Movement 2015: Detroit Techno Week

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movment1Sometimes, our market research is quite the pleasure. Other times, it is outright amazing. In 2011, the year we started The Techno Tourist, we made our virgin journey to Detroit after years of ranting and raving on the part of our friends. Rumor had it that here was a festival somewhere in the mid-west that held that golden combination of vibe and production quality firmly in its grasp. Like any good Techno Tourist, we immediately began making plans for our first trip to the D. Fast forward through sunrise ruckus at Old Miami, spacewalks on the plaza and general debauchery on various boats and we suddenly find ourselves in 2015, marking TT’s fifth consecutive year at Movement.

Much has transpired in the D since our first visit, but to our boundless pleasure much remains the same: The official declaration of Detroit Techno Week by the Mayor immediately rockets the vibe straight to stratospheric status; the transformation of all Detroit vehicles to mobile electronic music broadcasting units, permeating the city space with sexy grooves at obscene decibels; and the annual metamorphoses of Hart Plaza into a temple of music, drawing in pilgrims from the entire world for a week-long congregation of worship, movement and transcendence. If you think this already sounds outrageous, you’re right, and it’s great.

 

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Photo: Douglas Wojciechowski

Like every year, one is filled with awe when roaming around the birthplace of techno, where its roots grip the earth. From whence great branches stretch all across the globe, dropping bombshell tracks like luscious fruits on eager listeners. And where each Memorial Day Weekend, you’re invited to see where it was conceived, birthed, grew up, how it became itself, and where it likes to hang. Whenever you’re in Detroit for Movement, it’s as if you’re techno’s house guest for the weekend.

The Detroit aesthetic is rare and raw. A glorious mix of new and old that draws aesthetic parallels to Berlin, and in turn causes a very interesting development of cross-continental music industry projects. The electronic music scene feeds on city development flux, and it is no accident that its global strongholds are all previous bastions of industry and manufacture. No one can accuse Detroit of being short of a party friendly landscape and demeanor.

Being an urban festival, Movement also offers the excellent luxury of access to the full cityscape with all its metropolitan delights. Since our first visit to the Motor City, it has been a pleasure to observe the flow of investment capital into local industry, with venues and restaurants in particular continuing to surprise us year after year. The spirit of reinvention and entrepreneurship pulses through the city, constantly changing the manifestation of what is Detroit; it generates new possibilities for artistic expression and popular amusement, enriches countless lives both inside and outside its boundaries, and broadens the experiential possibilities for Techno Tourists.

 

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Photo: Douglas Wojciechowski

In contrast to most other urban set-ups (which are de-centralized), Movement uses the vast concrete expanse of Hart Plaza to execute a massive, multi-stage carnival of delights, all in one place. Set on prime waterfront property, with the GM Center and Detroit skyline as a backdrop, the festival remains one of the global leaders in innovation and implementation of event design, relentlessly delivering spectacular layouts and productions year after year.

At the end of the (very) long weekend, we headed home repeating the same thing we do every year – “that was the most fun we have had at Movement yet”. Like all first-class festivals, Movement is able to constantly integrate new elements with old, keeping the experience fresh for everyone. The compact design affords festivalgoers unrivaled hospitality access with all major Detroit hotels within close proximity. Interestingly, this design also causes a frequently comical concentration of festivalgoers in otherwise vanilla social situations. This year it was the turn of the USA Volleyball Open National Championship attendants and spectators to be introduced to our electronically oriented family, with ensuing hilarity reported regularly from elevators and hotel breakfasts across the general downtown area. Also, we had the opportunity to see many of our favorite artists in one of our favorite festival settings and party in a masonic temple. This was our biggest year in Detroit to date, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our customers, Movement Festival and our partners. We look forward to seeing you all next Memorial Day Weekend in the D, for Movement 2016.

E-mail us for Movement 2016 details: info@thetechnotourist.net

#tripwithus

Sometimes, our market research is quite the pleasure. Other times, it is outright amazing. In 2011, the year we started The Techno Tourist, we made our virgin journey to Detroit after years of ranting and raving on the part of our friends. Rumor had it that here was a festival somewhere in the mid-west that […]

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BPM: Every Techno Tourist’s January Sanctuary

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partner_color_bpmThe BPM Festival 2015, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico went down as the largest, most complex, and most innovative festival in BPM’s history. The Techno Tourist was thrilled to celebrate our 4th birthday, while ringing in 2015 with an overwhelming number of much-loved, like-minded individuals. BPM attendees want nothing less than to bless a new year with a christening of hard-danced sweat and ice-cold cocktails. This type of abundance inevitably culminates with heavenly dips into the waves of the rainbow-kissed Caribbean. …Okay, and not to mention also culminating in the savoring of fresh organic tacos, cenote diving, visits to the Mayan ruins, and more!

Flashing back to late summer 2014, the interwebs were abuzz with discussion of the “pushed back” BPM dates. In all fairness, BPM has changed the dates several times since the festival’s first appearance, so Mexico-loving PDC veterans hadn’t raised an eyebrow at the shift. As firsthand observers to the rise of BPM, we trust the reasoning of its organizers, and were anticipating that the shift would further cull the musically educated. In the end, the final dates didn’t deter a soul, with 60,000 sun-bronzed clubbers dancing up, down, and all over the town for a period of 10 days and counting. During earlier dates in the year (Playa’s New Years), the festivities play host to a large number of normies, which as we all know, are best avoided at all costs. These average Joes seep into hotels and apartments and jack up prices while oftentimes complaining about just the kind of music-drenched debauchery that clubbers are paying to enjoy in the first place. They’re also not very after-hours friendly. The new dates seemed strategically placed to perfectly avoid any clashing of intention, and the strategy paid off.

With such an influx of people and the most impressive line-up to date, Playa del Carmen was better braced than ever to accept its guests with open arms, great weather, excellent local food and ye local brew (or five) from our new favorite bar, Club De La Cerveza. Our #1 take-away from the event this year was growth. The essence of this growth is not represented only in the festival’s sheer size, but also in the city’s growing capability to facilitate revelry of all degrees in smooth conjunction with BPM’s electronic ethos.

BPM-Jan14-Day-Apollonia-Canibal-DVS-9184(Photo Credit: Doug Van Sant)

It’s been our privilege to attend the BPM Festival every year for over half a decade. During this time, both Playa del Carmen and Tulum have made massive transformations from underground best-kept-secrets to annual, must-go or fomo destinations for clubbers of the serious kind, planning to take their trip to the next level. And although none of us were clubbing back when Amnesia (Ibiza) was just a farmhouse, we cannot help but notice the parallels between the development of the clubbing industry on the White Island and in the Rivera Maya.

This year, BPM re-introduced one of our favorite venues, Canibal Royal, which played host to a fuego Apollonia set. Additionally, this year ushered in some upgrades to the clubbing infrastructure with massive renovations of Blue Parrot, La Santanera and Mamitas Beach Club (where Listed delivered an unforgettable party). Not only were these three venues completely re-built from the ground up, but all of the BPM venues had pleasing improvements most notable between 10 and 30.000 Hz. Nowhere was this more clearly amplified than during the ‘Smoke N’ Mirrors’ party where Maxxi Soundsystem downright abused the resident Funktion One sound system until it was crying (tears of joy) inside.

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(Photo Credit: Nathan Navarro)

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(Photo Credit: Jeff “Turbo” Corrigan)

Blue Parrot was first on our list of upgraded venues to explore. The club had undergone a few smaller renovations since our first visit in 2010, when the DJ booth was still under the (now removed) bubble. Upgrades made in the subsequent years acted more like band-aids, sufficient to cope with the clubs growing attendance, but not a perfect long-term solution. The complete renovation in 2015 was clearly designed as a “big room” setup, while still managing to include the boutique feel of the beach section in the back of the venue.

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(Photo Credit: Doug Van Sant)

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(Photo Credit: Jeff “Turbo” Corrigan)

La Santanera has been moved a few blocks from its previous location, and the new location was used as a BPM venue for the first time this year. Still keeping its multi-level theme intact, the venue now occupies the top three floors of a building on 10th street. In the unlikely event customers begin to feel down on themselves for any sins they may have committed, Jesus provides a (roughly 20 foot tall) reminder when moving between floors, or to the bathroom, that…“You are forgiven”.

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(Photo Credit: Jeff “Turbo” Corrigan)

Mamita’s has always played host to the larger BPM events, and this year was no exception. A total renovation left the venue almost unrecognizable from previous years, but much more appealing to those who were looking to enjoy a traditional festival atmosphere. As the saying goes, sometimes a photo says a thousand words.

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(Photo Credit: Doug Van Sant)

BPM keeps things fresh for veterans with creative events that innovate outside of their normal festival line-up. The pop-up parties and special venues maintain the unique charm of being organized, but not too organized, leaving just the right amount of space for novel experiences to transpire. Most importantly, BPM opens the doors for everyone to have these unique and unforgettable adventures (rather than being invite-only); and for this, we commend them. The festival has managed to switch up the backdrop for each pop-up or unique party throughout the years, always creating new experiences. Although the Alux Cave and Club Bang are no longer part of the rotation, festivalgoers were presented with three excellent options in 2015: Las Ranitas Tulum, Zhuna’an Ha cenote and of course, a taco stand party.

Over the years, we have not only had the privilege of seeing BPM grow, but also enjoyed growing with them. This year was TT’s most successful to date, as we drew our largest and most diverse customer base yet. As the town of Playa and the festival have expanded, so has our property inventory and presence in the area. We look forward to seeing you at The BPM Festival 2016!

E-mail us today, to begin booking BPM 2016: info@thetechnotourist.net

#tripwithus

The BPM Festival 2015, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico went down as the largest, most complex, and most innovative festival in BPM’s history. The Techno Tourist was thrilled to celebrate our 4th birthday, while ringing in 2015 with an overwhelming number of much-loved, like-minded individuals. BPM attendees want nothing less than to bless a new […]

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The BPM Festival 2015: Complete Schedule Released

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In addition to this week’s traditional holiday joy, we also have a warm fuzzy feeling inside from the release of The BPM Festival’s complete 2015 event schedule.  As usual, our expectations have been exceeded, and we eagerly await the festivities to begin.

The BPM Festival 2015
January 9 – 18, 2015
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
#BPM2015

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The BPM Festival announces the complete day and night events schedule for its 2015 edition in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Now in its eighth year, The BPM Festival 2015 features its most impressive line-up of underground dance music artists and record labels to date, with over 350 artists and 80 parties spanning ten days from January 9-18, 2015.

Select single events tickets are available at www.TheBPMFestival.com.

Once online sales close, you can still get BPM Festival passes & tickets at the BPM Box Office. The BPM Box Office operates daily for day time will call / ticket sales from 12pm-6pm January 2-9, 2015 located at The BPM Festival Store, Calle 28 and The Beach / 10am-9pm, January 9-18 located in Mamitas Parking, Call 28 & The Beach. Night time will call is open daily from 10pm-5am at Calle 12th and The Beach.

If you haven’t booked your apartment, villa or hotel yet, e-mail us today: info@thetechnotourist.net

 #tripwithus

In addition to this week’s traditional holiday joy, we also have a warm fuzzy feeling inside from the release of The BPM Festival’s complete 2015 event schedule.  As usual, our expectations have been exceeded, and we eagerly await the festivities to begin. The BPM Festival 2015 January 9 – 18, 2015 Playa del Carmen, Mexico […]

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The BPM Festival 2014: Location, Location, Location

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With the sound of a successful Jambox pairing overpowering a backdrop of crashing waves, the first weekend of January 2014 officially rolled in. The Techno Tourist team joyfully spread our custom-made party-packs over the apartment to the soundtrack of the New Year, a new Dino set. We jammed while organizing the t-shirts, toothbrushes, stickers, and snacks among other important necessities: earplugs, beach balls, snacks and of course…beer. These gifts greet our customers upon arrival to their accommodation in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. To parallel the success and growth of The BPM Festival, our business has expanded to include a record-number of travelling techno tourists.  Ironically, or maybe not so ironically, BPM is also where Techno Tourist was conceived in 2011.  As we prepared to meet our first wave of guests, we mused over the three things that make The BPM Festival one of our favorite parties of the year. After much philosophical debate, it was decided that the awesomeness of the festival boils down to the following related, yet distinct ideas: location, location, and …location.

Location: The Setting

As professional travelers, connoisseurs of fine music and food, and lovers of art and architecture, we set our standards high. We are keen on detail and love when the vibe of the party is something that dances its way to you. Our first theme, location, describes just this. Playa del Carmen, Mexico is the perfect playpen for multi-week music-infused partying, vacationing, and general ‘winter’ enjoyment. Throughout the years, The BPM Festival has consistently shown the ability to expand and adapt in order to exceed festivalgoers expectations while maintaining a credible, underground feeling.  One of the most frequent issues we see with multi-day urban festivals is that even though the events seem to grow bigger and bigger every year, the cities themselves remain unaltered. Playa manages to preserve its unique charm and authentic Mexican feel while embodying a true sense of growth, thereby meeting the needs of both the festival and its clientele. New restaurants seem to materialize regularly. This year, you could just as easily stumble into an establishment serving fresh juice, FroYo, or sushi, as you could stumble to our classically coveted authentic Mexican joint, El Fogon.

Location: The Stages

As all members of the TT team spend most of the year living and clubbing in our cold and rainy hometowns (NYC and London), The BPM Festival is a dream-come-true, and not just because a Mexican Peso goes a lot further than a US Dollar or British Pound. We can do just what we love, but in a bathing suit, in the sunshine, and oftentimes, with sand between our toes. The location and venue set-up suit the different times of day and different types of moods in which you might lose yourself throughout the 10-day extravaganza. A significant organizational improvement this year developed with the bracelet distribution system. In less than a half an hour, with beats from Mamitas Beach Club grabbing you from one end and those from Kool Beach grinding on the other, you could secure your bracelet with minimal fuss. In fact, with the music pumping from all ends, it felt like our vacation had already begun. Normally, when waiting in a line, just teetering at the threshold of fun, you are rationally planning the next 8-10 hours of your life, just to pass the time. At The BPM Festival, however, your life has already begun, time is happening, and not only that… it has plans to carry-on for the next 8-10 days.

Of the legendary original BPM venues, only Blue Parrot, Kool Beach, and Mamita’s Beach Club still host events.  This year, we were introduced to Fusion, an intimate beach venue for daytime parties and Tabu, a medium-capacity tiered indoor venue resembling a type of medieval-times dinner theater. Acting as a stand-in for Canibal Royal is no easy task, but the BPM team successfully transformed Fusion into a more than adequate replacement. Tabu hosted the events that we would normally expect at La Santanera, and again proved not only a fitting replacement, but also a fresh change of pace from previous years.

Although the first few days did see some rain, the festival management arranged shelters at the outdoor venues to ensure that no one missed a beat. With a “polar vortex” pummeling North America with snow, hardly any festivalgoers seemed to mind a bit of moisture in the Mexican air as long as their favorite artists were behind the decks.  The number of parties increased this year, so the crowed was spread out, which managed the space with higher levels of comfort. One amazing exception to this rule, however, was the massive turn out for the Dot Up party at El Fogon. This event gained more popularity than any of us could imagine. We slowly watched the crowed grow larger and larger until we were swept away in the sea of clubbers consuming every lane of traffic heading west on Av Constituyentes. Every car that tried to pass, did so slowly, and with their iPhones joyfully vineing and snapping from a rolled-down window. Even the Policia gave up and started dancing. It was an authentic BPM night, all flavored by the smell of sizzling, smoking pork and pineapple. This was a type of experience you could not just stumble into anywhere, …other than yours truly: Playa Del Carmen.

Location: Your Stay

The last dimension of our overall location theme looks directly at the variety of living quarters available to festivalgoers at BPM. Travelers can opt to rent an apartment or villa, whereas hotels and condo-hotels are up for grabs too. We find the best way to maximize the BPM experience is to rent a large apartment or villa that houses your entire group of friends. The way that everybody can lodge together, rather than spread out in different hotels across an expansive city, is unique. The summertime feel, in the beginning of January, is unrivaled. The large spaces make for a perfect pre-game spot—one where gigantic brunches can be made, BBQs can be had, pool-parties can be splashed, and terraces can be danced on. Not to mention, they make for perfect after-party destinations, one where you can actually retire to your room (or a raft in the pool) when a moment of respite is necessitated. Additionally, these spaces can afford more auditory privacy, and in some properties, private beachfront access.

While some large festivals lose focus of their original mission in favor of chasing larger monetary returns, The BPM Festival stays true to its original form. This element of originality and adaptability attracts visitors from every demographic imaginable.  Each year we are amazed at the diversity of new customers booking trips to Playa and love making such international friends during the first week of January. The common thread tying everyone together is a deep-rooted passion for great parties and acceptance of nothing less than exceptional music. In all, the location of the festival, the location of each venue, and the location of our accommodation granted us an unforgettable 10 days of debauchery.  For yet another year, the festival proved their ability to execute flawlessly and kick off the new year on a very positive and inspirational note. BPM is the one festival we attend each year that really brings people together in a party-ready, vacation-sweaty kind of way. And the best part, the water is never too far away.

E-mail us today to book BPM 2015: info@thetechnotourist.net

#tripwithus

 

With the sound of a successful Jambox pairing overpowering a backdrop of crashing waves, the first weekend of January 2014 officially rolled in. The Techno Tourist team joyfully spread our custom-made party-packs over the apartment to the soundtrack of the New Year, a new Dino set. We jammed while organizing the t-shirts, toothbrushes, stickers, and […]

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The Techno Tourist Trips To: The Pacific Northwest – dBx

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dBx_IconThere are certain enduring desires that act upon Techno Tourists, constantly influencing them, shaping their path, and ultimately determining their position, direction and momentum. These desires are innate and timeless; they manifest themselves as the constant drive for exploration, adventure and good times. We are Techno Tourists; it defines us. We are adventurers of the modern world, driven by the eternal spirit of exploration. And so we explore.

America is a huge place. So huge, that until a couple of months ago even the seemingly familiar Pacific Northwest of the US was uncharted party territory –some virgin clubbing terra nova within our own country still untouched and awaiting our TT footprints. For the last several years we had kept a spyglass eye on Decibel Festival in Seattle, and after hearing about “The Slow Boat” in late 2011, the festival was promptly added to our “Must-Conquer-ASAP” list. As history would have it, less than two years later -as if led by the divine guidance of the gods of music- Decibel Festival extended an invitation to The Techno Tourist to become travel partners for their 10-year anniversary. Deal.

Any seasoned adventurer will tell you that the key to exploration success lies in proper provision and planning. And yet, for all our tedious preparation, there remains the undeniable fact that every single time, something will catch us completely by surprise. One might argue that this renders planning pointless, but much to our enduring pleasure we have found that the enormous amounts of research we do, the years of experience we have catalogued, and the adventure awareness we now possess ensures that whenever we are blind-sided by a total surprise—the surprise is good.

Though our cab ride may have been less exhilarating than our last foray into uncharted party lands and the endless repeating landscape segments, this time around, were glittering Starbucks rather than Ukrainian watermelon stands, this was expected. The surprise in Seattle was more encompassing. It was the people: their attitude, their sincere helpfulness, their respect for music. From the minute we stepped into our first Decibel party, it became perfectly clear that the crowd was highly musically educated and shared a creative, sustainable camaraderie, rather than checking in on Facebook to slap another duckface to our newsfeeds. There was no sea of neon; YOLO and RAGE were not represented. These people are a proud and genuine product of the city’s musical heritage.

In our travels around the world we have been privileged to experience countless variations of clubs, events and festivals.  Unlike the soulless, corporate, manufactured pop music for the masses most sub genres of electronic music (until recently at least), have developed out of passion, with profit coming secondary at best.  This attitude doesn’t stop in the studio or DJ booth; it trickles down through the promoters and venues, and flows into the fans before cycling back up to drive an autotelic tradition. A scene will often have its genesis in a primeval ooze of makeshift parties held in illegitimate venues.  As word spreads, energy flows in and the scene expands. Additional spaces join and play host to these ever-multiplying night-into-day extravaganzas.  The creativity of the party makers is of utmost importance. Their expression is key. Every event has to be outdone by the next. Stagnation is unsustainable, evolution unstoppable. As in the rest of nature, only the most adaptable survive, and at each new stage the parties become more tuned to their respective environments.  While we all classify as party animals within the order of organisms, every city and every region hosts their own indigenous species.  With the risk of making our opinion painfully obvious: the species of the Pacific West Coast are pretty damn awesome.

On an even higher level, one could say that a main developmental factor involved in the evolution of a species is its immediate geography. Decibel Festival is located in a unique environment, a metropolitan setting that cannot be replicated just about anywhere. Hosted in a distributed variety of (legitimate) venues throughout Seattle, Decibel successfully overcomes all of the challenges associated with throwing an urban, non-centralized festival. As we learned once we got-to-talking with the local inhabitants, much of the success can be attributed to the culture of knowledge offered by its rich music history, now engraved in the people, venues and even the city itself.

Across the board, the Decibel organizers did an impeccable job.  The party spaces ranged from re-envisioned live music venues like Chop Suey and Showbox, to purpose-designed Q Nightclub, which housed a fully integrated, top of the line Funktion One sound system. The visuals in all of the venues absolutely blew us away.  A perfect mix of trippy and fun, projectors illuminated the walls of every venue to create a full sensory experience (which even extended to a few specialized Yoga classes). Furthermore, the unlimited re-entry privileges of having a Decibel pass allowed partygoers to bounce from venue to venue at will, ensuring that everyone efficiently enjoyed their favorite artists. Well done indeed.

Decibel Festival is a destination for those who feel a deep passion for music, music history, music development, art, sustainability, experimentation and education—all with creative integrity. The culture of Decibel is one that sprouted at the grassroots level and we can agree with the organizers that after even after 10 years this ethos remains. Only now, it is in full bloom.

Keep posted to The Techno Tourist for news about Decibel Festival 2014!

#tripwithus

There are certain enduring desires that act upon Techno Tourists, constantly influencing them, shaping their path, and ultimately determining their position, direction and momentum. These desires are innate and timeless; they manifest themselves as the constant drive for exploration, adventure and good times. We are Techno Tourists; it defines us. We are adventurers of the […]

Read More