The Dubspot crew headed to Detroit, Michigan for Memorial Day weekend this year to take part in the city’s annual Movement Electronic Music Festival – a three day celebration of Techno, House, Hip-Hop, and the love of electronic music culture. The event shows homage to more than 100 of electronic music’s most illustrious artists, local heavyweights, and pioneering legends. Check out a few highlights we experienced during our journey to the birthplace of techno, Motor City.
Dubspot @ Movement 2015
Known for its legendary musical history, Detroit Michigan has been a metropolis enriched with a deeply rooted music culture and a vibrant arts scene that dates long before the days of Motown and the rise of Techno. Cited as “The Birthplace of Techno,” Detroit’s deep ties to Techno and House origins, as well as pride for staying true to the underground culture fuels the city’s vibrant electronic music scene.
Over the three days of Memorial Day weekend, Detroit transformed into the nation’s premier destination for Techno and House music as over 100,000 attendees from around the world descended upon the city to experience the legendary Movement Electronic Music Festival. For well over a decade Movement has been the longest running independent music festival in the nation, which takes place along Detroit’s Riverfront bordering Windsor, Canada at the historic Hart Plaza. With stunning views of the waterfront and skylines from both city’s, Hart Plaza is the perfect setting for an awe-inspiring music experience. Its urban design, arch sculpture, a memorial fountain, art exhibit, and multiple concrete levels of built-in amphitheaters act as a playground for festival goers.
The six technologically-rich stages hosted 141 artists who performed for the festival’s highest number of music fans in a celebration of Techno, House, Hip-Hop, and Detroit’s extensive legacy of musical roots and resilient spirit. What makes the festival special is that it’s truly dedicated to the love of electronic music and its evolving culture. Movement is globally recognized for its traditions, talent curation, and homage to artists from a wide spectrum of pioneers, rising stars, local luminaries, industry innovators, and those who looked to Detroit’s music scene for inspiration.
Movement is more than just a music festival, it’s a part of the city’s fabric that not only celebrates music, but is a means to rebuild a broken city and shine a positive light on its hardships. Unlike most festivals that just focus on a commercial image, Movement keeps it homegrown by bringing in local business, local food vendors, and Michigan crafted beer selections. There is something for everyone, and the festival is a family event designed to be enjoyed by all ages. It’s not uncommon to see seasoned fans decked out and dancing to toddlers experiencing electronic music for their first time. Also, kids 12 and under enjoy free admission to the festival. The entire event is a symbol of the hustle and prevalence that supports the local saying “Detroit Hustles Harder.”
The Movement experience goes beyond the festival. The week leading up to the festival is brimming full of Movement pre-parties, and each night during the festival has Detroit thumping of bass from dozens of after parties scattered across the city. With well over 100 parties and music pounding 24/7, the weekend becomes a marathon of electronic music.
Movement Main Stage
The Movement Stage located in an amphitheater-like bowl at the center of Hart Plaza had some of the most buzzed-about headlining moments. Richie Hawtin closed Saturday night with his renowned minimal sound backed by an impressive light show accompanied with 12 spotlights beaming high into the sky forming a tight pyramid above his head. Hawtin was so deep in his element that he played past Hart Plaza’s midnight curfew. Sunday nights closing set by Skrillex and Boys Noize as the enigmatic duo, Dog Blood shook the city of Detroit. The rowdy performance pulled the biggest crowd of the weekend, and possibly the largest amount of people the amphitheater has seen in its history. Sunday also showcased Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White performing together as Art Department for one of the last times before parting ways to pursue solo careers. Monday’s closing set by legendary Hip-Hop artist Snoop Dogg as DJ Snoopadelic is rumored to have been one of the festival’s biggest disappointments. Although many say his Top 40 set was unorthodox for this festival, and his performance matched a wedding DJ waving his hands while shuffling through a playlist, the crowd seemed to love it.
Red Bull Music Academy Stage
Alongside the Riverfront next to the Movement Main Stage stood the Red Bull Music Academy Stage, which infused the most diverse acts of the festival. Saturdays headlining performance by Grammy-nominated British duo Disclosure had the crowd swarming as they played their chart-topping hits. During the day, you could hear fans rapping along and waving W-symbols with their hands to hip-hop classics as Method Man pumped up the crowd with his signature energy. He even hurled himself into the crowd. During Hudson Mohawke’s performance on Sunday, a Detroit police officer made his way on stage looking to shut things down, only to turn to the crowd with excitement as he started hyping up the fans. That wasn’t Officer Youngblood’s only performance of the day, he was also seen entertaining the crowd by joining a breakdance circle busting moves and doing handstands. Sunday evening, Detroit Techno pioneer Juan Atkins excited fans with a special performance under his iconic alias, Model 500 to celebrate the iconic Metroplex Records 30-year Anniversary.
Check out the videos of the Detroit’s Officer Frederick Youngblood entertaining the crowd.
Across the plaza from the Redbull Stage along the Riverfront stood the Beatport Stage. This year’s showcase of heavy hitters included some of electronic music’s most celebrated DJs and producers, such as Tuskegee (Seth Troxler b2b The Martinez Brothers), Soul Clap, Maya Jane Coles, Hot Since 82, Dubfire, and Joris Voorn to name a few. Under the sun’s heat, this stage brought a welcomed breeze from the waterfront, amazing views, and flawless performances. On the way to the stage, it was hard to pass up several crowd-pleasing food vendors from local favorites and a Riverfront Biergarten featuring several local, regional, and international beer selections. There was even an innovative new art installation featuring a curated history of Detroit music, presented by Novation.
Made in Detroit Stage presented by THUMP
Heading up towards the city streets near Hart Plaza’s entrance stood the Made In Detroit Stage presented by THUMP. Throughout the weekend, you could catch artists from Detroit performing across all six stages, but it was THUMP’s Made in Detroit Stage that really focused on local talent, both classic and new. Saturdays Detroit Love Showcase presented by Carl Craig had fans throwing their hands in the air and dancing through the entrance in a music remedy relief on Saturday after a ticketing malfunction left thousands waiting in line for hours. Sunday’s Ghostly International Showcase with Matthew Dear at the helm had a steady pulse of Techno all day and night. Kevin Saunderson’s Origins Showcase on Sunday kept the core spirit of Detroit Techno moving along with a focus on music history. Warming up the final day was local up-comers DInk & TK, later followed by Kevin’s sons Dantiez and DaMarii Saunderson, as The Saunderson Brothers, as well as longtime friend MK (Mark Kinchen). The final act welcomed the greatly anticipated return of HI-Tech Soul, a project that Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May curated by using four separate turntables.
Adjacent to the Movement Main Stage under a concrete fortress, a deadly techno lineup shook the walls of the Underground Stage. Those explorating a darker atmosphere in a catacomb of bass found their way through grit and sweat to dance to the intensity of Cell Injection, Rødhåd, Nina Kravitz, Matador, and other elite Techno visionaries.
Located to the left of the main entrance stood the Sixth Stage, a new addition dedicated to showcasing some of the best Detroit-based up-and-comers. Drum and Bass heads fed off the high octane energy Saturday during the Konkrete Jungle Showcase. The headlining performance from Detroit’s own, Sinistarr had fans going wild while purists came with their matching t-shirts to support Sunday’s Detroit Techno Militia Showcase close out the evening.
The all-new Technology Area located near the Movement Main Stage and the Underground Stage was a great place to take a break and have an opportunity to explore the art and science behind the music. The Dubspot showcase stood tall alongside some of the industry’s top brands like Allen & Heath, Roland, Serato, Elektron, and many others.
To learn more, visit www.movement.us.
Paxahau, now in its tenth year as producer of the Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit, first established itself two decades ago as an online resource to promote both Detroit and electronic music. Paxahau is a name synonymous with excellence and has an industry reputation that is unparalleled. Paxahau maintains Movement’s independently owned festival status and is recognized across the world by artists and industry executives as a premier production and promotions organization rooted firmly in the birthplace of Techno.
Awards and accolades received by the festival and producer include:
- #2 on Beatport’s “15 Incredible Techno Festivals to Hit in 2015”
- Resident Advisor’s “Festival of the Month” for May 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007
- #2 on THUMP’s “10 North American Festivals That Won 2014”
- #5 on inthemix list of “12 Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss in 2014”
- #6 on Magnetic Mag’s list of “Most Life-changing EDM Festivals”
- #8 on Rolling Stone list of “Summer 2014’s Must-See Music Festivals”
- #14 on Pulse Radio’s “Must Do Festivals Before You Die” 2014
- “Best Festival” by Metrotimes reader’s survey in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2009.
- #2 on Details “Hottest Summer Music Festivals of 2013”
- #2 on Beatport’s “20 Most Anticipated Dance Music Festivals Around the World” 2013
- #10 on Do Android’s Dance? “Best Festivals of 2013”
- #18 on inthemix list of “25 Festivals to Discover Before You Die” 2013
- “Best Niche Festival” 2011 Rolling Stone
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