The Mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan, honored some of the most prolific architects of Detroit techno—including the Belleville Three and members of the Underground Resistance—on Tuesday with the Spirit of Detroit award. The honors are part of Detroit Techno Week, a city-wide celebration of the dance music genre that emerged from the city in the 1980s, which also coincides with Movement Festival.
Among the recipients of the Spirit of Detroit Award—which acknowledges "outstanding achievement or service to the citizens of Detroit"—were the Belleville Three (Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins and Derrick May) three friends from Belleville High School who are widely credited for creating techno. In addition, the council also bestowed the award upon other pioneers of techno music: a legendary group of producers that included Eddie Fowlkes and Carl Craig, John Collins, Kelli Hand and Jeff Mills. Movement Festival, as well as techno group Underground Resistance and the Submerge Techno Museum were also given the award.
"We never envisioned that this thing would snowball into what it is right now," Atkins told the Detroit News. "You experiment with things and hope for a certain result. But the results turned out 10 times better than we'd ever imagined."
"It feels great when you know something we've made from our hometown has touched the world," Saunderson wrote on Facebook. "As they said yesterday, Detroit techno brings people together, Detroit love, our vision of music, the world dancing as one united, it's true and it's happened, so thanks to the city of Detroit for acknowledging this."
The awards preempted the kickoff of Movement, which officially starts on Saturday, May 28 and will run through Memorial Day on Monday.