In a two-finger salute to sleepless nights, there’s no better time to bang out my recap of the largest electronic dance music festival in America with any shred of dignity. Even though it technically ends Memorial Day, any fool who’s been there knows the fun starts a week before and continues for days after.
If you’ve made it this far, you likely fall into one of two categories. The first category is those of you who would have liked to go to Movement but couldn’t make it, while the rest of you are wondering what Movement is, and why you should give a shit. This is my caveat: I’m not going to dumb this piece down to tell you why Movement is the most culturally and artistically relevant music festival in the States. You’ve got Facebook open all day, tab over to Google and find out for yourself.
Any half-baked fan of EDM will experience something beautiful in the city of Detroit and at the festival. Movement attracts the serious set from all four corners of the map, so by chance you missed it this year, and you’re a fan of the kind of acts that are on the lineup, make 2018 a priority. Over 100,000 people can’t be wrong. Since this piece will be read mostly by those who reside in North Florida, if it’s a choice between Miami and the D, don’t even think twice.
Instead of trying to be one of the first on the block this year, I wanted to grab a seat and see what the flashiest digital rags had to say about Movement. They all read like they’ve written about one too many festivals, trying to come at it from all different angles: who the best acts were, to what attendees think about the POTUS (I did not hear one person mention his name the entire time I was there). Why would I even think about politics when Michael Mayer is literally staring me in the face and playing the new Sasha record, while two thousand people go batshit crazy? Mike Banks, who leads Detroit’s Underground Resistance put it best in 1994 when he explained his take on techno: “There are definite messages there through tonal communication and you can’t assess it – that’s why techno is deadlier than rap.”
So once the plane touched down, one of our crew was phoned by our host. This year the rental wasn’t exactly in the ruin porn section of Detroit, but aside from this building and one other structure, the landscape was almost depleted. That didn’t bother us. Nor did the dope smoke in the hallway. Or even the competing gang graffiti on opposite streetsides. What got on our nerves was that due to a series of monumental screw-ups (none on our part), we were never able to actually check-in. We even got as far as some shut-eye on the sofa. Our lot decided to hotel it and get down to the business of partying.
Each year, the weight of the madness leans more on the afterparties. Movement runs for three days, closing at midnight on each day, but the afterparties are renowned for the debauchery. We decided to kick off the weekend downtown at Bookies, because we’d pissed most of our Thursday with a terrible Airbnb experience, saved only by a visit to Detroit’s most fortified White Castle. Bang Tech 12 / Detroit Techno Militia and the venue itself were all celebrating anniversaries that were combined into one three-story, days-long party with a laundry list of DJs. People could not contain themselves, the excitement was evident. We hooked up with our other friends from all over and salvaged the night for a bit.
On Day 1 of Movement proper, I noticed a lot of fucking people sporting Coachella and EDC gear. Enough to curse over. My first thought was that people are really thirsty to be cool, but I figured if these headz want to graduate to an event that highlights the best of underground dance music, they’re at the right place. Welcome aboard. Unfortunately, that equates to the vibe being a little less friendlier. After that initial shock, I could enjoy the festival. Right this moment, I’m angling for a two-hour disco nap. The story continues…