Over Memorial Day weekend, thousands of techno fans from around the world flocked to downtown Detroit, taking over the riderside Hart Plaza, for the iconic Movement Detroit Festival – a techno lover’s paradise. Detroit is the birthplace of techno, with a musical influence that has built modern electronic music as we know it – and Movement showcases that unique heritage and culture, highlighting techno legends and Detroit-based artists across five sprawling, unique stages. As one of the longest-running dance music events in the world, with a history of bringing fans together for nearly 20 years, Movement’s all-ages experience transforms this historic plaza with top-notch production quality and the biggest techno acts, new and classic, from around the world.
We celebrated this past weekend dancing to our favorite artists, relaxing in riverside hammocks, and immersing ourselves in the music with our worldwide techno family – and Movement stands out for it’s incredible music and the electric feel of pulsating bass and the rhythmic groove of techno all weekend. We’re reminiscing about our favorite acts from the weekend!
Kevin Saunderson & Iconic Techno at the Stargate Stage
Detroit is the birthplace of techno itself, making it the perfect place for techno legends to come and spin for the weekend. The “Belleville Three” (Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins) were high school friends who created this style of electronic music in their basement, and birthed this new genre back in the 80’s. Kevin Saunderson played at Movement alongside his two sons, DaMarii and Dantiez, for an epic performance that blew us away. Later that night, at one of the afterparties, Saunderson and Derrick May played a late night back to back set at one of Detroit’s most famous venues. Representing Detroit at the Stargate Stage, numerous second wave Detroit techno artists also played throughout the weekend – including Carl Craig & Stacey Pullen. With such a rich history of techno in Detroit, it was incredible to see these acts together in their hometown, spinning the music that made Detroit internationally famous for its unqiue sound. The Stargate Stage was even designed to feel “distinctly Detroit” like an epic, city-wide block party.
Nicole Moudaber-Paco Osuna-Dubfire B3B
This iconic trio encompasses three huge names in and of themselves, who, when combined, create absolute magic on the stage. This B3B experience has sold out numerous venues across North America, so to see it live on Movement’s epic mainstage was nothing short of incredible. Located in the amphitheater of the venue, this stage has the massive production you’d expect at a major festival, and featured many of the mainstage names we love, throughtout the weekend, with some jaw-dropping aesthetic surprises and visuals. For this B3B set, and many of our favorite headliners, the crowd sprawled through the ample dance space just at the foot of the stage, across the wide concrete steps perfect for dancing with an elevated view, and throughout the edges of the space, getting a view with even more space for dancing, shuffling, and spinning flow toys under the trees surrounding the amphitheater. Even with a huge crowd, you could find the perfect place to dance with your techno family and meet new friends, all while being floored by the incredible magic of this must-see set.
Maya Jane Coles at the Pyramid Stage
Each of the five stages had a unique, artistic flair that set the mood for the music. The Pyramid Stage was one of my favorite experiences – with a relaxing, riverside feel during the day as you soaked in the sun and got a nice breeze over the water, with a space that transformed at night, with an incredible lightshow that reflected off the river and glowed off the concrete pyramid-like steps the cascaded in front of the stage. Maya Jane Coles had an incredible sunset performance that captured the transition of light, as her music went from bouncy and dancey to moody and dark as the sun set.
Griz’s Live Performance at the Main Stage
Griz’s live set on the mainstage was nothing short of spectacular, and unlike anything you’ve seen before. Stepping away from the decks, Griz gets funky with live saxaphone performances – and really stepped up his game at Movement with multiple live vocalists (himself included!), a live band, dancers with choreographed performances, and gigantic trippy art and lightshows that completely took over the stage. The act was an artistic feat that felt more like the choreographed show from a major pop artist, than the underground vibe and soul of techno and house music – but uniquely stood out on its own from the others sounds of the artists and vibes of the stages at the festival.
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Get Real duo Green Velvet and Claude von Stroke
Two of my absolute favorite artists, Green Velvet and Claude von Stroke, have combined to create a brand new sound – Get Real. Playing neither of their own original tracks, and instead developing an artisticly combined creation from the magic of their collaboration, Get Real took over the mainstage with an electric performance that left me breathless. Their individual talent and unique creativity becomes pure bliss when blended, and their vibe on stage as they mix together radiates joy throughout the crowd. This act is definitely not one to miss, and completely blew me away on the epic main stage of Movement.
But that’s just the beginning…
The incredible line-up at Movement was back to back hours and days of non-stop, iconic artists. Disclosure had an incredible set at the riverside Redbull stage, with the crowd completely overflowing to get a glimpse of the stage and dance to their sounds. Some incredible women took over the mainstage and stages throughout the complex beyond Maya Jane Coles and Nicole Moudaber, including Charlotte de Witte, Amelia Lens, Nastia, DJ Minx, and ANNA – each with their own unique sound, presence, and vibe. It’s incredibly inspiring to see powerful women rocking their vibe on such a huge stage. The live set from Orbital, the iconic UK duo known for their live improvisation, was jaw-droppingly unique. Beyond techno, popping house artists like Patrick Topping, MK, and Fisher had incredible, dancey sets – and Seth Troxler simply blew my mind away. A little break from the sun brought you literally underground to the Resident Advisor stage, featuring up-and-coming acts in a space that had concrete walls, deep pounding bass, and architecture to feel like an underground city warehouse.
With so much incredible talent packed into such a short amount of time, Movement Detroit was an immersive music experience that highlighted the sound front and center, without the fancy or frills curated by other festivals. All music, all day and night – Detroit didn’t disappoint with its powerful sound and production to unite techno fans from around the world.
Ready for next year? Check out Movement’s official site, follow on social media, and get on their email list to be in the loop for next summer! Movement’s official site