Movement 2015: Detroit Techno Week

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 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.


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.


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.