It's true, I've been to every one of these incredible near-indescribable festivals, which began as a pre-millennial dream to bring together local artists, who pioneered the music called techno in the early 1980s (evolved from various sources including disco, funk, soul, German and UK-based electronic punks, hippies and serious tech nerds), with producers and DJs doing it on a global scale. The idea was to celebrate Detroit as a point of inspiration, of convergence, for music that was always associated with "the future."
After hitting a few financial and personal snags at the beginning -- though remarkable how a ship so large could right itself when doubters said it could not be done -- the event first dubbed the Detroit Electronic Music Festival then Fuse-In then the current Movement survived its growing pains and has become one the world's most impressive dance music spectacles. Over 100,000 people are expected to flood into downtown's Hart Plaza over the weekend. Dozens of off-site parties await the insatiable who can never get enough beats.
That's a lot of people here to spend some money, admire the architecture, bike around downtown, Midtown and other neighborhoods (thanks for scheduling those tours, Wheelhouse Detroit!)
, get out to Heidelberg, check out the art, the farm and funky urbanist movements -- all the the unique qualities that make Detroit so desirable to people that get it.
I will make the argument that each of these festivals -- we're up to 12 now -- ripples out into the world better that any P.R. or advertising or marketing strategy could ever achieve. It's real life on display here. Total immersion in Detroit experience. Not much gets better than that.
Highlights are many on the five stages at Hart Plaza:
On Saturday, check out Windsor's Hawtin brothers -- Matthew gets things started at noon and Rich Hawtin, one of the titans of techno since the early 1990s, closes the Beatport stage with a 10 p.m. DJ slot.
Made in Detroit Stage features Mike Servito (from Detroit, now in Brooklyn) and Detroiter Michael Geiger. Also on the same stage: Visionquest, a collective made up of Seth Troxler, Ryan Crosson, Shaun Reeves and Lee Curtiss -- all from Michigan but living in various parts of the world. At the Torino Stage, check out the festival debut of the Siege, the newest project of Woodbridge-based Blank Artists.
On Sunday, locate Detroit's Minx on the Made in Detroit Stage; Detroit's nospectacle performs wit Markus Guentner from Regensberg, Germany (full disclosure here: nospectacle is an all electronics project featuring Christopher McNamara, Jennifer Paull and Walter Wasacz) on the Torino Stage; followed by Echospace, a duo featuring Port Huron's Rod Modell. Also find locals John Collins, Al Ester and Delano Smith are on the Made in Detroit Stage.
Special guest Ricardo Villalobos, a Chilean-German who last played Detroit in 2002, will perform on the Vitamin Water Stage. See FilterD for details.
Options on Monday include Clark Warner (former Detroiter now in Denver) and Secrets (Detroit's Matt Abbott) at Beatport; Erika Sherman and DJ 3000 (Hamtramck native Franki Juncaj) on the Made in Detroit Stage. Also Monday: Detroit's Terrence Parker (Vitamin Water), Pearson Sound/Ramadanman (London's David Kennedy in his Detroit debut) at Red Bull, and Detroit garage rock heroes the Dirtbombs at Vitamin Water.
To get the full schedule with stages and performance times, go here.
Look for a photo story by Marvin Shaouni in the June 7 issue of Model D. We'll look for you out there.
All photographs © Marvin Shaouni Photography