The Movement Detroit Newbie Guide
Movement, Detroit’s annual electronic music festival, is one of the most important festivals happening in the U.S. and if you’re a fan of techno, drum & bass, house, EDM, bass or the many other genres “electronic” music encompasses, then you should consider attending. It embraces the culture and takes it to an extreme that can only be reached by getting tens of thousands of like-minded folks together in the same space. Now in its 14th year, the event is held every Memorial Day weekend in Detroit’s Hart Plaza and is currently produced/promoted by Paxahau. There’s a lot to know about doing this event like a pro. From afterparties, to hotels and where to eat, we’re here to give you the rundown on how to maximize your time.
You can purchase tickets here. 3-day passes will run you $130, while individual days can be obtained for a comfortable $65. Worth every penny. And if you want real talk, you must go for all 3 days to get the true experience. Aside from the price increase (VIP will run you $260 and costs twice as much), the only true difference between VIP vs GA other than slightly cheaper drink prices for VIP is the bathroom situation. If you’re a guy, you should opt for the cheaper GA passes. Ladies who frequent the bathroom will want to consider VIP, as the bathrooms are air conditioned and much nicer compared to their sweaty port-o-potty counterparts. If you’re still weighing your options, visit the full list of VIP perks, which include a massage area, shaded/chill spots, private check-in/entrance, and separate viewing platforms for certain stages.
What to bring
Sometimes it’s hot. Sometimes it’s cold. Memorial Day’s weather is unpredictable, so check the forecast before packing. If it’s hot, you’ll need plenty of sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and shorts. The less clothes, the better. Bathing suits are highly recommended. If it’s cold, a rain jacket, poncho, boots and umbrella is recommended. There aren’t too many covered stages and if the forecast calls for rain, expect to get wet. Power through. We also wouldn’t wear open-toed shoes. Unless your toes getting trampled is your thing. Boots, sneakers and flats are the way to go.
Detroit can be daunting. If you want the ultimate in convenience and accommodations, consider staying at the hotel right next to Hart Plaza, the Renniassance Center, AKA the “Ren Cen”, which is insanely convenient but also quite a maze and the elevator waits can be quite ridiculous since the building has so many floors. They also wristband, which means you cannot bring that random cutie home at midnight to get in a quickie before heading to an afterparty. Talk about a buzz kill. The Courtyard Marriott across the street is another excellent option. They also have a pool. And you won’t get lost. If having room to chill in a comfortable space is important to you, The Athenium in Greektown is a great place to stay. Bedrooms are kept separate from the living space, enabling chill and sleep time to happen simultaneously. If you’re looking to ball out, the MGM Grand is fantastic, but far from the fest. Consider the closer option, The Westin, if you’ve got the cash to spend.
Make it a priority to venture away from the festival when you’re lookin’ to grub. We talked to a local to get the lowdown on the best eateries. While the fest has many great options, such as Slows Bar BQ, a favorite of residents and visitors, there are tons of hidden gems within walking distance of Hart Plaza. Craft beer fans will enjoy the Grand Trunk Pub on Woodward. The nearby Hudson Cafe, also on Woodward, is a choice breakfast spot. Both places can be reached by walking from Hart Plaza or taking the people mover to Grand Circus Park. Open until 2AM, Bucharest Grill is a good late night option for after the fest and is located on Park Street near the Grand Circus Park stop. Looking for a good Cuban? Try Vicente’s, which can be found at the Broadway Stop. If you’re trying to go fancier and get some classy cocktails, Cliff Bell’s Park Street, next door to Bucharest Grill is your best bet. And since no Detroit trip is complete without a proper Coney experience, head to the Michigan Ave stop for some Lafayette or American Coney Island.
Things are a lil bit different this year in terms of stages, as Vitaminwater was no longer the main stage sponsor as of last year, and has since been replaced by Red Bull. You can expect to see the headliners closing down each night of the fest on the main stage. From Detroit veterans to up-and-comers, the main stage always has a good mix of new, classic and cutting edge. New this year is the addition of a Slient Disco area. Moog is taking over the former Beatport stage, and Beatport will be moving to the old Red Bull Stage adjacent to the river, while Made in Detroit will remain as the first stage you’re greeted with upon entering Hart Plaza.
Top Festival Picks
Must-sees for Saturday include Action Bronson, Benoit & Sergio (live), Metro Area (live), Green Velvet, Ed Rush and Optical, and of course, Detroit’s very own Underground Resistance who headline the Red Bull stage at 10:30. Sunday’s top picks are Amp Fiddler (live), Seth Troxler, Jimmie Edgar, DJ Sneak and Golf Clap, who also have a killer set of rooftop parties lined up. Monday’s not lacking in intensity, either. Consider checking out Jamie Jones, Jeff Mills, Pete Tong, Lee Foss and Octave One.
Friday’s a hot night for afterparties, but don’t party too hard before the festival kicks off. Ghostly:15 Detroit is a hot one, as is DJ Harvey at Bleu for the Official Movement Opening Party. We’re especially stoked for Soul Clap’s House of Efunk party at TV Lounge Saturday night. In all our years of going to the fest, TV Lounge has never disappoitned…except for the one time DJ Harvey got shut down rather early. We’ll let that slide. OK, COOL featuring Seth Troxler, The Martinez Brothers, J.Phlip, and more is bound to be packed Sunday night. Consider making it an early night and waking up early Sunday to hit up the Industry Brunch, which starts at 6AM and features our local homies Shawn Rudiman, Aaron Clark and Relative Q. Close out your festival weekend with another local dose at Anthology, where you’ll find Pittsburgh Track Authority alongside a slew of artists who you may recognize from past Pittsburgh gigs, including Voices from the Lake, and many other familiar faces.
Other things to do
Make some time to explore the city and get to know the area past its tarnished facade of abandoned buildings and troubled past. The Heidelberg Project is a cutting-edge public art installation that has seen better days. A recent victim of multiple arsons in the past year, visit this spot before the opportunity fades. There’s also the Motown Museum, the many casinos in Greektown, and the Detroit Institute of Art. Always remember one thing when traveling in Detroit: if you get in a cab and are asked not to run the meter and opt for a flat rate, you’re going to get ripped off. Make your cabbie run the meter. You’ll save yourself a couple bucks each ride.
This exciting weekend is one of our favorites, and Pittsburgh always rolls deep. The rise of our local electronic/dance scene is continually celebrated each weekend in Pittsburgh, but there’s so much history in Detroit, that it’s a must-do at least once in every music lover’s lifetime. See you at the fest!