Did you spot a tour guide kitted out in fluorescent Lycra leading a large group of smiling headphone-clad followers, joyfully singing and shaking their groove thing across the city during one of the last two Adelaide Fringe festivals? Chances are you saw a Guru Dudu Silent Disco Tour in all its multi-coloured glory and now two of these charismatic tour guides are heading back to town for the DreamBIG Children’s Festival and more.
Guru Dudu, aka David Naylor, created his entertaining tour concept in 2013. It’s a magical mash up of a (semi-traditional!) guided walking tour with the more modern silent disco experience, where participants listen to a common soundtrack through their own headphones. What really makes this tour stand out though, is the colourful addition of an unmissable, disco-themed tour guide.
The Guru Dudu silent disco walking tours have become so popular across Australia and Europe/UK that there are now 13 tour guides in the Guru Dudu village – each with their own character – and more joining soon. The original Guru Dudu is an enlightened yoga fanatic who loves to dance, sing and have fun with his tour groups. Other guides have their own personalities. Mucho Micho is a Latin dance lover leading groups in a passionate fiesta. Disko Duk Duk, brings people together to play and loves to create a flash mob performance.
“These tours are about bringing people up and, even when we’re being a little bit cheeky, it’s never at the expense of others,” says David Hall aka Disko Duk Duk.
Despite the number of characters, there’s a common thread across all the guides.
“We all encourage participation, joy, play, laughter, taking a chance, saying ‘yes’ and through all that, bring smiles to the world,” says Hall.
The first thing the Guru Dudu guides do when designing a tour in a new city is to hit the local streets.
“Exploring the area on foot and making allies is a really important part of making these tours successful,” says Hall. “We make a point to go into businesses along the routes, talking to the owners and explaining the Guru Dudu concept.”
He said businesses in Adelaide had been very supportive and establishing that initial introduction means that, when they return in character with the group, the traders can also take part in the fun.
As the title of the tour suggests, the guides are dressed disco-style in loud Lycra, so they definitely draw attention.
“There is still a sense of surprise in Adelaide that we don’t see in all cities,” says Hall. “We’ll often be stopped by people wondering why a yellow and green disco guy is walking down the street. Everyone wants to know what we are doing and what’s happening.”
So what are you likely to see on this city journey? Well, Guru Dudu’s hosts are less inclined to include major city landmarks and more likely to let the group itself become the attraction.
“People like to sit in cafés, taking in the world around them. They talk about ‘people watching’ but, if everyone is sitting down, who are they going to watch? We like to think we’re contributing to the landscape, taking an everyday functional area and bringing some fun to it. Sometimes we even bring the observers into the experience by giving them their own headphones to join in for a song before we move on to our next stop.”
If you’ve been on a Guru Dudu tour already, don’t think it needs to be your last as the team is committed to keeping things fresh. “We already have ABBA and Queen nights and we’re about to introduce a Madonna vs Kylie tour,” says Hall.
This month, Mucho Micho and Lila La’Diva arrive in Adelaide to lead kids’ disco walking tours during the DreamBIG Children’s Festival (see the DreamBIG website for dates, age recommendations and to get your tickets). Guru Dudu have also scheduled a one-off disco walking tour on 18 October 2019 and plan to lay down roots in Adelaide with local hosts so you can strut, oops, we mean tour around Adelaide all year round!
If self-guided tours are more your style, the City of Adelaide has options galore for you to try. Head to our Maps, Guides and Trails webpage and get exploring!