Movement Festival Detroit 2019: Above Ground to the Underground [REVIEW]

Movement Music Festival pulled through with another incredible techno-driven installment over Memorial Day Weekend this year in the heart of Detroit. The weekend came and went in a flash, but over those three days, the connections built between the festival’s artists and attendees left a lasting impression that will be cherished forever.


Maybe it’s just me, but after attending Movement for a few years running — this was the first time around that I hardly paid attention to the schedule. Instead of examining the lineup and calculating every move to every stage, I went where the music took me and it was a beautiful thing. There’s an inexplainable freedom that comes over you, running stage to stage in the cool city air, with the pounding beats from each stage as your only guide.

On Sunday night, for example, I heard portions of Dubfire b3b Nicole Moudaber b3b Paco Osuna, Kevin Saunderson b2b The Saunderson Brothers, and Richie Hawtin as I hopped from the Movement Stage to Stargate to Pyramid. All were competing for the moment, but also existing harmoniously in that same moment. Where else is this possible except for Movement?

As always, it was the music, the people, and the community we cultivated together that made the experience so impactful and the little moments so meaningful. I can easily break Movement down into little, fleeting but somehow lasting moments. Like when Gucci Mane took the stage and track-by-track, delivered his material with such execution that he blew my mind and nearly brought me to tears. Or, when Get Real played the Movement Stage on the festival’s final day and ended on Claude VonStroke‘s “Who’s Afraid of Detroit” as the rain came down, making the sky sparkle above us. Or, when GRiZ blasted that same crowd, who had shared so many of these little moments together, with straight up filthy, funky beats to close out the festival properly.

That’s just a little glimpse of Movement from above ground, but let’s take it to the underground…

This portion was contributed by Georgia Modi

The Underground Stage has always been a home away from home for those who tend to crave the intense, sometimes even primal, bass lines and kick drums. It’s a place where you can go to let loose, lose track of time, and dance until you’re dripping with sweat. It gets toasty down there.

Sweat and heat aside, the curation of this year’s stage brought a lot to the table with the first US appearance of LSD, the live trio made up of Luke Slater, Steve Bicknell, and Function — they played the closing slot on Saturday night, a fitting time for artists of their caliber. As well as genre mainstays such as Oscar Mulero, DJ Bone, DJ Nobu, The Advent, Detroit Techno Militia, and Neil Landstrom.

The start of the festival was met with a bit of rain causing things to get pushed back. Thankfully, that made it easier for me to catch Umfang as she kicked things off after the temporary festival shutdown. The day continued to forge on and even with the slight change in set times, no artist let it bother them. LSD was even able to play well past their scheduled ending of 11 pm. Hell, they even blew past midnight a bit. No one complained about that.

The Sunday night closing slot played host to the famed Oscar Mulero. His talents on the decks were made clear over the course of his hour and a half set. Those who were in attendance seem to boast that it was their favorite set of the weekend, myself included.

Monday brought forth the crowds. Fjaak, a duo whose rising popularity was made known during their set, crushed their performance. I had yet to see the stage that packed for any other performance during the weekend. They were followed by DJ Bone, who showed off his signature Detroit style of mixing. Those who were familiar with it had their feet moving the entire time but others were left a bit more lost. Regardless, Bone gave a set worthy of Detroit Techno.

It’s those little moments that define Movement and keep us coming back year after year. If you’re considering attending movement next year we have just two words for you — do it.

Photo via Movement Electronic Music Festival via youredm

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