headed to detroit for this year’s movement festival? me too. this will be my second year hitting the dancefloor at hart plaza, and although 2013’s DEMF was a really life changing experience, there are a few things i wish i had known before taking to the pavement in motor city. read on for my breadth of knowledge and wisdom.
pack your bags
ah, properly packing. my arch nemesis. last year, i brought like 13 different skirts and 1 top and 1 cropped leather jacket. and no pants. and sandals but no closed toed shoes. guys, this might seem obvious but seriously, pack like an intelligent human being. pack warm clothes, despite what the weather network might tell you. pack sturdy shoes for 12+ hours of dancing. pack a non-annoying bag/purse. pack sunscreen. don’t pack sandals because who are you kidding?
where to stay
this is a bit late, and if you haven’t booked your hotel yet, you’re probably sleeping in a cardboard box on the street. anyway, for the second year running, we’ll be rocking the double tree hilton not far from the festival site. it’s not too pricey and you can pack many peeps into one room. i’ve heard good things about the marriott, which is a stone’s throw from hart plaza. i have, on the other hand, heard not good things about the holiday inn — constant party mode with raucous guests, loud music, sketchy happenings, and less than ideal facilities. on the cheap though, so there’s that. there are also a ton of little motels, and if you wanna go really cheap, you can stay in windsor for about half the price.
getting from a to b
look. if you are heading to detroit from montreal…FLY. i can’t stress this enough. it’s more expensive, yes, but you will be saving yourself hours of stress and sanity reducing time spent in a tuna can on wheels down the highway. especially on the return where you’ll likely be running on less than an hour’s sleep. fly porter, guys. they give you free beer and free nuts. you’ll thank me later.
once you get to detroit, it’s likely you’ll be able to walk to the festival grounds from your hotel. no bigs, it’s not far. that said, if you’re at movement and planning on party hopping for pre and afters, take a cab. especially if you’re out alone (like i was last year). cabs are fairly cheap, safer, and will ultimately make your life easier. just don’t let your cabbie fuck you over on the way to old miami in the wee hours of monday morning. it’s an 8 minute cab ride, guys — it shouldn’t be more than $15!
we’ve all been there. you’re on day one of a weekend-long party bender, and you order a big meal. you eat about half. over the course of the next few days, you take random bites of that same meal, eventually choking down the last few forkfuls on the tail-end of the festival. you pat yourself on the back – “i ate so well!” we’re all guilty of it, but i have to say…NO. eat at least a meal a day. i know this sounds like common sense but seriously, last year i ate 1 order of pad thai the entire weekend, a soft pretzel, and beer. that’s all. i’m not exaggerating. degenerate lifestyle is not cute in retrospect. there are plenty of amazing places to get food outside the festival, so check em out on your way to hart plaza. oh, and drink water.
stepping in to hart plaza for the first time can be overwhelming. take a second to get your bearings by doing a walk around. arrange a meeting spot in case you get lost, and another on the dancefloor when you get to each stage. be sure you have everyone’s phone numbers. go to the bathroom in pairs (buddy system, yo). but most of all — EXPLORE. don’t spend all your time at one stage, even if it’s amazing. check out the demo booths next to the underground stage. try out the food trucks. have a look in the mini marketplace. go chill out in one of the lounges. climb the steps or make some chalk artwork next to the beatport stage. DEMF is about the music, definitely, but it’s also about the experience.
the after after after party
if you don’t take away anything else from this guide — at least listen to this. BUY YOUR AFTER PARTY TICKETS AHEAD OF TIME. prices inflate exponentially, and some parties get up to $50 at the door. it’s not cute, especially when you get in and realize the party sucks and you’re stuck there because you just dropped your last bills on the ticket. plan ahead! make a list of the after parties you wanna hit and buy your tickets online. also, you won’t find it listed on the movement site, but you absolutely cannot miss monday morning’s party at old miami. trust me.
it might be tempting to spend 2 hours at the RBMA stage getting down to your favourite DJ, and that’s totally okay. i’m not here to tell you how to live your life. BUT one of the best things about detroit was discovering new artists — sometimes you just have to trust that DEMF knows how to curate a line up, and every artist you go see will bring it 110%. everyone is on their A game at movement. even if it’s only for 20 minutes or so, try to see at least one new artist a day. because really, who needs to hear maetrik play “crush on me” for the 80th time in their life, when you could be discovering an up-and-coming artist, a local, or a name you’ve never heard of?
home sweet home
like i said, if you don’t fly, you are really punishing yourself. running on very little sleep last year, i got in a car for 11 hours, didn’t sleep a wink, got home at 1 am and had to be up for work five and a half hours later. after suffering through the entire day at my desk, i headed downtown to mutek. it was next level awful. maybe you’ve already decided to drive or take the train or the bus — and that’s okay. but do yourself a favour and take an extra day off work to recharge! you’ll need it.
++ photo by bruno postigo for RA