5 Ways Detroit’s Growing Music Festival Scene Is More Awesome Than Any Other

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Well party people, August is here and the days are still long – long enough to keep our rage hats on and get down festival style here in Detroit.

As the creator of more than just one genre of music, Detroit’s done pretty well for itself in the music department. Though we don’t host any Lollapalooza style teen meet-and-greets or Coachella fashion shows, Detroit has its own eclectic little mix of events that know and love what the city has to offer. Which, in all honesty, is nothing short of a unique, potentially dirty, musical adventure. With some of our favorites just past us – MovementHamtramck Music FestivalMoPop, Backpack Music Fest, Metro Times Blowout Fest, Charivari and Mad Decent – we know the festival scene in Detroit is still going strong this summer.

Most of Detroit’s festival scene is still a little-known world that only locals are aware of. But as our list of great festivals continues to grow we’ve decided to let the cat out of the bag. Check out our list below to see just why Detroit’s music festival scene is more awesome than any other.

1. Our Venues Are More Than Just Unique, They’re Historical 

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And we’re not talking about the fact that you can see Canada just beyond the Detroit River while the beat drops lower than ever at Movement. Hart Plaza is actually the site at which Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac landed in 1701 – the settlement that eventually became Detroit.

It’s also not often that you see a century-old automotive body manufacturing building turned into an artist’s haven/musical wonderland, but Detroit’s nailed that one down with the Russell Industrial Center. Also used as a production shop for B-17 airplanes in World War II, this giant complex holds some history, and we’re lucky enough to dance through it with pride and Detroit love.

Let’s also not forget 1801 West Jefferson, the site of the former Detroit Free Press printing operation, and also what we now know as the Detroit Riverwalk on the west riverfront. From newspapers to Jimmy Buffet – we really can’t say we’re mad about the usage of this space.

2. And After The Party Is The After Party

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We won’t lie, we know some other cities out there throw some pretty sweet after parties, but nothing tops Detroit’s underground after-show scene in a sense that we’ll do anything to keep the party going all night long.

Spend all your pennies or savor those dimes, you’ll find shows with big names or with just some dude and a guitar jamming out after-party style throughout the entire city of Detroit, including the nooks and crannies of forever-vacant (or so you thought) buildings across town. From warehouses to loft shows or small, older venues, Detroit’s party never stops, and we’re all about it.

3. We Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends

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It almost goes without saying, but Detroit’s local support has us feeling the tingly warmness of a hot summer day at the Beach Bar. The local support from Detroit artists has us beaming with pride, and vice versa – the musicians we raise care as much about revitalizing Detroit as we do. As shown with the Detroit Jazz Fest, featuring Detroit and Michigan based artists during the festival weekend only gives the festival that much more value, especially to Detroiters.

In addition to artists, local vendors and organizations share the spotlight. This year, MoPop introduced the MoTech village, to showcase the work of local artists, inventors and startups. Additionally, many larger festivals don’t nearly have as much support from local food trucks as Detroit does. Rather than a long line of no-name food stands, Detroit’s food truck scene is always present, representing, and keeping us full and happy.

And even though we love support from fellow Detroiters, we still welcome out-of-towners with open arms and love showing them what we’re all about.

4. When It Comes To Music, We Have Big Shoes To Fill

Motown Museum. Daily Detroit Photo.
Motown Museum. Daily Detroit Photo.

We are Detroit – the Motor City and the Music City. There was music in Detroit before Motown (the music of the 60s), was even around. In the 1920s, the big bands in Detroit were the city’s first of many contributions to the development of jazz in America. Moving on to the 40s and 50s, Detroit lead the bebop revolution in jazz. In fact, the music that came from Detroit – jazz, blues, and rhythm – contributed to the genre that we know as Motown today.

There’s no other city in America that’s own name defines a genre. If that doesn’t tell you how much of a legacy Detroit upholds, then we’ve still got a lot of work to do.

5. We Spread More Than Just Great Vibes. We Spread A Shared Love For Our City

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We know that Detroit might not be the most typical place for a music festival, despite whatever genre of music you enjoy, but what thing we can promise you is that we all love this city.

Most visitors to Detroit come in with some common ideas and thoughts about what the city might be like, and most often, they’re there to discover for themselves if it’s true. We’re not just some other open field or jam-packed set of blocked off streets. We’re Detroit, and we’ve got a story to tell with the tunes we share, so come and see for yourselves just why we love this growing Detroit music festival scene so much.

If you’re wondering what the next festival to check out in Detroit is, some of our upcoming favorites include Dally in the Alley, the Detroit Jazz Fest, Safe in Sound Fest and 89X Chill on the Hill.

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