The top 10 reasons you need to go to Movement Detroit
Calling Movement Detroit America’s top electronic music festival is a widespread opinion these days, but it’s also an understatement to just how amazing of an overall festival experience Movement is.
Festivals crop up and disappear all the time now, but Movement has been going strong for fifteen years, each year getting bigger than the previous, with this year seeing all-time highs in attendance of over 100,000 people descending upon the amazing Hart Plaza to take in the world’s finest techno and electronic music.
The Sunday afternoon crowd goes wild for Josh Wink at the main stage.
The Movement experience creates repeat attendees, such as 72-year-old Patricia Lay-Dorsey, known to most as Grandma Techno, who has been to Movement every year since 2005 and knows good techno.
10 reasons why you will become a repeat attendee of Movement Detroit
1. The underground DJ bookings
Carl Craig, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, Richie Hawtin, MK – the list of Detroit artists that influenced the world are countless, and a large percentage of them play Movement every year.
Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May close out the Made in Detroit stage with their presentation of Hi-Tech Soul.
On top of that, the best underground artists from around the world want to play at Movement because of the high level of quality control, prestige and honor that comes with playing at the birthplace of techno to some of the best crowds in the world.
Nicole Moudaber lighting up the Detroit crowd with a dark blend of moody techno.
Here is Joris Voorn absolutely smashing the crowd during his closing set at the Beatport stage on the festival’s final day.
There were a few ‘left-field’ bookings at Movement that strayed from house and techno, such as Warp Records dance-punk band !!!, rappers Danny Brown and Method Man, and the Skrillex/Boys Noize mega-duo Dog Blood.
All of the 100+ performances got great crowd reviews except for one: Snoop Dogg’s lazy attempt at DJing under the moniker ‘DJ Snoopadelic.’ The crowd was willing to give some leeway to Snoop, but eventually playing Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” he completely lost a lot of the crowd. I hate to bag on Snoop, but this was honestly my only complaint of the entire weekend.
Love you Snoop, but you are not a DJ.
2. History – “This is the real sh-t”
Detroit is the birthplace of techno, which along with house music from Chicago, has gone on to completely change nightlife around the world. The weekly club-going ritual that millions partake in every weekend can largely be traced back to Detroit.
Matthew Dear closing out the Ghostly International showcase on the Made in Detroit stage to a packed crowd.
Artists love to play here because of the great records, DJs, and crowds that Detroit has. Hanging out on the stages while DJs were loading in, I overheard some artists catching up with another and one said, “Detroit! This is the real sh-t!”
3. Location – Hart Plaza is amazing
Besides the built-in significance of Detroit being the birthplace of techno, Hart Plaza is a truly wonderful place to take in a festival. Most wouldn’t describe Detroit as beautiful, but with scenic views of the downtown Detroit sykline, amazing sculptures and architecture scattered across the plaza, and a view over into Canada across the Detroit River, Hart Plaza adds some serious vibes to the Movement weekend.
Here is the Dodge Fountain, dedicated in 2003, with the GM building in the background, prior to the festival grounds being swarmed.
4. The epic ‘only-in-Detroit’ moments
People from Detroit genuinely love techno and are proud to call it their own. The Movement crowd is open-minded and wants the artists to play deep and hard, which ends up resulting in some amazing musical moments.
The main stage crowd going nuts for Josh Wink’s classic “Higher State of Consciousness” as the famous acidic riffs unleash.
Movement 2015 became a national news story when Detroit Cop Frederick Youngblood starting turning up during Hudson Mohawke’s set at the Red Bull Music Academy Stage.
5. The chest-thumping sound
Route 94 pelting the Beatport stage with a booming re-work of his chart-topping “My Love.”
Unless you want to suffer irreparable ear damage, you absolutely 100% need to bring earplugs with you to Movement. Techno is best served at mind altering decibels, and the crew running the sound at Movement know exactly what’s up, creating a rumbling that can be heard well inland of Detroit and across the river in Windsor, Ontario.
DETROIT ELECTRONIC FESTIVAL – Detroit riverfront – loud bass can be heard as far as town of Tecumseh – FYI ^07951 — Windsor Police (@WindsorPolice) May 26, 2014
“No noise complaints during Movement weekend,” the Windsor, Ontario police said!
“No noise complaints during Movement weekend,” said the Windsor, Ontario Police. Feeling throbbing techno bass drops in your chest is something that everyone truly needs to experience. @NicoleMoudaber could here you from across the water in Windsor, On Canada! #bass @MovementDetroit — The Safety Guy (@PPSafetyGuy) May 26, 2015
Nicole Moudaber’s sexy tech rumblings could be heard well into Canada.
6. The six distinct stages
The calm before the storm at the much honored main stage.
The Beatport stage was a memorable place to catch some amazing music, having an elevated ‘pyramid’ for attendees to dance on and being situated right on the Detroit River.
The Made in Detroit stage presented by THUMP glowing at night.
The Underground stage was a big draw for Movement attendees with its lineup of heavy techno and intimate club feel.
7. The afterparties: check your sleep at the door
Here is Ben Klock finishing out an amazing set to close the night at Sunday’s Underground stage.
Although the festival’s programming ends at midnight, many would argue that this is when the Movement experience begins. There is a dizzying amount of after-parties with top notch talent supplying the vibes well into the next morning/afternoon – prepare to catch up on sleep later.
8. Detroit Love
It’s all love at Movement Detroit, as security guards exchange kandi with festival-goers.
Whether it’s amazing people like Grandma Techno, cops that just wanna have fun, or security guards fist pumping to a bass drop, everyone that’s out at Detroit during Movement is there for the right reason: to party together and listen to some amazing music. All the artists are happy to be playing in Detroit and you can feel the camaraderie as DJs and festival-goers interact throughout the weekend.
You know Grandma Techno gets mad kandi!
9. Great vendors
Roland had a gear-head’s wet dream at their table in the tech area.
Although the obvious focus of Movement is on the stages and performers, there was quite a lot to do just around the festival as well. Major players such as Roland had tables filled with gear and experts on hand to show off the tools of the trade that go into a lot of the music played on stage. Beyond that, a lot of the historic Detroit labels were represented such as Carl Craig’s Planet E and Moodymann’s Mahogani Music. I ran into Moodymann at his tent for a quick fist bump, and overheard him expressing disappointment for Snoop Dogg’s ‘DJ set’ laced with mainstream top-40 anthems.
10. Even better event management
Ghostly boss Matthew Dear echoing a sentiment shared by many – that Movement is a fantastic and extremely well run event.
A big tip of the hat goes to Paxahau, the Detroit-based event management company that inherited the history of the festival and keeps improving it year after year.
This was my first of what will be many years attending Movement – the festival itself and the city of Detroit exceeded all the hype that I’ve heard about the festival and I assure you that it’s totally worth your efforts to get out there and attend. See you next year!
Photos by Peter Liu