got Here” An Interview with SunsetSF’s Director Robbie Kowal by DJ Dave Paul
You can’t go into a show without knowing you have the where with all to survive the worst-case scenario. So many people have money and think they can do this, so they put on one show, and either don’t pay an artist, ruining their reputation forever, or pay them and lose their fortune. But what other industry do people actually think they can walk in on day 1 and play with the big boys? It would be ridiculous for me to think I could take a bunch of money and go into the oil industry, the tech industry, or be a cop or something. I’d fail at first too, probably horribly. Any profession takes years of hard work to master, but since music is “just music” everyone thinks they can try it. And the agents, managers etc are all too willing to take their novice money. The industry is littered with the corpses of novice, fly-by-night promoters.

SF BAY GUARDIAN – August 2, 2011
“Replacing the Concourse” by Maggie Biedelman
It would be a major challenge to move, said Robbie Kowal, the co-director of Sea of Dreams, a huge party and concert that will hold its seventh annual celebration this New Years Eve at the Concourse. “There’s the Cow Palace, and the Design Center, but it’s not that big, not a place where you can put a proper concert on one side and a multitude of different kinds of spaces [on the other]. The Sea of Dreams’ success is attributable to the proper use of the Concourse.” With 125,000 square feet of space that can be split into its west and east halls and a mezzanine, the Concourse building has catered to annual festivals and events for more than 20 years, holding as many as 6,800 people at once. “There’s room for so many different communities in there. We love our home,” said Kowal. “It’s a really unique and wonderful space.”

CURIOSITYMarch 19, 2012

96 Hours at SXSW by Elizabeth Thompson
The week started late night on Sunday with a trip to the Enchanted Forest for Silent Frisco. Enchanted, indeed. All at once feeling not hipster enough and like I fit in perfectly under the most enormous disco ball I had ever seen, the hidden forest off Oltorf was a little piece of Austin I wouldn’t have imagined. Amidst a full-fledged bonfire and laser light show hundreds of people danced with lighted headphones, indicating their preference for the green or blue DJ. The silent community amazed me as I scanned the crowd to see the popularity of blue and green switch back and forth and the dancing get more intense. The energy was something you felt without hearing. There was an indescribable sense of connection to anyone you passed whose headphone light was the color of your own. As the night got later and the djs got better, the lights switched more frequently, the crowd seeming to realize they were missing something great no matter which they chose and the djs battling it out for a silent but enthusiastic audience.

LA TIMESAugust 19, 2011
“Silent Frisco is Making Itself Heard” by Rachel B. Levin
Stephanie Tucker of Hollywood, who in June was attending her second silent disco night at Central, said that Òon a normal dance floor, everyone stays in their little circles. But at silent disco, sheÕs experienced more interaction among strangers. ÒItÕs almost like because everybody has got the headphones on that we all have something in common.

If Beethoven Had a Disco” 

The deathly silence of a place filled with people can make it quite awkward and uncomfortable to partake in the sorts of dancing you would do while listening to your own headphones. Thus, Friday nightÕs Silent Disco was an experience to be had as over a hundred like-minded music lovers came together to put on their headphones to listen to different DJs spinning a mix of their favorite songs sent straight into a pair of wireless headphones. The partygoers share a sense of belonging to the party as the headphones created a communal vibe not typically felt as you walk down the street listening to your own music.

SF WEEKLY – Local Frequency – March 8, 2011
Going Big and Going Broke: Promoter Robbie Kowal on 15 Years of Putting on Concerts in S.F.
by Ian S. Port
The thing I’ve learned from doing this so long, it’s always going to be a gamble. So you have to ensure two things. One, you don’t want to lose on something you don’t care about. We never book a show that we don’t really believe in. The second thing is you have to be able to walk away from that event knowing that you did an excellent job for the artist and for the attendees. So if you lose money, at least you’re proud of the work you did.

SF BAY GUARDIANSeptember 28, 2010
“All the Love” by Marke Bieschke

SF BAY GUARDIAN – August 6, 2008
“We be clubbin’? Just barely, Why the Bay has a hard time harboring hip-hop venues” by Garrett Caples
But just how much of a “nuisance” do hip-hop shows create? Are they really that violent? No more than other genres, according to Robert Kowal, whose Sunset Promotions has brought everyone from Grandmaster Flash to Jurassic 5 to SF. “The city has safety as its primary concern,” he acknowledged. “Occasionally some shows have problems the police have to deal with. Almost without exception that label gets thrown at hip-hop, when most events, including hip-hop, are very cool.”

“Right now there’s a gun problem in SF,” Kowal continued. “Instead of addressing that, the city wants to blame entertainment and specifically hip-hop. But violence is rare inside the venue itself.”

DIGITAL MEDIA WIRE – June 20, 2007
Bonnaroo Silent Disco & the Modern House Party” – By Scott Goldberg
At 3am on Sunday morning, June 17th, partaking in the revelry of DJ Motion Potion, who was spinning live in the tent, my notion of the Silent Disco changed, and so did the concept and possibilities of a house party. It takes a minute to adjust to the idea that everyone in the tent is listening to the same music, but when you realize the sick beats youÕre hearing are from one of the countryÕs most talented DJÕs, and everyone around you is breaking down their favorite versions of the lawnmower, you slip into Silent Disco heaven with little problem.

SF BAY GUARDIAN – June 6, 2006
Mayor’s Office steps in to ease the booze ban for North Beach festivals by Amanda Witherell