REVIEW: Movement Electronic Music Festival by Sanj Takhar


Every Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of tech heads make their annual pilgrimage to the mecca of techno-Detroit. Not only are music lovers gathering in a city where the gem of a genre was created, but they are surrounded by individuals who follow a 4/4 heartbeat. It’s a special place where something soulful yet industrial, rhythmic yet sporadic, can collide to create environments that thrive on sounds and solidarity.

Movement Electronic Music Festival, more affectionately known as DEMF, is a very special time of year and is a festival like no other. This festival features the typical stages, and, yes, they follow a scheduled lineup. You’ll find all the lasers, corn dogs and swag that you would at most EDM events in North America, but something about this festival is different. This is because DEMF’s production crew has chosen to redirect their focus. While many other companies place emphasis on entertainment through extra activities and excitement, my experience with Movement is that the focus is primarily on music, and the music is top freaking notch. The balancing of acts that pioneered the scene, local talent, and international up and comers, made me wish I could have been in 3 places at once. Whether a bass fiend, underground stepper, Detroit dancer, house head or techo stomper, not a single person was bored for a moment.

The festival was divided into 5 main stages, and each stage featured different genres of music. Over 100 performers were thrown into the spotlight within 3 days. This provided more than enough talent for each stage to carry its own vibe, and, with each of these vibes, a unique and separate crowd experience.

The Redbull Music Academy (RBMA) Stage was a zone that showcased the massive talent which tends to shy away from mainstream limelight. A large, encompassing arena-like setup enabled artists such as Stacey Pullen, Francois K, Carl Craig and Dave Clarke the opportunity to showcase their abilities.

The Beatport Stage was situated on the other side of the plaza. This area was loaded with recognizable names who demonstrated genre versatility via different strains of house music. With acts such as Moby, Art Department and John Digweed, the stage was always jam-packed and ready to party.

My go-to spot was The Made In Detroit stage. If I couldn’t decide which performer I wanted to watch, or needed some time to chill, this was the place to be. Highlighting local talent, Detroit techno masters and proud natives, the vibes were incredible, and techno was constantly flowing. Major acts such as Magda, Reference, and Terrence Parker were the instruments through which the soul of Detroit was shared with all.

I found The Electric Forest stage tucked into a green alcove where it somewhat contained the bass fiends. The theme of this stage attracted the younger generation of music listeners who raged for hours on end to heavy dubstep, drum and bass and some glitch hop. Talk about a work out!

The last stage I discovered was an upgraded addition of The Underground stage, which was introduced with an improved light display and higher quality sound system. This underground bunker-like site was home to up and coming talent and those individuals who thrive in the dark, underground scene. Nicole Moudaer, DVS1, and Ben Klock were on the roster, and the place was booming, musty, and intense, just the way we like it.

Now that I’ve given you some background information into this year’s DEMF experience, do you want to know which artist demonstrated the best skills behind the decks? Well, sorry to inform you, I’m completely unable to make that call. Whether it was through their technique, track selection or stage presence, almost every act blew me away. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs played a set that kept me smiling like a 5 year old. Mala dropped dubstep that shocked my system and left me wobbling for days. Stacey Pullen hit me with new sounds that generated feelings I’d never experienced before, complimented by visuals that overwhelmed me. Magda proved her artistic versatility during one of the most eclectic sets of the weekend. Gramatik‘s unique performance opened everyone’s eyes to the limitlessness of musical creativity. Nicole Moudaber‘s banging techno extracted high levels of energy from her relentlessly cheering crowd. Dave Clarke demonstrated mash-up skills through the blending of the sounds of the UK with that of Detroit, and, although the tracks that Francois K threw down from his collection crossed genres, they all blended perfectly. I could go on and on.

All weekend, the music was continuous and overwhelmingly amazing, although the strongest proof of this was during the third day. It rained this entire last day of the festival, yet the crowd stood strong and refused to stop dancing. To say I loved my 2013 DEMF experience is an understatement. I am now a convert, not only to the festival but to the city, the people and the vibes. Movement is an appropriately named event because this festival definitely draws strong emotion out of everybody who attends. I grew, changed, learned and laughed, for 3 days straight, with my extended music family, and all of us were there for the same reason: Music. I strongly suggest that you book your weekend free for DEMF 2014. Come down to Detroit, join the clan, be a part of the vibes and feel the movement.

 Sanj Takhar – EDM TOR


About Author


Comments are closed.