Friends ask where my next trip will take me, and when I answer “Detroit!” with a bounce in my voice and a twinkle in my eye, I am met with a perplexed look of confusion, skepticism, and pity.
“WHY THE HELL would you go to Detroit?” they ask, like I just booked a trip to Guantanamo Bay, bought tickets on a cruise to Somalia or reserved a room for a month in a Mexican border town.
For music, of course. I sure as hell am not going there to buy a freaking Ford. Along with New Orleans, Detroit is one of the grand epicenters of American musical history, and from the Motown legends who once graced the gritty streets of the industrial center to the techno pioneers who led us from the dust of disco to the raging international electronic music community of today, anyone who has ever so much as bobbed their heads to a sick minimal beat owes the dirty city a nod.
Movement, or the Detroit Electronic Music Festival takes place every year on Memorial Weekend and draws tens of thousands of people to Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit to do more than bob their heads- they straight get down, to some of the most cutting edge electronic music in the world. Not just techno, either, but a Hummer-size serving of electronic genres: house, glitch hop, ambient, IDM, dubstep, electro…the list goes on and on, ‘til the break of dawn, pretty much.
Most festival attendees will be flying or driving up for the weekend and spending the whole time at the party, dragging themselves off to their hotel rooms at the end of the night (or morning) only to score a quick disco nap before heading off again into the beat maze. But there ARE things to do around the Detroit area outside of the music festival, if you find yourself with a free afternoon (ha) or a late departure. The Motown Historical Museum sounds superfluous but is really shackalicious: the small, shingled recording studio where the hits were made and stars like Marvin Gaye sang their soulful tunes from 1957 to 1972. The IMAX at the New Detroit Science Center is always fun but beware: the flying sensation on a hungover brain and belly is not the best experience. If a big greasy meal is more in order, head up to the restaurant at the top of the GM Renaissance Center for a fine view of the Motor City that stretches all the way to Canada. Or if you are into fine arts…
Ah who am I kidding…you guys will be crawling between the dance floors with your orange juice and cigarettes. See you there.
Photo by westerntragedy.