Road to Movement Detroit: the years 2008-2018

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With Memorial Weekend fast approaching, Detroit’s beloved Movement Festival will enter its 21st year in the running, bringing forth yet another relentless wave of excitement in its showcase of diverse musical talent. Originally surfacing as a free event, Movement has grown from its beginnings into a nationwide landmark whose dedication to housing premier electronic music attracts music-lovers from all over the spectrum. In recent years, Movement has expanded immensely from its techno and house roots with its polarizing shifts in programming. This year’s lineup undeniably juxtaposes the underground mainstays with new blood, welcoming the likes of FISHER, Chris Lake, and Charlotte de Witte with local legends like Stacey Pullen, Carl Craig, and Octave One.

Encompassing over two decades of performances, curated stages, and transformative industry shifts, Movement has no shortage of monumental highlights that have been captured. As dance music prepares for Movement 2019, look back on Movement’s journey through the last ten years with the Dancing Astronaut team as we chronicle some of the best moments of the historic techno and house gathering.

2008: deadmau5, Beatport Stage

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Photo Credits: Scott Spellman

Racking up an attendance of 75,000 (up 30,000 from the previous year), Movement cemented itself as one of the most important electronic festivals nationwide in 2008. Right at the onset of deadmau5‘ peak touring period, Movement hosted the original helmet-wearing DJ on Saturday, May 24 at its Beatport Stage. Just two studio albums into his now-extensive discography, Deadmau5 made his Movement debut in the early stages of his career, spinning to a packed crowd that received his performance amicably.

2009: Carl Cox, Main Stage

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Photo Credits: Scott Spellman

Dance music titan Carl Cox brought the house down in a two-hour set at the-then Vitamin Water Main Stage, closing out a list of heavy-hitters from Day One. Already eight years deep into his yearly Space Ibiza residence and five years into his Carl Cox & Friends curated stage concept, the acid house veteran and his legendary party-throwing skills catered to new ears and techno-lovers alike.

2010: Plastikman, Main Stage

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Photo Credits: Bryan Mitchell

Marking Richie Hawtin‘s first Plastikman show in Detroit since 1994, the techno trailblazer returned under his Plastikman moniker to deliver an incredible main stage performance on Saturday, May 29 for the tenth anniversary of Movement Festival since its inception in 2000.

2011: Skrillex, Red Bull Music Academy Stage

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Photo Credits: Bryan Mitchell

Making his Movement debut on the Red Bull Music Academy Stage, Skrillex closed out Day 1 on Saturday, May 28 to what many will remember as one of the best sets of the festival. On the cusp of his seminal “Bangarang” release and coming off the success of his 2010 Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites album, the dubstep producer graced the humble, but notoriously diverse Red Bull stage in the midst of his blossoming career.

2012: Public Enemy and special guest Ice-T, Main Stage

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Photo Credits: Douglas Wojciechowski

Breaking its attendance record again with 107,343 fans coming out in 2012, Movement dipped its feet into hip-hop programming, bringing rap legends Public Enemy to the main stage. The performance given by the “Fight the Power” rappers has remained one of the most unforgettable pinnacles of Movement and spoken to the festival’s ability to curate acts that stray from the traditional techno and house genres while maintaining appeal to the Movement audience.

2013: Nina Kraviz, Underground Stage

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Photo Credits: Bryan Mitchell

Since her breakthrough in 2009, Nina Kraviz has been a frequent performer at Movement throughout the years and continued to bring her hypnotic style of music back to Detroit. The Siberian DJ closed out the Underground Stage on Day One of Movement 2013 to a massive crowd. The timing of Kraviz’s appearance also coincided with the release of her divisive Resident Advisor interview and the subsequent controversy.

2014: J.Phlip, Beatport Stage

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Photo Credits: Bryan Mitchell

Both a special night for J.Phlip and spectators alike, the Dirtybird staple stepped on the decks to celebrate her birthday and simultaneously closed out Movement’s final day on the Beatport Stage as a last minute fill-in for Boys Noize.

2015: Dog Blood, Movement Stage

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Photo Credits: Joe Gall

Seeing Skrillex’s return four years later performing under Dog Blood with co-producer Boys Noize, Movement undeniably paid tribute to the rise of burgeoning talent in Skrillex’s graduation to a densely-packed main stage performance. Up until then, Movement had avoided slotting cross-over acts for main stage; however, the praised reception to Dog Blood proved an unlikely payoff that would continue to play an influence in Movement’s ever-expanding roster.

2016: Kraftwerk, Movement Stage

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Photo Credits: Douglas Wojciechowski

Movement 2016 not only celebrated its tenth anniversary relaunching under Paxahau Events, but also capitalized on its place as a leading festival by landing Kraftwerk — one of the most influential forces in modern electronic music and undeniably the most prolific booking of Movement in recent years. The German pioneers made their debut Movement appearance and captivated fans with their 3-D visual performance, solidifying their position as both innovators and improvisational artists.

2017: Richie Hawtin, Movement Stage

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Photo Credits: Douglas Wojciechowski

Electronic mainstay Richie Hawtin brought his new audiovisual show CLOSE – Spontaneity & Synchronicity to Detroit for a surreal 75-minute experience combining elements of DJ and live performance. The minimalist techno-champion presented his latest project Day One during his headlining slot on the main stage. The following nights saw Testpilot and Carl Cox as headliners.

2018: Claude VonStroke, Movement Stage

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Photo Credits: Anthony Rassam

With the Dirtybird brand showing up consistently as a strong presence at Movement, it was only a matter of time before Claude VonStroke got his distinguished spotlight. The head Dirtybird chief closed out Movement’s main stage for the first time in 2018 before heading off on a world tour to Tomorrowland, Shambhala, Dirtybird Campout, and more. VonStroke also released a live mix album of his Movement set Claude VonStroke: Live in Detroit, paying homage to the city where he grew up.

Featured Image: Stephen Bondio

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