Movement festival celebrates 20 years at Detroit Historical Museum

Erica Hobbs
Special to The Detroit News

Detroit’s globally renowned Movement festival may not take place this weekend, but a celebratory event in its honor will.

The Detroit Historical Society’s (DHS) program commemorates the closing of its “2000/2020: Celebrating 20 Years of the Electronic Music Festival in Detroit!” exhibit, from 6-10 p.m. Sunday at Legends Plaza outside the Detroit Historical Museum (DHM).

“We at the Detroit Historical Society think it’s really important to tell all the stories, and (the Detroit electronic music festival) is such a prominent story,” said Tracy Irwin, DHS’s chief exhibitions and enrichment officer.

“2000/2020: Celebrating 20 Years of the Electronic Music Festival in Detroit!” runs through June 27 at the Detroit Historical Museum.

The event will feature a panel discussion with Detroit techno legend Carl Craig and photographer Doug Coombe. They will be joined by Tim Aten, the filmmaker behind the “The Drive Home” documentary about the festival, and Sam Fotias, director of operations at Paxahau, which produces the festival. WDET personality Chis Campbell "DJ Cambeau” will moderate.

The event also includes a screening of “The Drive Home,” music from electronic music DJ Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale and late-night access to the exhibit.  Food trucks and pop-up shops will be available.

“Our main goal was to represent the full 20+ years of the festival and represent the uniqueness of the electronic music community,” said Tim Price, who co-curated the exhibit and the event with Rita Sayegh. “(We also wanted) to show what an impact the festival and music itself has made on the city and on a global perspective, along with a behind-the-scenes look of the inner-workings of the festival.” 

Traditionally held over the three-day Memorial Day weekend, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival premiered in 2000 in Detroit’s Hart Plaza. While it has undergone several name and producer changes – settling on “Movement” in 2006 under Paxahau – it has become a global phenomenon, drawing about 30,000 attendees per day from across the globe. 

The event has been on a two-year hiatus following the COVID-19 pandemic, and no formal announcements have yet been made regarding a return in 2022. 

Sayegh said the partnership with the museum highlights the festival's significance in contemporary culture.

“Having this platform for '2000/2020,’ through this respected institution, provides the context to a moment that many may not recognize as history in the making,” she said.

COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place. Advance ticket purchases are required, and guests will enter using timed ticketing to manage capacity and be assigned a set path to maintain social distancing. Guests must also wear a mask when not eating or drinking and while inside the museum. 

Price said Sunday’s event is accessible to people who have attended the festival for years as well as those who have never heard of it.  

“The great thing about doing this exhibit at the DHM is…for them to walk out of the Community Gallery and say ‘WOW!’ and maybe even spike interest in the music and/or the festival itself,” he said. 

Irwin said it’s a great opportunity for people across Metro Detroit to come together to commemorate music that was born in Detroit.

“Let’s celebrate this music, let’s celebrate this festival, and let’s be together,” she said. 

Though the program celebrates the closing of the museum exhibit, which opened in September, people still have time to see it. “2000/2020: Celebrating 20 Years of the Electronic Music Festival in Detroit!” will run until June 27.

'2000/2020: Celebrating 20 Years of the Electronic Music Festival in Detroit!'

Sunday from 6-10 p.m. at Legends Plaza outside the DHM. Doors and the museum open at 5:30 p.m. with music beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 for DHS members and $25 for nonmembers. 


6-8 p.m.: DJ Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale  

8-9 p.m.:  Panel Discussion with Chis Campbell "DJ Cambeau," Carl Craig, Doug Coombe, Tim Aten and Sam Fotias; Q&A for audience at the end

9-10 p.m.: The Drive Home Film Screening