I once saw a meme about anthropologists. “When an anthropologist goes to a bar, it’s called participant observation.” So, here we go:
There is a weekday party in my city. It’s advertised for working people. For people who need to get up early the following day. 9:30 p.m. to midnight. Not a minute longer. When I first heard of this party, I was intrigued. I wanted to explore it. I wanted to observe what kind of people would go to this party. (Plus: I always have a hard time leaving a party before it ends. I wouldn’t have that problem here.)
The concept is different from anything I ever experienced. The DJs played a similar number of songs in their set as they probably would have done for an entire night. (Well, at least from my unprofessional perspective.) But at this short party, they didn’t play the full songs–just a few lines: the chorus, the first sentence, popular lines, …
In the beginning, it was a bit bewildering. At times even annoying when we liked the song. But the concept quickly grew on us. The DJs played songs from every major genre to cater to everyone’s wishes. Listening to 15 seconds of techno was bearable. Techno fans, in contrast, had their favorite music played. The music was so diverse that I cannot imagine that individual partygoers did not find at least a few songs they liked.
But who attends this party?
Although the party is advertised for working people, most attendees seemed to be students and younger folks. When we had to leave, I heard some discussing to go to a different place, to continue partying. (‘If we can convince Sandra to go …’) They didn’t sound like people who had to work the next day. Either way, the concept seems to be successful; the dance floor was quite crowded.
I didn’t interview people during this party so that I cannot say for sure whether they really were students. I guess this means that I’ll have to return. That I’ll have to continue my ‘fieldwork.’
Until we dance again!