Dancing in the Ghost City / Detroit Movement Electronic Music Festival 2011



Seeing Detroit for the first time was a pretty impressive experience.  The city seemed like a giant movie set waiting for its actors…Or rather some kind of post-apocalyptic reality where people have ghosted out from the city.  

Detroit is empty: its streets, buildings, stores and restaurants are vacant, abandoned, residues of a golden age turned into dust by the economic crisis.



The atmosphere was surreal, metaphysical and awkward. Walking in the streets felt like being in a videogame set up in a postwar scenario in which we’re the hunters looking for monsters to kill.  


But things still happens in Detroit: one of them, the main one, is the Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF) or Movement, as they called it this year. 

The best techno-house-electronic music DJs from around the globe reunite here every year since 2006 for 3 days of madness and fun.

The festival looked a bit like a fair with junk food stands all over the place, dirty toilet booths, flashy kids with a sort of techno-hippie swag, high on whatever, running around with hula hoops and other evil gadgets, and even an (awesome!) after party center.



Because of a little logistic issue that I’m not gonna elaborate on (…) I got there on Sunday so I missed a couple of good parties (Richie Hawtin and Circoloco). But no big deal because the best part was yet to come. Sunday and Monday it’s when it happens at the Festival, when it gets down, for real. 

Sunday night: live set by Villalobos at the Vitamin Water stage and Loco Dice at the Beatport stage. Loco Dice! Oh my god, that was a set! You know when a dj plays exactly what you want to listen to? Well that was it! I wanted to cry a little when I was dancing (but OF COURSE! I didn’t 😉  After the festival was over he kept on playing at the Boat After Party, for which I got a free ticket last minute. I don’t remember the name of the girl who gave it to me but I love her! 

You know when things are just meant to be??


Monday morning after 8 hours of sleep and a psychedelic breakfast we headed to the Visionquest Label party organized by Mister Seth Troxler at the legendary pub and concert venue The Old Miami. 

And there, as dj Leroi would say, we got deep! (oh yeah we did!!!). 

The Old Miami has a backyard that was turned into outdoor club. It’s located in midtown Detroit, like in the hood. 

In the car to get there we saw a series of semi-destroyed houses and buildings, old cars, dirty fields and empty parking lots. When we were at the entrance a guy in a car stopped a girl saying:  “Excuse me where is Detroit?” 

That was the absolute best party of the festival and definitely one for the books!. The backyard, which actually is a sort of garden with trees, was full of places to chill out like old chairs and armchairs spread all around, swinging chairs, a people putting blankets on the ground. 

A kinda techno-meet-hippy-meet -hood crazy situation. And the mood was great: it felt like a family BBQ, everybody was cool and cheerful, dancing under the sun to some dope music: Benoit and Sergio, Cassy, Craig Richards, and many others.


I’ve always liked the power of techno to get people together, no matter who you are or where you come from. Even the firemen were drinking beer, dancing with us and enjoying the party. Really, truly amazing! 

When they had to do the Memorial Day speech (I couldn’t believe they were doing it!) they were standing with beer in one hand and the rifle in the other. And they actually shot keeping the beer in that hand. 



Last good set of the festival was Adam Bayer who really killed it and we got The Hot Natured Label Party, on Monday night. Here we danced on very good sets from Art Department, Magda, Jamie Jones and Clockwork. 

Hot Natured threw us back to NYC for a bit: overall the atmosphere was a bit more tightass like New York parties, like “I’m so cool you know?” shit. It was at an artsy loft and people were wearing stylish clothes, heels, make up and stuff. 

Conclusion: It was a total blast dancing in the ghost city and we’ll be back!