Detroit Electronic Music Festival

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Movement Electronic Music Festival
Movement Electronic Music Festival front display
Genre Electronic Music
Dates Memorial Day weekend (late May)
Location(s) Detroit, Michigan, United States United States
Years active 2000 - present

Movement Electronic Music Festival is an annual electronic dance music event held in Detroit each Memorial Day weekend since 2006. Previous electronic music festivals held at Hart Plaza on Memorial Day weekend include Detroit Electronic Music Festival (2000–2002), Movement (2003–2004) and Fuse-In (2005). The four different festival names reflect completely separate and distinct producers, brands and directions. All of these festivals presented performances by musicians and DJs that emphasized the progressive qualities of the culture surrounding electronic music.

In late 2013, the original DEMF management announced plans for the return of the Detroit Electronic Music Festival as a free-admission event at Campus Martius Park on Independence Day weekend, 2014, along with the paid-admission Federation of Electronic Music Technology (FEMT), a concurrent conference and music showcase at Ford Field. These events were later rescheduled for 2015.[1] These events are not connected to the Movement Electronic Music Festival planned for Memorial Day weekend in Hart Plaza.[2][3]


The first electronic music festival held in Detroit was the Detroit Electronic Music Festival in 2000, produced by Carol Marvin and her organization Pop Culture Media (which included long-time event producer Adriel Thornton, Telo Dunne and Barbara Deyo and others). Taking place in Detroit's Hart Plaza, it was a landmark event that brought visitors from all over the world to celebrate Techno music in the city of its birth. The event was one of the first electronic music festivals in the United States.

2000: Successful launch[edit]

The first DEMF occurred in May 2000 and concluded with few hitches and no reported crime. It was applauded by city leaders and tourism officials as an injection of youthful energy into the city.

As Tom Thewes the Co Founder of the Detroit Electronic Music Festival gives credit, "Without the Help of Steven Sowers, the owner of Motor Lounge Detroit, not only would we have not had been able to have a successful festival, but there would not have been a festival at all. Motor Detroit Laid the foundation and groundwork for the Detroit Electronic Music Festival". Motor Lounge was the Billboard Magazines number 13 Top 25 Dance Clubs in the World of All Time.[4]

Attendance at the first DEMF surpassed expectations, with estimates over the three-day run surpassing one million visitors. Subsequent festivals drew even bigger crowds. City officials and others, including media observers and local businesses, saw the apparent economic boost to the city, with the Visitors and Convention Bureau stating that in only its second year, the event had pumped over US$90 million into the local economy.

2001–2002: DEMF growth and controversy[edit]

In the festival's second year and beyond, many independently organized and impromptu techno music parties packed Detroit and Windsor-area clubs and makeshift venues early into each morning during the festival's run.[citation needed]

Ford Motor Company provided an unprecedented $435,000 for Title sponsorship of the 2001 event, which was renamed the Focus Detroit Electronic Music Festival. This allowed the free-of-charge event to continue to be a gift to the fans and made the festival a profitable venture in its second year. Festival producer Pop Culture Media, with Carol Marvin at the helm, worked with Ford to create a nationwide television ad campaign featuring the music of Detroit Techno founder Juan Atkins. Controversy ensued when producer Carol Marvin reluctantly fired artistic director Carl Craig for breach of contract.

2003–2004: Movement[edit]

In January 2003, Detroit city Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick decided, to override the Recreation Department (which controls and manages Hart Plaza) and secured Hart Plaza and the Memorial Day weekend dates for Derrick May, who had extensive experience as a touring DJ but no firsthand, large-scale festival production experience. May put a first class team in place, which included a donation by Philadelphia-based P.A.W.N. LASERS, but the biggest hurdle faced by the Festival was the City Of Detroit's withdrawal of $350,000 funding that it had provided in previous years.

The second Movement festival took place in 2004, but despite its public success, the event faced significant financial losses and its fate became uncertain.

2005: Fuse-In[edit]

In February 2005, May announced his resignation as festival producer, and the festival once again changed hands. Fellow techno veteran Kevin Saunderson announced plans for a Movement replacement to be called Fuse-In Detroit (later shortened to just Fuse-In, with the tagline "Detroit's Electronic Movement") to be staged Memorial Day Weekend 2005.

Successful negotiations with city officials led to 2005 becoming the first year that an event in Hart Plaza did not have free admission. A total of 41,220 admission passes were sold to Fuse-In visitors. 38,382 daily passes were sold for $10 each, and 2,838 weekend passes, covering the full three days, were sold for $25 each. The City of Detroit collected $1 per pass, and was to have collected 30% of festival profits, but admission pass sales did not recoup the festival's $756,000 budget. [1]

2006–present: Movement[edit]

On February 16, 2006, Kevin Saunderson announced that due to financial losses and lack of sufficient promotion, he would not continue to produce the festival in 2006. As of March 23, Paxahau of Detroit, Michigan, an event production company that has worked with Craig, May, and Saunderson, secured the venue and dates from Saunderson to produce the festival under the name "Movement." Paxahau has been producing their festival from 2006 to present, celebrating their 10 year anniversary in 2016.

2007: Movement[edit]

A Guy Called Gerald at the festival
A Guy Called Gerald performing at the festival in 2007

In 2007 the festival took place over a span of three days, May 26-May 28, 2007.

2008: Movement[edit]

In 2008 the festival took place over a three-day span, May 24-May 26, 2008. Ticket prices this year were set at $40 presale or $55 at the door for a weekend pass, and $175 for a VIP Pass.

2009: Movement[edit]

Day one of 2009 festival
Shawn Rudiman, Festival, and the DTM FREE After Party, day one of 2009 festival

Movement 2009 took place from Saturday, May 23, 2009 thru Monday, May 25, 2009 in Hart Plaza in Detroit, Michigan. These two mobile friendly sites include information about after parties, lodging and an easy to read schedule or The weekend overlaps with CouchSurfing's event CouchCrash and with the International Swordfighting and Martial Arts Convention

2010: Movement[edit]

Movement 2010 took place May 29–31, 2010. This was the 10th anniversary of Detroit's yearly electronic music festival. Plastikman confirmed his appearance on his official website. [2] Other confirmed artists include Mr. Scruff, Ida Engberg, Jamie Jones, and Woody McBride.

2011: Movement[edit]

Movement 2011 was held on May 28–30, 2011 and took place at Hart Plaza in Detroit, Michigan; the same location as every year since its inception. Featured artists this year include Fatboy Slim, Carl Craig, Beardyman, Felix da Housecat, and Skrillex. This year's "secret artist" listed on the lineup is Ricardo Villalobos, who, to the disappointment of many, was not allowed entrance into the US last year.

2012: Movement[edit]

Movement 2012 was held on May 26–28, 2012 at Hart Plaza in Detroit, Michigan; the same location as every year since its inception.

2013: Movement[edit]

Movement 2013 took place on May 25–27, once again in Hart Plaza. The lineup for the 2013 edition of the festival includes the following 116 acts:

2014: Movement[edit]

Movement 2014 will take place on May 24–26, once again in Hart Plaza. The lineup [3] for the 2014 edition of the festival will include the following 121 acts [4]:

2015: Movement[edit]

2016: Movement[edit]

2017: Movement[edit]


Historically, attendance of events held in Hart Plaza has often been reported as being well in excess of the 14-acre (57,000 m2) venue's capacity of 40,000 people, even when crowds were counted by police and city officials. The reported attendance estimates for the electronic music festival were as follows:

  • DEMF 2000: 1.1 to 1.5 million *
  • DEMF 2001: 1.7 million *
  • DEMF 2002: 1.7 million *
  • Movement 2003: 630,000
  • Movement 2004: 150,000 **
  • Fuse-In 2005: 44,920 ***
  • Movement 2006: 41,000 ****
  • Movement 2007: 43,337 *****
  • Movement 2008: 75,000 *****
  • Movement 2009: 83,322[6]
  • Movement 2010: 95,000[7]
  • Movement 2011: 99,282[8]
  • Movement 2012: 107,343[9]

* Based on visual estimates by police and city officials, and conceded by city officials in 2003 to be an overly generous estimate.

** Reported by police on May 30, 2005. [5]

*** 41,220 ticketholders, plus 3,700 DJs, VIPs, and press, reported by The Detroit News and The Detroit Free Press on June 2, 2005. [6] [7]

**** 41,000 tickets, quoted by Kevin Saunderson in Big Shot magazine [8]

***** Reported by The Detroit Free Press on May 27, 2008. [9]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Jackman, Michael. "City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled - Metro Times Blogs | Metro Times Blogs". Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  2. ^ Skid, Nathan (November 20, 2013). "Campus Martius will turn into global dance party for electronic music fest next summer". Crain's Detroit Business. 
  3. ^ Skotarczyk, Rachel (November 20, 2013). "United We Dance - FEMT Launches the Return of DEMF". Real Detroit Weekly. 
  4. ^ "The 25 Greatest Dance Clubs of All Time". 
  5. ^ a b "Scuba". Movement Music Festival. Retrieved June 28, 2016. 
  6. ^ Paxahau (18 June 2009). "83,322 PEOPLE ATTENDED MOVEMENT 2009,". Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Nunez, Jessica (1 June 2010). "Movement Festival 2010 sees highest paid attendence [sic] in history". Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  8. ^ McCollum, Brian (31 May 2011). "What we learned during Movement 2011's record-setting weekend". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 31 May 2011. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Movement Detroit Draws Record Attendance". Big Shot Magazine. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°19′43″N 83°02′36″W / 42.32861°N 83.04333°W / 42.32861; -83.04333