Swing, Slide, Roundabout… Decks? The Playground Just Got Louder!

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
DJ booth Fono Play park DJ Playground Yalp
Last updated 6 November, 2017


It’s not an exercise machine, it’s a DJ booth designed to be installed in play parks and other public spaces for anyone with music on a mobile phone to step up to and have a quick mix.

The world’s first outdoor DJ booth – demoed over a year ago by Dutch company Yalp, but gaining attention this summer from the press here in Europe – is designed to bring DJing into outdoor spaces frequented by kids and young people, alongside more familiar playground equipment.

The “Fono” DJ booth lets anyone with music on their mobile phone play, mix and add FX to tracks by simply putting their smartphone onto a wireless dock to connect their music library to the booth. Solar powered so it can work anywhere (well, anywhere that gets sun, anyway) it is an intriguing idea that shows just how mainstream DJing is becoming, as the idea of just playing rather than interacting with music becomes more and more quaint.

“[Fono is] made to dare minors and teens to explore their musical creativity, to let them make, rearrange and share music with their mobile phone and to create a social meeting place for them,” say the creators.

A close-up: The two vertical white rectangles are where the mobile phones are placed.

It doesn’t have tempo controls and presumably needs two people with two phones to use it, so is somewhat limited in its scope, and also I have to say the idea of putting your mobile phone in sight and unattached to your hand in some of the parks where I grew up would be inadvisable to say the least, but you have to admit it’s a heartwarming idea: It could hopefully encourage those who are interested in knowing more about the art of DJing from a young age. It’s the “college common room stereo” of the 21st century, maybe…

• You can watch the original promo video for this here.

So, crazy idea or as glimpse of the future? Would you leave your phone without snatching reach of others in public? And where else could public, outdoor DJ booths be installed, do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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