Detroit’s Charivari festival more than a dance movement

Kyla Smith
The Detroit News

Belle Isle will transform into an electronic music heaven as Charivari takes over the island this weekend.

In its second year, the free music festival is back louder than ever as the Godfather of techno, Juan Atkins makes a special appearance.

On Saturday and Sunday, more than 80 DJs spread across three stages will play everything from disco, house and dance music. Some of the featured DJs include one of the founding fathers of techno, Eddie Fowlkes, Kyle Hall, DJ Godfather and Gary Chandler.

Not to be confused with the Movement Electronic Music Festival, Charivari is exclusive to Detroit artists only.

“This is a home-grown event. No international artists, no live performances, just our DJ’s playing music,” said Todd Johnson, organizer of Charivari. “Everyone featured at the festival either lives in Detroit or is from Detroit.”

So what is Charivari and where did it come?

Charivari (pronounced SHAR-uh-VAR-ee) is and old British term used to describe a loud gathering or celebration.

“The word has always been around, other parts of world use is all time,” Johnson said. “We just borrowed it and plan to add Detroit style to it.”

Good music fused with pop and indie rap won’t be the only thing enjoyed on the island. New to Charivari this year is “Fat Detroit,” a combination of fitness, food, fashion and fine arts.

The clothing line Detroit Hustles Harder will debut new attire, the Detroit Medical Center is holding free health screenings and many local artists will give live art demonstrations, Johnson said. “This is really a family friendly event. It’s not as wild as Movement, as some might assume.”

A charivari is not complete without food and drinks. Food venders from some of Metro Detroit’s top restaurants such as Andiamos Italian Restaurant, Slows BBQ and Jackson Five Star Catering will be on deck serving up summer treats.

Charivari not only will showcase the best DJs Detroit has to offer, but it intends to let everyone know that the city is coming back strong.

“People need to come down here and see the new Belle Isle. Support Detroit and be a part of the change that’s taking place,” Johnson said. “Let yourself go, in a fun, safe way.”

Where, when to just do it

■Noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

■Belle Isle Park, 6925 E. Jefferson, Detroit

For a complete lineup, visit charivaridetroit.comCQ