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When silent is too loud… headphone discos facing a ban

Festival fun: Disco organiser ‘Guru Dudu’ leads dancers at last year’s Fringe PICTURE: SWNS

SILENT discos face being outlawed — for being too noisy.

The gatherings of dancers listening via headphones could be banned from the streets of Edinburgh, where they are offered as part of walking tours.

Conservative councillor Jo Mowatt said: ‘Silent discos are not silent.

‘There is a lot of whooping and screaming, especially when you have 40 women on a hen party. There is also the safety aspect — who is going to have to step in the road due to the groups taking up the pavements?’

The city council is reviewing whether it should stop granting licences for the events after Ms Mowatt’s constituents expressed concerns and the Old Town Community Council raised the issue.

There are fears of a ‘risk to attendees if they walk into traffic or fail to hear approaching vehicles’.

But disco company Silent Adventures fears it could be unfairly punished because of failings by rivals during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.

Marketing director Jay Feeney said: ‘We are the only operators in Edinburgh all year round.

‘During the Fringe, there were about four tour operators running — I feel this is a bit of a punishment from the aftermath of the Fringe.

‘Some of them looked a bit out of control. We have always had a big focus on safety and we run tours with absolute control.

‘It would be a huge shame for the city if there was a ban.’

A street trading licence is required for anyone carrying out a service for money in a public place.

But a ban might have a limited effect because organisers can avoid the need to obtain a permit if they take money only online or in shops, rather than on the street.