Lifestyle

10 Reasons Movement Could Only Exist in Detroit

movement detroit
Bryan Mitchell

Austin has South by Southwest. Chicago has Lollapalooza. The middle of the California desert has Coachella. And Detroit has Movement. Mega-festivals with million-dollar talent are as commonplace as a Kardashian in couture nowadays, but certain festivals rise above the rest as distinctly unique to their time and place, as much identified by the city that they're in as the city itself has come to be synonymous with them. SXSW is Austin. Movement is techno, and techno is Detroit. 

Movement wouldn't be Movement if it existed in any city other than Detroit. This is why. 

1. Detroit invented techno

Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson are known as "the Belleville Three." The Belleville Three are known as the guys who invented techno, tinkering around in their basements in a small town called Belleville just outside of Detroit in the late '70s and early '80s, making electronic music with analog synthesizers and early drum machines. The sound they created was part-Kraftwerk, part-Parliament-Funkadelic, and all-Detroit. It became a hit in Detroit clubs and launched a whole new genre of modern music that would inexplicably become closely associated with neon-colored fuzzy boots.

movement festival
Bryan Mitchell

2. You won't see the likes of Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, or Skrillex* here

Detroiters are really sensitive when it comes to who's a "real" DJ and who just presses buttons on their MacBooks, and the general Detroit consensus is that the Vegas superclub, Forbes-list mega-DJs are overpaid, overhyped clowns. Where else will you see guys like Eddie Fowlkes and Kenny Larkin play a main stage, if at all? Only in Detroit.

*Up until 2015, Movement was the last bastion of music festivals at which Skrillex was not present... well, so much for that... but at least his set is in collaboration with Boys Noize.

movement festival
Douglas Wojciechowsk

3. Also, we don’t call it 'EDM'

It's techno. Techno. TECH-NO. Not friggin' "EDM."

movement festival
Douglas Wojciechowski

4. Every year the lineup includes a strong showcase of Detroit talent

Not just the Belleville Three (at least one or two of which are on the bill every year), but also a host of other locals past and present like Stacey Pullen, Seth Troxler, Sinistarr, Terrence Parker, Carl Craig, Darkcube, Derek Plaslaiko, Steve Dronez, and Ghostly International affiliates. Also Richie Hawtin, a Movement mainstay who has been an honorary Detroiter for decades, despite technically being Windsorian.  

movement detroit
Bryan Mitchell

5. And it's not just button-pushing

Detroit is a music town, so you'll also find hip-hop artists and crossover acts with live instrumentation in addition to high-energy live DJ sets. This year, look for live sets from the likes of Squarepusher and Model 500 (née Juan Atkins), as well as Method Man and Detroit rapper Danny Brown.  

movement festival
Trevor Dernai

6. The after-parties are both everywhere and nearby

Dozens of after-parties are within walking (okay, short driving) distance from the festival, and that's when the party really starts. St. Andrew's, Bleu, TV Lounge, City Club, Northern Lights, The Works, the Old Miami, Tangent Gallery/Hastings Street Ballroom, Populux, the Majestic, Whiskey Disco, Bookies, MotorCity Wine, 1515 Broadway, the Whisky Parlor, Bert's, Masonic Temple, Trumbullplex, MIX, Checker Bar and POP, and so many more will be keep the party raging for 72+ solid hours, if you feel so inclined.

You know what you get when you go to EDC in Las Vegas? You get to party in a motor speedway in the middle of the damn desert, miles from anything that remotely resembles "civilization," and probably five hours back to the Strip in gridlocked LA traffic because every raver in LA is in town and they bring their $%&@ traffic with them. Detroit, you don't know how lucky you are. 

movement festival
Aaron Jones

7. The setting is pure Detroit

You want ambiance? We'll give you some damn ambiance. The backdrop of Movement is the historic Detroit Financial District on one side -- and the Neo-Gothic One Detroit Center makes a damn fine backdrop indeed -- and the Detroit River and Windsor waterfront on the other, which is to say nothing of the venue itself. Hart Plaza is 14 acres of concrete jungle-meets-fertile Midwestern landscape, including an open-air amphitheater and sprawling concrete courtyard with pockets of grassy hills and tree-lined retreats tucked around every corner. The Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain (which looks like a spaceship) and the metal arch sculpture "Transcending" (which looks like a Stargate) are favored sites for selfies and Instagram shots. 

movement detroit
Paul Kelley

8. The entire city embraces Movement

This isn't just another any old festival in just another any old city; Movement is a citywide holiday. "It's festival weekend" is a perfectly common and oft-heard excuse as to why all life things are on hold until June. Also, for those who've been doing this for a minute, it's not even "Movement;" it's "the festival." THE festival. Because, despite the large number of festivals held in Detroit every year, every Detroiter knows which one is THE one.

movement detroit
Joshua Hanford

9. It's more than a festival, it's a celebration of local pride

Granted, for the candy-kids this is just another place to party, but for the old guard who've seen some things in Detroit over the last few decades, this is our heritage, and we hold it sacred. 

movement detroit
Trevor Dernai

10. Because there ain't no party like a Detroit party

Seriously though.

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Nicole Rupersburg is a freelance writer covering food, travel, arts, culture, and what-have-you. She winters in Las Vegas and summers in Detroit, as does anybody who's anybody. 

Austin has South by Southwest. Chicago has Lollapalooza. The middle of the California desert has Coachella. And Detroit has Movement. Mega-festivals with million-dollar talent are as commonplace as a Kardashian in couture nowadays, but certain festivals rise above the rest as distinctly unique to their time and place, as much identified by the city that they're in as the city itself has come to be synonymous with them. SXSW is Austin. Movement is techno, and techno is Detroit. 

Movement wouldn't be Movement if it existed in any city other than Detroit. This is why.