For the 4th year in a row we proudly present the definitive Movement Festival Survival Guide as a companion to our Movement 2017 after party list. This year’s survival guide features 13 essential recommendations (#1 and #13 are my favorites). Enjoy!
#1 Don’t try to re-live the past: For some of you this may be your first year at Movement, for others it’s a ritual you’ve been practicing since the turn of the new millennium. Whatever brings you to Detroit on these most holy of days in the electronic music world, I urge you to throw off any expectations for the weekend. Things change, people change, music tastes evolve, love interests come and go, with every new day you’re a new person and THIS WILL BE A NEW EXPERIENCE SO LET IT BE EXACTLY THAT. Don’t try to fit this weekend into your expectations, keep your plans loose, your eyes wide, and your heart open to what may come.
#2 The big secret: you don’t need a ticket to have fun: Movement has come a long way since the days when it was called DEMF and it was free to the public. These days I can barely justify the $200+ general admission myself, HOWEVER, you can still have a great time on little or no budget. I mean Detroit has great electronic music going on regardless of the festival. That said, if you’re ultra broke like Dave Chapelle on a date in “Half Baked” kinda broke, there are plenty of FREE daytime events and after parties (such as this party and this party), cheap coney dogs 24/7 at Lafayette Coney (even cheaper and better at Duly’s Place if you aren’t a scared little bitch), and Detroiters on the corners hawking $1 bottled water all day long. The real party starts each night after the festival ends though. If you only have between $10-40 in your pocket, spending it on one or two incredible after parties and saving money and energy by NOT attending the festival is a pretty savvy move.
#3 Procrastination is for losers: Getting into the festival will take longer than you think that first day. Period. If there’s a performance you really want to catch, figure out how much time you’ll need to get there and double it. If you’re early (not likely) cool, grab a drink, find someone with soft lips and a nice butt that knows how to shake it, and take them to the front of the stage to see that special artist up close and personal.
#4 Grab a Schedule: Even if you get a paper schedule at the entrance, make sure someone in your crew has a list of set times and after parties handy. I love the Detroit-based SetTim.es website (just be sure to read their instructions the very first time you visit the site). For after parties see our comprehensive Movement 2017 after party list curated by DJ Walter Glasshouse. If you’re a total noob or just don’t want to try at life anymore, check out the Movement App for Android or Movement App for iPhone.
#5 Pace yourself: Going super hard the first day is a rookie mistake. Newcomers will often put all their energy into the first day, afterparty way too hard, and miss all the great acts the next day at the festival. Let loose, have a crazy time, but treat your body with respect. Save that energy for the hours when you’re really going to want it. There are at LEAST three days and four nights of constant partying that can be had. Choose your battles wisely, rest whenever it feels right, drink water, eat a damn banana. Don’t end up looking like a meth head’s mugshot by day three. The seasoned festival goers will still be beating up that dance floor at 10pm Monday night, and they’ll look damn good doing it. Strive for that.
#6 Michigan weather is nuttier than squirrel shit: This year the weather in Detroit is supposed to be pretty normal for late May and that means jack shit. Our weather is always unpredictable and this year will be no exception. Bring sunglasses (for sun and those potentially bloodshot eyes), an umbrella or poncho, and two more changes of clothes… both long and short sleeve because it’s gonna get chilly at night and you may be walking at some point (our mass transit sucks and the new Q-Line won’t be taking you to any cool after parties).
#7 Heroes from the hometown always throw down: Every year we encourage readers to check out Detroit’s homegrown talent. Kicking off Movement 2017 is genius Detroit hip hop producer Wajeed at the “Stargate” stage and it’s gonna be amazing. Detroit artists feel a huge responsibility when they’re booked for Movement and you better believe they deliver. This year we’ll see Detroit techno legends stretching their artistic wings with mutiple live sets from Kevin Saunderson as E-Dancer, Audion (Matthew Dear), Octave One, and Carl Craig performing his highly anticipated Versus Synthesizer Ensemble. Even Windsorite and one-time adopted son of Detroit, Richie Hawtin, will be doing some weird live shit with his CLOSE audiovisual project.
#8 Explore Detroit: Detroit is a more beautiful city than you can imagine. STEP OUTSIDE the festival/downtown bubble for a few hours. There’s a reason we produce such passionate artists in Detroit; the city is dripping with pride, bursting with soul, and her biggest muscle isn’t her cars and tough reputation, it’s her heart and the deeply warm people who make this city so alive. Rent a bike for a ride down the Riverwalk or up the Dequindre Cut, take a breather at the newly renovated Belle Isle State Park, get some pre-festival refreshments at historic Eastern Market, eat at Taqueria El Rey in Southwest Detroit, arrange a tour of Detroit’s Techno Museum, visit the Detroit Institute of Art, check out The Heidelberg Project before it disappears forever. Whatever you do, take a couple of hours to renew and refresh yourself outside of the downtown area, it’ll make your entire experience more complete, and a little more magical.
#9 Protect your hearing: I’m a music producer so my hearing is my life. And I know you love music too so don’t be a dumbass and lose your hearing over one music festival. Sound pressure levels at this event reach over 115dB and cause permanent hearing damage after just a few SECONDS of exposure. The vending booths that sell candy and gum also sell earplugs at reasonable prices. There are even branded Movement earplugs for sale that basically turn down the volume slightly without muffling the sound. They’re not the best protection but it’s way better than nothing. Personally, I buy a big box of earplugs at the drugstore, fill a pocket, and make new friends by giving them out to lovely people I meet 🙂
#10 Wearing proper foot gear is a must: This isn’t Coachella or Burning Man. Heart Plaza in Detroit is not a public park or a pristine ecosystem. Three quarters of the environment is concrete, concrete with poor drainage when it gets full of festival garbage. You’re in an industrial city so let your footwear reflect that. Open toe shoes are a great way to get your pretty pedicured digits stepped on, nails broken, and feet covered in the foulest varieties of rave goo. Dark boots or shoes are recommended, steel toes are the real MVPs.
#11 Keep it clean: It’s gonna get, wet, warm, and sticky, and you’re probably going to start to stink at some point. Do everyone a favor and stay fresh. It kills the vibe to be overwhelmed with the stench of someone’s funky human musk. Bring deodorant, a face wipe, a change of underwear at least, and probably a change of clothes each day. Not only will everyone around appreciate it, but it’s a fantastic feeling to put on fresh clothes for the evening after a hot sweaty day of dancing.
#12 Bring a new face to the festival: If you’re a jaded raver, there’s no remedy for cynicism like taking along someone who’s never been to Movement. Seeing the eyes of a newcomer light up with wonder and amazement when they first take in the sights and electrified sounds of Heart Plaza makes the experience as new for you as it is for them. This is the festival at its best, being alive and aware in the moment and creating memories with the beautiful people at your side.
#13 Get lost: At some point this weekend, ditch your friends, put the schedule away, forget yourself, and just wander. Use your ears, let the goosebumps take you where they may, trust your gut and I guarantee you’re going to have one of the most visceral and beautiful experiences of this weekend.
Peace, love, and techno ♥️ — B.Aware