2014-05-14T15:26:11-04:00 2014-05-14T16:11:40-04:00

Earmilk's Survival Guide to Movement Detroit

This piece was co-written by Lukas Switlicki and Alyce Currier

Detroit's annual gathering of candy ravers, techno heads, and run-of-the-mill types that just want a good time is only days ahead, but before you start packing and daydreaming at work, have a run down our list of tips from our past experiences running around Motor City. It might just save you a penny or a massive headache in the morning. And if you haven't grabbed weekend passes yet (what's wrong with you?), it's never too late to buy, you can find them still up for grabs on the Movement homepage

Pace yourself

With most inner-city festivals, the actual lineup is only half the fun. Movement's May weekend is packed with afterparties and artists playing sets late into the a.m., so make sure to space "things" out or you'll lose your legs before they even start. Taking frequent breaks, grabbing water, and making sure you're fed all seem like obvious no-brainers for any festival, but for the city's 24-hour lineup, forgetting to take care of yourself can drag you down, leaving you to miss out.


Don't stress about sticking to a schedule

For seasoned festival-goers, this is Party 101, but still bears mentioning: you'll probably have a much more exciting experience at Movement if you're flexible. While some larger festivals may call for extensive planning, we'd argue that Movement is well-curated enough that wandering and discovery are an essential part of the experience. In line with pacing yourself, however, also allow yourself to wander away from the festival or afterparties - you could ostensibly party for 72 hours straight, but taking a break can make the rest of your experience even better.

Pro tip: That said, sometimes, you do care about checking who's playing on which stage. To manage your inevitable FOMO, Movement built an iPhone app last year that allowed attendees to keep an eye on the schedule in real-time with minimal effort, and we'd recommend grabbing it.

Stay at the Marriott

Call it a shameless plug, or a tip many traveling attendees can agree on. You can find the Marriott hotel smack in the middle of Detroit's Renaissance Center, towering over the festival's grounds at Hart Plaza. It may not be the best price you can get for lodging, but what the hotel does give you is location, location, location. Being metres away from your favourite stage couldn't be more convenient, and with so many dance lovers filling up the vacancies for a weekend, who knows where you'll find yourself waking up at noon.


Pro-tip: for the most hungover of mornings, you might want to see if you can book a room on the side of the hotel opposite the festival so you can sleep in and fully recover, rather than waking up to pounding bass. Or, if you'd prefer a techno alarm clock and a view of the festival grounds, the festival side of the hotel is the place to be!

VIP is worth it

Although this might make us high maintenance, we'd argue that the VIP passes to Movement are worth it, at approximately the same cost as your typical festival pass (Movement's regular passes are cheaper than average).

Last year, VIP passes got you access to drink tickets, outlets to charge your electronics, a less chaotic area to lounge in, an exclusive Boiler Room party with Richie HawtinMagdaStacey Pullen, and more, and much nicer bathrooms. You'll still have tons of fun at Movement with a regular festival pass, but if you can afford it, know that the VIP experience at Movement is more than a gimmick.

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Eat vegetables at some point

It's weird to have to bring this up, but directly around the festival grounds, it can be a bit difficult to find nourishment that's not a hot dog or Red Bull. Last year, we had luck (albeit overpriced luck) in the Marriott hotel bar and also located some veggie burgers (those are kind of vegetables, right?) on the festival grounds.

If you're going to be partying for three days and nights straight and want to sustain your energy, nutrition matters. There are plenty of restaurants and shops nearby, if you wander a bit farther from the festival grounds, and it's nice to support the local economy!


Explore downtown and get yourself a Coney Island hot dog

If you're like us, there's a good chance that many of your trips are planned around music festivals, often at the cost of discovering new locales. Well, contrary to popular belief, exploring downtown Detroit won't get you shot. In fact, downtown is clean, quiet, and full of cool old architecture, and you can grab booze on the cheap while you're it.

Make sure to take a break from the festival's chaos and explore some of the local spots. Michigan takes their frankfurters seriously, and you can't find a local that won't push you to try their classic Coney Island hot dog while you're in town. Some close and highly yelp'd spots are Lafayette Coney Island and Duly's Place


See the locals

One of the defining features of the Movement lineup is its strong support of local greats you'll be hard-pressed to find spinning at your local watering hole. This year's list is rammed with house and techno pioneers like Anthony Shakir, AndresStacey Pullen, Monty Luke, Mike Huckaby, Stacey Hale, Eddie Fowlkes, Kenny Larkin, and the mysterious super group Underground Resistance. It's hard to argue with these acts' influence on where electronic music is today, and some of them rarely go on tour, so catch them while you can.


Dress comfortably, be prepared for bad weather

Although it's late May and there should be a gorgeous forecast for most of the festival, rain and/or cold can still happen (last year, the final night was headlined by a cold, wet torrential downpour), so don't forget to bring your rain and chill staples. A good raincoat and waterproof shoes, or, fuck it, a poncho, might totally save your day. And don't feel bad about bringing your comfiest footwear as a backup plan — this isn't Manhattan, so no one's going to judge you for your sneakers, and you'll be way happier.


...And definitely don't forget to bring earplugs

We have nothing but praise for the PA's rigged up during last year's lineup. Having sub bass pulsing through your fingers is a good indicator that the festival's soundsystem is not your average setup. That being said, the festival itself, and a lot of the venues throughout the city, can be loud. Don't settle for free foam earplugs - bring something that will allow you to enjoy decent sound quality while protecting your hearing. At about $13 a pair, Etymotic's Ety-Plugs are well-liked for their price-to-quality ratio.

All photos courtesy of Movement's Facebook page.

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