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Navigate Detroit’s Movement like a veteran

Detroit's Movement Electronic Music Festival (formerly DEMF), one of the best underground techno and electronic music festivals in the US, is just a month away. For those of you that are first-timers, we have compiled a guide to help make sure your first year is memorable and stress-free. 

1. Attire

Movement is held during Memorial Day weekend in the Midwest which means the weather can be fickle. While it may seem that it would be warm and shorts/tank top weather, it can actually get quite cold especially at night and if it's raining. Make sure to bring a hoodie and consider wearing pants. Some of the stages are located right next to the water and offer a cool breeze so plan accordingly. And please... leave your kandi and tutu at home. It's not that kind of a festival. 

2. VIP Vs. GA Tickets

This is usually a polarizing topic amongst veterans. Some think VIP is definitely worth it and others prefer General Admission. The perks of VIP include a huge space with couches, separate entrance, trailer bathrooms, 6 free drink tickets and a discounted liquor bar, and separate areas near the stages that include relaxing hammocks. It's easy to run into Maceo Plex and Seth Troxler while in VIP so if you want to mingle with DJs this is a good option. Boiler Room also held a party in a tent inside VIP in 2013. 

Conversely, GA entrance lines are never long and if you plan to stick to beer/malt beverages and don't mind using port-a-potties then you're all set with GA tickets. If you will be hitting day parties off-site at places like Old Miami that go well into the afternoon causing you to miss part of Movement, then a VIP ticket might go to waste.

3. The Stages

Movement is located in Hart Plaza right on the Detroit River. The main stage is an amphitheater with seating and a large standing/dancing area. The smaller Made in Detroit Stage is directly to the west of the main stage and is a great stage to discover some newer talent. There is a stage that's in the back directly next to the river with views of Windsor, Canada (called Beatport Stage last year) and features some of the best deep house, tech house and techno DJs. Opposite of the Beatport stage, deeper in the park is a smaller stage (called Electric Forest last year) that includes a more diverse lineup featuring trap and electro acts. One of the coolest stages is located underground and hosts some of the best dark techno and minimal sounds.

4. After Parties

There are several venues and clubs around the city that host some of the best official and unofficial after parties. In the past, TV Lounge has hosted Circoloco and Resolute. St. Andrew's has been the host venue for the CLR and Life & Death parties. Parties like Richie Hawtin's Jak Attak and Flying Circus & No 19 were held at City Club. Other cool venues include Bleu, Flat 151, the Fillmore and The Works. Make sure to visit Resident Advisor and the Movement website regularly as the festival approaches for party announcements. The pre-sale tickets sell out quickly and trying to get tickets at the door can be a pain, if not impossible.

5. Old Miami

Old Miami is so unique, it can't be categorized with the other parties. This is like the after-after party or the pre-party depending on how your Sunday night goes. Held in an old, rundown looking neighborhood bar, the party starts around 7 am on Monday morning in the backyard of the bar. Last year it featured acts like Soul Clap and Tale of Us and this year DJ Tennis and Dixon are already scheduled to play. The vibe is really fun and casual and DJs mingle alongside partygoers to check out some of the best sets of the entire weekend. 

6. Hotels

If you haven't booked your hotel already, you may be SOL. Hotel rooms in Detroit are limited and are booked far in advance in anticipation of the festival. The few remaining options may including paying a premium for one of the very last rooms left or you may have to expand your search to Airbnb apartments or shared rooms further out from the city, usually in a less desirable area. Check with friends and see if they or their friends have a spare spot for you in their hotel room.

7. Transportation

There is limited street parking and you have to be a ninja to find a spot that is free. Other options include paid lots that average around $8-10 a day or you can try parking at the MGM Grand or Greektown casinos (if an old Indian guy in a parking booth on Lafayette Blvd tries to make you pay $20, just leave and go one lot over!). If you're cabbing to and from your hotel/apartment, make sure you're not getting ripped off. A friendly cab driver has advised in the past that during Movement, they're only supposed to charge you $10 regardless of where you're headed, within city limits. 

Check out Movement Festival’s website for more info.

Words: Kasia Karolak