Special event fad: The Harlem Shake

Spotting a trend in the world of special events is important.  Knowing when a trend is only a fad is equally important.  By time I post this week’s blog I’m pretty sure the topic will already be a fad.  Regardless, this fad is so fun that I thought I would blog about it.  Two days I ago I heard the phrase “Harlem Shake” in passing and didn’t pay much attention to it.  Last night a former student said it again while we were talking in the computer lab.  This morning, on my way to work, I started doing some research and by the end of my work day I was convinced the "Harlem Shake" fad was in full effect.

The “Harlem Shake” is the name of a funky electronica song produced by NYC DJ Baauer.  The song was posted on You Tube on May 12, 2012 and four months later a New York Times journalist wrote about Baauer being a DJ on the upswing.  Somehow in the past week it has taken over college campuses everywhere.  This digital ditty is skyrocketing the iTunes charts and You Tube hits in the last 8 days.  It seems as if every college campus is producing a “Harlem Shake" video and posting it to You Tube.


The premise:  the electronica song starts off and you see one or two people jamming out on their own to the beats.  After about 15 seconds of looking at what appears to be two really awkward people dancing the scene blows up and there are 200 or so people raging hard core to the song.  The fist pumping, costume wearing, college students are insanely jumping and dancing to the beat of the song.



Through some quick research I noticed many message boards saying, “Gangam Style is 2012 . . . Harlem Shake is 2013”.  Obviously, at this point in the year, it’s difficult to say that "Harlem Shake" will still be movin’ and shakin’ us at the end of the year, but for now it’s hot.

This is exactly the type of special event that makes organizing large groups of people a ton of fun.  While this is certainly not a planned event like Lolla or Pitchfork it is an event none the less.  The true definition of a special event, according to former Walt Disneyland employee Robert Jani, “A special event is that which is different from a normal day of living” and it’s obvious the "Harlem Shake" videos are not normal days of living for most people.

So get out there and organize the latest special event fad…put it on your resume …who’s stopping you?

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