Movement 2009, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, kicks off this weekend, and promises to be a blast for fans of electronic music.
Last year’s attendance reached close to 80,000 over three days at Detroit’s Hart Plaza, and this year’s attendance could be even higher, with some big names like Carl Craig & The Prodigy on the lineup.
DJ Count Zero raises some interesting questions about the state of the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, though, in the hands of concert producers Paxahau:
The population of the city of Detroit, Michigan is 80% black, 12% white. Now, granted, it would probably be unrealistic for the ratio of white to black artists at the festival to ever approach the population figures, but you’d think that the idea would be to represent the character of the city pretty closely, right? Well, for the first few years that was the case:
Year % Black
From 200-2005 the percentage of black performers at DEMF never dipped below 37%, and usually was above 50%. In 2006, though, something happened. Paxahau took over the event and the number of black performers dropped dramatically, to 21%! Why? That same year the percentage of Detroit area performers dropped too, from 62% in ‘05 to 33% in ‘06!
What possible excuse could Paxahau have to take what was a succesful event regardless of who was in charge and turn it into a homogenous rave party with so little Detroit flavor?
Paxahau’s “excuse” is pretty clear.
They took a event that was financially failing and turned it around by featuring more and more mainstream electronic music artists, who are less a reflection of Detroit’s make up or music than a reflection of the world of popular electronic music.
DJ Count Zero makes a valid point, though – that Movement’s success comes at the price of an event that’s less black, less a reflection of Detroit, and, arguably, less unique in the world of electronic music.
For its part, Paxahau has announced that Carl Craig will be the creative director of the Movement 2010 Festival.
What do you think? What’s more important to the Detroit Electronic Music Festival – the Detroit, or the Electronic Music?