HUSHconcerts Announced

Two companies based in San Francisco have announced they have merged into HUSHConcerts – the implication being that “silent discos” are shifting from a niche market to a national trend.

Photo: Hekter McElliot

SunsetSF, which has promoted events in the Bay Area for 18 years, launched company Silent Frisco in 2006. Since then, Silent Frisco, cofounded by Robbie Kowal and John Miles, has grown from hosting Bay Area silent concerts to producing a multitude of events across the country. The reader can be forgiven for not being familiar with the oxymoron “silent concerts.”

There is some debate as to how it began but most likely overseas with the producers of Bonnaroo – AC Entertainment and Superfly Presents – bringing it to a festival tent about a decade ago. At silent discos, a DJ will broadcast music to the audience via headsets so EDM parties can last until the wee hours of the morning.

It is becoming more common to see bands perform concerts this way, especially in urban areas and cities that would normally dissuade live music. “Half of our business is in Los Angeles now, so Silent Frisco didn’t really fit anymore,” Kowal told Pollstar. “HUSHConcerts better exemplified what our company is now: a million-dollar-plus revenue company that does over 150 events a year. With the relaunch we will announce another 40 including 23 in Los Angeles alone.”

Those 23 include a new rooftop concert series in Hollywood, reviving the Santa Monica Pier series and the launch of several fitness events. Kowal has been named CEO of the company; SunsetSF’s John Miles has been named COO and will act as production director. HUSHConcerts is one of the few independent promoters left that do not own a venue and the lucrative revenue of its liquor sales.

Instead, as Kowal put it, HUSHConcerts “has allowed us to turn any place into a venue.” The company was the first to do daytime dance parties during the work week – a lunchtime event called Beats For Lunch. It provides concerts in NIMBY-populated areas and also provides consulting and marketing services to those lobbying city councils for events such as these, which have literally been held in forests and on mountaintops.

This year HUSHconcerts will bring events to San Luis Obispo and Oakland, Calif., will return to Santa Cruz and will be announcing its flagship Ocean Beach HUSHhfest soon. The launch party will be at San Francisco’s Mezzanine April 17. Contact information remains the same.

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