ever since i got back from detroit, all i can do is talk about detroit. in that really annoying way that when other people do it, i’m like “christ, can this bitch shut up about her trip to mexico? no one cares” but when i do it is for some reason okay. a couple weeks back, i travelled to detroit for the annual electronic music festival that takes place for three days in hart plaza – detroit electronic music festival (DEMF), or for you other weirdos, movement electronic music festival. it is not only the one time of year that people from all over the world, you know, actually go to detroit, but it is the kind of party that makes a name for electronic music in a way that has less to do with raving, over-zealous drug use, and half-naked chicks, and a lot more to do with the music.
i attended the festival as part of the official beatport team – in fact, you can read my (more professional) review (with less swearing and sarcasm) right here (where you’ll find a pretty detailed look at some of the acts i saw). in the coming weeks, the interviews i did will be posted as well. i wasn’t going to review the festival for little city because it’s been a pretty hectic couple weeks for me, but i wanted to share a few feelings about the festival that didn’t make it into my review, and might help to explain DEMF better than me yelling “it was UNREAL” in your face.
i’ve been to a lot of music festivals, but i have genuinely never experienced anything like DEMF. maybe it was the sheer magnitude of the festival. in much the same way that raves operate, there was more than one point during the weekend when i looked around and couldn’t believe that there was this many like-minded bots dancing to the same beat, feeling the same thing. maybe it was the fact that everywhere you looked, people were smiling. maybe it was the music, which i can honestly say was some of the best techno i’ve ever heard. but mostly, i think it was the fact that i really felt like a part of something. you know, the way that you feel when you’re leaving the last piknic electronik of the summer and everyone starts cheering in berri metro, or when hundreds of people impromptu karaoke oasis’ wonderwall on the last night of osheaga. it’s the kind of connectedness that i’ve only ever felt through music, and it was that connectedness that was the heartbeat of DEMF. it was, in every sense of the word, magical.
there are so many moments that really changed me. al ester dancing on the made in detroit stage, drumcell wrecking the underground stage, ellen allien dropping burial at the beatport stage, daniel bell’s entire set, everything that ever happened at old miami, ben klock b2b dvs1 at the works, anything guti did ever, dancing in the rain at maetrik, chris liebing shaking the walls at st andrew’s (to name but a few)….but i think what made me appreciate it so much more was the fact that i was a part of history, and i could really feel it. which was made all the more awesome when i read RA’s oral history of DEMF (chills).
maybe i’m being dramatic. maybe the festival was so much fun because it was four days of substance-fueled power dancing, with (almost) no work or responsibilities. or perhaps the festival just seems better in retrospect. but truth be told…the people who offer those kinds of explanations are the people who haven’t been to DEMF :)