I’d been enjoying the Edinburgh Fringe for about two weeks, and had occasionally spotted these large groups wearing headphones being led around the city by a very colourful character, dancing in unison, occasionally blurting out song lyrics. By word of mouth, I learned that these were the Guru Dudu Silent Disco Walking Tours, and I knew I had to give it a try.
Like being a child again!
There are several versions of this experience and you can select which one by going to the Guru Dudu website. There’s a standard version which takes you through all eras of music; an 80s version; a 90s version; an ABBA version and a musical theatre version. I lucked out with the 70s version which had us grooving to the best of disco and beyond.
We were handed individual wireless headphones with adjustable volume control and began with a very light warm up of disco-themed stretches. Guru Dudu’s voice comes over the music via his microphone so he can improvise around any questions or alterations. We were then led through the streets with friendly encouragements to copy the Guru’s dance moves, which anyone can do as energetically or gently as they like. He’s brightly coloured so you’d have a hard time losing sight of him! And we were accompanied by two assistants who herded us and made sure everything was safe.
With the music bouncing in my ears, it was easy for the outside world to feel far away. And being surrounded by about 30 other grinning, dancing people all in sync, it provided such a feeling of security that all inhibitions were lost, and we all felt free to look incredibly silly and have a huge amount of fun. It was like being a child again! Not a care in the world.
I had wondered whether this tour would include any information about the landmarks we passed, but it’s not that kind of tour. It’s pure silliness with guided dance moves and games. It is, however, a great way to see some parts of the city you wouldn’t have thought to visit, and it all provided a fun backdrop. Looking around at my group, I don’t think a single member was having a bad time. Not even the 14-year-old boy, who got stuck in with all the rest of us.
A particular highlight was splitting the group in two, sending one half up some stone stairs to a roadside ‘balcony’ and singing down to the other half in a Bohemian Rhapsody battle.
I recommend you dress light for this one as you’ll get quite hot doing all that dancing. At the end, you are returned to the original starting point, but if you need to leave early, you can give your headset to an assistant and be on your way.
This was an absolutely brilliant experience and I highly recommend you give it a go for something completely different.