Movement Electronic Music Festival back with a vengeance at Detroit's Hart Plaza

Francis X. Donnelly
The Detroit News

Detroit — For some, early afternoon may be too early to shake one’s tail feather. For a gyrating crowd in downtown Detroit, it was a perfect time.

Then again, they waited two years for this moment.

That’s right, the Movement Electronic Music Festival is back. A horde of techno fans greeted it with open arms.

“I couldn’t wait,” said Becky Perry of Detroit, whose T-shirt read “Techno City.” “It took forever to get here.”

Perry wasn’t the first in line Saturday afternoon. A few hundred dancing maniacs were here before her. But she planned to make up for lost time.

The music festival was silent for two years during the pandemic. But it’s returning with a vengeance with 100 acts on six stages at Hart Plaza.

It runs from Saturday through Monday and fans like Mark O’Brien of Ferndale planned to be here for all of it.

“I missed it, that’s for sure,” he said. “It’s my favorite musical event of the year.”

Andre Ghita plays a set at the Detroit Stage during the 2022 Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit, Mich. on Saturday, May 28, 2022.

The festival resonates deeply in Detroit, which is only fitting because the Motor City is the birthplace of techno music.

And the festival has become a staple of the industry, starting in 2000 and being held every year there wasn’t a contagious disease running rampant across the globe.

Detroit residents, Chelsea Chadwick, left, and Matthew Kaltz, right, listen to Andre Ghita's set at the Detroit Stage during the 2022 Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit, Mich. on Saturday, May 28, 2022.

As for what attracts the faithful to the drum machines and synthesizers, one doesn’t even have to ask. One just has to watch.

On the Stargate stage Saturday, the crowd danced enthusiastically to LadyMonix.

Among them was Perry, who was already getting a thorough aerobic workout in the first hour of the three-day festival.

“I could do it all weekend,” she said about his dancing. “I have (in past years).”

Jamie Gabbara, left, of Detroit, and Tatiana Coleman, of Miami, attend ADMN's set at the 2022 Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit, Mich., on Saturday, May 28, 2022.

O’Brien said he comes downtown for work and fun and, every time he drove past Hart Plaza the past two years, he felt bad. He was missing the music festival the way a person feels about the passing of a close friend.

But there was a difference. This friend was coming back.

“Happy,” he said when asked how he felt. “Happy, very happy.”

Happy enough to dance? The question didn’t have to be asked.