Sergio: There isn't really a dance music festival that compares to Movement in Detroit. It's the most authentic, strange, communal weekend of the year—kind of like an urban Burning Man festival, but for people who don't like deserts, hippies, or cosmic love. We've been lucky enough to get to perform in some capacity during this Memorial Day weekend since 2011, and this year it was an honor to play the Red Bull Music Academy stage on Saturday. What follows is a tiny documentary about our experience—about some things we saw, the people we ran into, and the places we partied.
Just after our performance Saturday afternoon on the Red Bull Music Academy stage, we were asked if we could have a picture taken by a festival photographer. Amid all the intimidating scaffolding and stage lights, one can ascertain, in the upper right hand corner of the picture, the tail and quarter-hinds of said Red Bull.
Behind the Red Bull stage, there's a big VIP area replete with friends, enemies, DJs, journalists, photographers, massage people, staff, couches, and bars (which serve an assortment of your standard sugary drinks). This picture combines many of the elements just mentioned: a sugary drink held by a friend (right), a photographer (middle), and the DJ Matt Tolfrey (left and also a friend). You can also discern Benoit in a black shirt over the shoulder of my drinking buddy in the foreground.
Inside the VIP area between the MOOG and RBMA stage there is an enchanted forest walkway littered with hammocks and ravers. What is interesting here are the two black dots on the arms of the girls in the hammock. Once again, this is evidence of Richie Hawtin's eternal branding for ENTER.—his extremely successful weekly party at Space Ibiza in the summer. Richie is a genius with marketing, as much as he is with producing and DJing.
Instead of partying Saturday night, I watched the Miami Heat play the Indiana Pacers at the Westin Hotel Bar, where I was staying. We had played Friday night in New York at Cameo and hadn't slept in what felt like days. These three new friends were all in town from Miami for a wedding, so we all bonded over the Heat. They asked all about the festival and if it was like Ultra in Miami and if we all played EDM. I explained that EDM/Ultra was like P-Diddy music and that the Movement Electronic Music Festival was a bit more like, say, Wu-Tang.
Detroit is bizarre in that half of the city is in modern ruins, but then while walking about on a Sunday morning before the madness of the festival resuming at noon, you bump into a virginal white piano—a visual and musical counterpoint of sorts to the urban blight and techno.
One of the best spots to eat near the festival is called Fishbone's. They serve all types of Southern grub from breakfast until midnight. We stopped by there for lunch. The food is great (gumbo, greek salad, etc) but Fishbone's also rocks this epic fountain inside that looks like something out of Ayn Rand's tawdry imagination.
The legendary Nima is here waiting for us to join him on the bus. He is a huge baseball fan just like I am. There was a Detroit Tigers game against the Texas Rangers at 1 PM on Sunday. We were on the fence about going, because we knew it would be sold out. Then this rad bus showed up, like something out of the Magical Mystery Tour, so we rolled to the new Comerica Park, scalped tickets, and checked out the game for a bit before returning to the festival to run around and see Seth Troxler play on the RBMA Stage.
Here I am trying to decide whether to buy the white D or orange D hat for Detroit—I went with the white D at the urging of the woman working the hat stand. I ended up feeling like a 12 year old wearing the hat the rest of the day. I decided that day; men should not wear baseball hats.
On the way from the Tigers game back to the festival, we ran into some rave kids in quasi horror film masks dancing amid steam from the city sewage.
For a split second, we thought this guy was Skrillex, but he turned out to be way more: a rad new friend from Canada who always looked out for you in times of existential/festival need. After taking this pic at the side of the main stage while Seth Troxler was playing, we bumped into him again back stage at Beatport where Dixon and Maceo Plex finessed music that supposedly made girls cry.
Once the festival ends at midnight, thousands of after parties start and never really end, it seems. One of the dance institutions of Detroit is a place called City Club—a giant labyrinthine, gothic haunted house of a structure with two dance floors, one of which feels six stories underground and which has the most ferocious low end on a system ever. We were there for friends at the No. 19 party; Shaun Reeves—one of the best DJs in the game tag teamed the decks with Kenny Glasgow of Art Department way down below. It was so epic you expected Achilles might show up. At the same time, it was so hot people might have died and it was very dark, so no one would've have known.
This building recalled something you might find on Sesame Street, teaching kids letters and numbers.
Here we have a friend sitting near a pinball machine by the bar of the Monday morning mecca known as Old Miami. Behind the old dive bar and building there is a huge grassy outdoor dance floor which is and has beenthe day party site during festival weekend for many years now. It's thrown by the Visionquest boys, and each Memorial Day it is transformed from a Vietnam Veteran's bar into a freedom venue. This year: Dixon (ending the party with "Miss You" by the Rolling Stones), DJ Tennis, DJ Three, The Martinez Bros (opening their set with "Cosmic Cars"—wow).
In the backyard of the Old Miami—someone getting doubly shady.
All parties and rolls of film end, sadly. Walking back to the festival, a group asked if it would be possible to take a photo of them. Another great year in Detroit.