Never have I ever felt the solid concrete beneath my feet move to the pulsating bass of music. That is, until I attended Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit (or as I’ll call it in this post, DEMF). Although I love music, my concert résumé is skeletal and until that weekend, the list below my “Music Festival” heading was blank. That’s why the sheer power of the music moved me. Maybe that’s why they call it Movement?
A bragging point for Detroiters: our city is considered as the birthplace of techno and the cradle of pioneering techno artists in the 80’s. Since the festival’s inception in 2000, DEMF has developed into one of the world’s top music festivals. In fact, the New York Post listed DEMF as #1 in their “10 Outstanding Music Fests” article in 2010. Three cheers for Detroit building an additional music reputation beyond its commonly-known repertoire of Motown and Eminem. Which is also good news for Detroit, because as the beat pumps in the ears, attendee’s money pumps into the local economy.
Four outdoor stages and one hidden underground stage stand as music monuments in Hart Plaza. The grounds were crawling with subjects of any people watcher’s delight. Girls wearing the same thing as a Victoria’s Secret window mannequin. A group garbed in cardboard beer boxes shaped as Transformers roamed the grounds. Couples wearing more candy necklaces than a 25-cent vending machine at a grocery store. Your average Jane and Joe. Sometimes parents with their children in tow who just made me shake my head. Individuals with a peculiar sweat and unfocused stare. Neon spandex. And bodies… thousands of bodies dancing, jumping, stomping, swaying, moving. There were blow up alligators, horse-heads, a rave baby on a stick (see video below), hammocks in trees and the most random accessories that would only make sense in a Dalí painting. I loved the eclectic energy.
What I loved even more was the music, whose bass forced an extra beat in my chest cavity. The vibration from the speakers were so penetrating, my eardrums tickled. For those with weak ears, bring earplugs or purchase them from an on-site vendor. The crowd was completely enveloped in this electronic music. This was fun. My favorite DEMF moment was when I was unexpectedly hoisted in the air, at the front of the stage, towering above the swarm of people. What a view (which you can also see toward the end of the video below).
While the 3-day weekend pass can cost about $70, I was fortunate to have won my pass by calling into a local radio station. Will I go again next year? Absolutely. Attending Detroit’s Movement Electronic Music Festival is worth the price.
Clips from DEMF: