Well, friends, it’s hard to believe, but another Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, and with it, another remarkable year of the Movement Festival.
How the city opens its doors and turns loose for Movement each year is nothing short of extraordinary, and while there were a few hiccups this year – notably, unprecedented lines to get into the festival – in general, it was all smooth sailing and good hearted debauchery for festival patrons old and new.
The magic of this weekend always leaves us feeling all warm and fuzzy (emphasis on the fuzzy) about our stellar city. And as the last of the vibers board planes back to galaxies far far away, one can’t help but feel that despite our grab bag of issues, Detroit is truly turning a corner as a city.
With that in mind, this year got us thinking – what it is about Movement that is so special, and more importantly, what it is about Detroit that keeps people coming back from all over the world year after year?
There were countless reasons, but here were our five favorites:
1. Musical Legacy and Reputation – Beginning with jazz in the early-mid 20th century, moving onto Motown in the 60s and early punk rock 70s, all the way up the birth of techno in the 80s, Detroit’s musical legacy is deeper than Dan Gilbert’s pockets. With each genre comes a story of the DIY spirit that has solidified Detroit’s place in musical history. Creative pioneers like Barry Gordy, Iggy Pop, or Juan Atkins prove time and time again that in Detroit, if you have the vision, the possibilities for success are endless.
Movement was born out of the same DIY mind set, and has developed into one of the premier EDM festivals in the world. And though there are many options, the mystique and legacy surrounding Detroit Techno – and really all of Detroit Music – is what makes Movement unique, and what lures adventurous spirits from across the globe year after year.
2. After Hours Scene – Every festival seems to have it’s own end of night rituals, be it returning to your tent for a tender make out session with a fellow Bonaroo attendee, or bro-ing down in Wrigleyville with your new Lollapalooza friends. However, when it comes to top notch post festival entertainment, no one can match Detroit.
Whether it’s a surprise late night set at a tiny bar – like Griz at bookies on Monday; en vouge acts sharing the stage with techno legends – like Kevin Saunderson and Disclosure at the Masonic; or some up and comers throwing down at some warehouse, Detroit provides some of the best entertainment of the year during Movement. In fact, many patrons duck out of the festival early to get to take in the city in it’s most prolific display of weirdness.
3. Engaging New Fans While Satisfying Purists – No doubt, one of the biggest criticisms one might hear about Movement is the shift toward featuring more mainstream artists. Many longtime fans release a collective sigh when they see names like Snoop Dogg or Skrillex headlining the bill, as opposed acts like Detroit Techno Militia, Kevin Saunderson, or other more storied artists.
However, this year in particular, the festival was a well rounded and eclectic mix of both new and old, which made for an experience that simultaneously pushed the festival forward, while staying true to it’s underground roots. The younggins got their fix with acts like Dogg Blood and Disclosure, while the old timers could hang at the Made in Detroit Stage and see acts like Jay Daniel or Terrance Parker. With ticket sales pushing past 100,000 over the weekend, it’s clear that the festival planners are on the right track for now.
4. Hart Plaza and The River Front – When it comes to scenery, it’s tough for Movement to compete with the enchanting woods of Electric Forest, or the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama’s Hangout Fest. However, we certainly make up for in the weird allure of our native venue, Hart Plaza.
The masterful blend of concrete structures and natural environment epitomizes the urban feel of the festival. With built in bowls suited perfectly for dance parties, the mysterious underground stage, and the unmistakeable giant concrete pyramid, Hart Plaza is a truly bizarre and psychedelic space. This is especially true at night, when it’s flooded with stage lights, booming sound, and the Renaissance Center looming ominously over it all.
And let’s not forget the splendor of the fountain, or the grassy Beer Garden and river front lawn areas, which both make great spots to lay out and give your bones a rest as you take in the Detroit River.
5. Affordability – With general admission tickets going for just $150.00, and VIP remaining cheaper than general admission for almost any other notable festival, Movement is still one of the best bang for your buck ticket deals on the summer festival circuit. You can grab a giant beer and unique local food for less than at most Detroit sporting events.
While hotel rates were likely increased for this weekend, they’re still cheap compared to most major cities. Eating the local fair is reasonable, and a huge bar night will only cost you $30 bucks. Even the after parties were affordable – Disclosure and Kevin Saunderson tickets were $30.00 in advance. Honestly, the most cash you’ll dish out during a weekend at Movement is on Uber rides, which took advantage with their surge pricing. But hey, you can’t win them all.
Movement is an event that could only truly thrive in Detroit. All these little pieces and more have kept it alive, and continue to draw visitors from all over the world. Praise be to Paxahau and all the performers for yet another successful festival. We’ll see you next year!