Kiip’s Moments: Dancing in the Streets at SXSW

What happens when 3,000 people cram the streets of Austin, screaming Journey lyrics at the top of their lungs? Only the greatest dance party South by Southwest has ever seen.

Source: Flickr, sean hobson

When we hosted a decentralized dance party (or DDP) back in 2012, we wanted to veer away from the red-roped, VIP-only mentality. Instead, we created a come one, come all parade that dominated downtown Austin and celebrated the city’s keep-it-weird personality.

The event was the perfect whirlwind of serendipitous moments: the day’s rain cleared up, the cops closed the streets off to cars and people showed up to the party via word of mouth — no marketing required. In partnership with Giftiki and two DDP organizers named Tom and Gary, 100 boomboxes sprinkled the streets, where revelers arrived in neon, glitter-sprayed costumes that fit the night’s theme, “extreme physical fitness.”


“Partygoers ditched the lines at exclusive nightclubs and flooded the streets.


The party kicked off under a bridge, where the only visible gear was a Power Glove, FM-transmitter, iPod, and lone mic used to emcee the event. As word spread through Facebook updates and ecstatic texts, partygoers ditched the lines at exclusive nightclubs and flooded the streets along four miles of overpasses, power plants, parks and the nightlife-littered Sixth Street.

There we were, in the midst of a party so electric that contagious dance beats filled the air, so uninhibited that one guy crowd surfed over hundreds of dancers on a fin-less surfboard. There were no cares or worries, just a party with cheering fans that raged for hours under the glowing light of a silvery moon.

People gravitate towards those fun, unforgettable moments — and that’s why we keep our culture spontaneous both online and off. It’s about taking the everyday activities, adding unexpected rewards and watching happy moments unfold.

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