Decentralized dance party reasonably centralized

Much hyped event nothing more than Indie Pop Night in front of Zees

Rock out: People carry boom-boxes handed out by Tom and Garry’s De-Centralized Dance Party. (Michelle Twomney/AQ)
Rock out: People carry boom-boxes handed out by Tom and Garry’s De-Centralized Dance Party. (Michelle Twomney/AQ)

Like a siren song in the middle of a cold dark night, the Decentralized Dance Party called me to the downtown core Thanksgiving weekend. For an event that claims to be like no other, the most shocking part was how normal it was.

Let’s be fair. I did not get to the party on time. In fact, at 8 o’clock, my friend and I were manically searching the Facebook page for the starting location. Unclear on the terms of the dance party, we also searched for the FM station the music was to be broadcast from, so that maybe we could have our own personal dance party. We couldn’t find it, so we decided to bundle up and head down town.

The theme of the party was Canadian Olympics, so the idea was to wear red and white, or dress up in the attire of a sport that is featured (or should be featured) in the Olympics. To be real, it was Hoth cold outside, so I liked the idea of bundling up in all of the red and white gear I had. By the time my friend and I got downtown, the party had migrated to the Tannery parking lot. And there it stayed.

Don’t get me wrong. It was an incredibly fun night. There were hundreds of people, of all different ages. I even had an interesting chat with a woman who was in her thirties about her favorite band. “I FUCKING LOVE CAKE!” she screamed directly into my face. “Cake is pretty good,” I said. We are friends for life.

There were people in banana costumes, people in wigs and hats and 90s attire. There were neon windbreakers, signs that said “FUN!” and “PARTY”, and lots and lots of boom boxes. The multitude of folk that congregated in front of Nicky Zees were prepared for a fun night, and fun they had.

Tom and Gary promised a 90s dance party, and they delivered. A rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” had the crowd howling in unison and bouncing to the angelic voice of Steve Perry, joining in together for a massive air guitar solo. Random dance circles started to form, and dance-offs exploded in their centre. Boom boxes and video cameras were held atop the heads of hundreds.

Bottles started breaking around midnight. I’m not sure if they were being smuggled in people’s bags, or coming in from the bars, but each time the ear splitting sound of shattering glass cut through the music, the circle of bright yellow cops grew in tighter to the crowd. I saw one officer picking up loose bottles he saw on the ground and getting them out of the way of dancers, allowing people to have a good time without getting hurt (or getting an earful of lecturing, I thought that was pretty legit).

Around one, the boom boxes started crashing to the ground. While breaking boom boxes at a free outdoor event comes across as being a little douche-baggy, consider this- a boom box is super heavy. There is a reason iPods are razor thin and palm sized. After a night of sweating in wool and dancing like a fool, those boxes start to feel like they weigh a million pounds. No wonder they were sliding off shoulders and smashing on the pavement.

Fully exhausted and sweaty from dancing and laughing, my friend and I retreated at 1:30 a.m. The announcer kept reminding people to return the boom boxes at the end of every song, and the crowd was thinning.

What struck me the most about the party was that it didn’t leave the tannery. While Fredericton is strict about its noise violation laws after 11 p.m., it seemed kind of silly to have the party in the Tannery parking lot. All said, it was an experience not usually offered in Fredericton, but nothing more than an all ages Indie Pop Night in front of Nicky Zees.

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  • Show Comments (1)

  • Tom AndGary

    There were five locations. You missed the first three hours.

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