Reflections on Movement: The kids are all right (mostly) — and so was Detroit
This was my first time experiencing the Movement Electronic Music Festival. Yes, I said "experiencing," not covering. I didn't bring a pen and pad or a DSLR. I didn't conduct any interviews, nor did I intend to.
I will leave the "Oh, my goodness, these kids are nuts!" blog to all the gray hairs who wandered around, camera in hand, trying to catch a glimpse of the crazies.
I arrived Sunday around 3 p.m. and stayed until midnight. All I brought was my cell phone, $40 and a pair of sunglasses.
My goal was to experience what those who claim this to be the best electronic music festival in the country do.
Plus, I wanted to see Public Enemy, who were awesome right up until Flavor Flav waxed poetic about reality TV and Twitter.
The total three-day weekend attendance for the 2012 Movement Electronic Music Festival was 107,343, it's highest since it became a ticketed event in 2005. Single-day tickets were priced at $55.
Movement merchandise flew off of shelves, as did Slows barbecue pork tacos, Red Bull and vodkas, knock-off Wayfarers, Detroit-branded T-shirts and Vitaminwater.
At one point, a festival-goer voiced his anger that one of the A.T.M. s was out of money.
"All I want to do is participate in capitalism," he shouted while donning a Detroit Technology T-shirt.
Stripped down to its core, Movement is a successful and lucrative three-day event catering perfectly to its demographic.
But I quickly realized I was not a part of that demographic.
By that I mean the 20- and 30-somethings fist-pumping, swaying and jumping to the same basic "four on the floor" beat over and over for hours on end.
Personally, I am more of a guitar, bass and drums kind of guy. The most played songs on my iPod are likely something by the Black Keys, Pink Floyd or the Beatles.
My knowledge of electronic music is laughable. I know some guy named DeadMau5 wears a digitized mouse hat and is supposedly a big deal. I read a Rolling Stone article about David Guetta, a D.J. who apparently isn't liked in the Detroit electronic music circle. I kind of know what dub step is and am aware of the rift within the electronic music community about it.
But I respect good music regardless of genre, and I could tell this wasn't your average house music.
When 40,000 people get together on a picture-perfect day to celebrate their type of music, it can be pretty entertaining.
The weather was perfect, the security was lax but present, and the crowd was pumped.
I saw only one incident — involving a kid who threw a stink bomb but he was whisked away.
Sure, there was lots of face paint, glow sticks, short shorts — sometimes way too short — and spandex. But where else in the Midwest can you go where eccentric is celebrated?
It's a tired metaphor, I know, but Detroit can become the "Fill in the blank" of the Midwest if it accepts itself for what it is at this place in time: a destination for people who want to live outside of the ordinary.