music festival

Detroit Electronic Music Festival

The Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF) is an electronic dance music showcase held in Detroit each Memorial Day weekend since 2000. In subsequent years, the similarly themed festivals Movement (2003–2004), Fuse-In (2005) and currently, Movement: Detroit's Electronic Music Festival (2006-present) continue the DEMF's traditions, with each name change reflecting shifts in festival management. All of these festivals featured performances by musicians and DJs, and emphasized the progressive qualities of the culture surrounding electronic music.


The first Detroit Electronic Music Festival was held in 2000, established by Carol Marvin and her company Pop Culture Media. Marvin had previously been a sponsorship organizer for the Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival and Detroit-Montreux Jazz Festival, and was a producer of the 1993 Michigan State Fair.

The DEMF was intended to give Detroit and its overlooked history of electronic music major exposure both locally and nationally. Carl Craig, hired by Carol Marvin to act as "Artistic Director", booked a diverse range of the talent, from big internationally recognized names to lesser-known local talent. Patterned on high-profile dance music festivals in Europe, the DEMF had free admission and attracted many international attendees.

Each festival has been held at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit, and has been sanctioned and financially supported by the City of Detroit. The city's support for the festival has been seen by many as the first high-profile acknowledgment and celebration of the city as the birthplace of techno music.

2000: Successful launch

The first festival occurred in May 2000 and concluded with few hitches and no reported crime. It was applauded by city leaders and tourism officials as an injection of youthful energy into the city.

Attendance at the first DEMF surpassed expectations, with estimates over the three-day run surpassing one million visitors. Subsequent festivals drew even bigger crowds. City officials and others including media observers and local businesses saw the apparent economic boost to the city, with the Visitors and Convention Bureau stating that in only its second year, the event had pumped over $90 million into the local economy.

2001–2002: DEMF growth and controversy

In the festival's second year and beyond, there was a veritable explosion of techno music events around Detroit, with many independently organized and impromptu parties packing area clubs and makeshift venues early into each morning.

Controversy ensued when Carol Marvin fired Craig for not fulfilling the terms of his contract. While many of the music fans were upset at his dismissal, many industry insiders understood that though he was a great artist, Craig did not have the business savvy needed to fulfill his contractual obligations. Craig lost two lawsuits against Marvin, with the courts deciding that Marvin was justified in terminating Craig. While Craig insisted he was a "founder" of the event, court documents proved that he was, in fact, hired by Marvin as an employee, and that he was negligent in performing his duties. As new producers handled the festival, media began to question the validity of attendance figures and financial gain. Subsequent producers of the event, Derrick May (Movement) and Kevin Saunderson (Fuse-In), did not deliver the same results that Marvin had, and lost thousands of dollars.

2003–2004: Movement

In January 2003, city officials decided to place the event in the hands of popular techno artist Derrick May, who had extensive experience as a touring DJ but no firsthand, large-scale festival production experience.

The second Movement festival took place in 2004, but despite its public success, the event faced significant financial losses and its fate became uncertain

2005: Fuse-In

In February 2005, May announced his resignation as festival producer, and the festival once again changed hands. Fellow techno veteran Kevin Saunderson announced plans for a Movement replacement to be called Fuse-In Detroit (later shortened to just Fuse-In, with the tagline "Detroit's Electronic Movement") to be staged Memorial Day Weekend 2005.

Successful negotiations with city officials led to 2005 becoming the first year that an event in Hart Plaza did not have free admission. A total of 41,220 admission passes were sold to Fuse-In visitors. 38,382 daily passes were sold for $10 each, and 2,838 weekend passes, covering the full three days, were sold for $25 each. The City of Detroit collected $1 per pass, and was to have collected 30% of festival profits, but admission pass sales did not recoup the festival's $756,000 budget.

2006 - present: Movement

On February 16, 2006, Kevin Saunderson announced that due to financial losses and lack of sufficient promotion, he would not continue to produce the festival in 2006. As of March 23, the city has chosen Paxahau of Ferndale, MI, a suburban Detroit-based electronic record label and booking agency, to produce the festival under the name "Movement, Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival." According to Paxahau their selection has been supported by Saunderson, May, and Craig. Though none but May's endorsement has been confirmed. Conspicuously, techno creator/originator Juan Atkins has yet to give a statement regarding the festival.

The Festival happened again in 2006 and 2007 and was successful enough that it is already confirmed to occur again in 2008.

2006 Lineup included

  • Photek, UK jungle DJ
  • Nitzer Ebb, British EBM
  • Pascal F.E.O.S., German techno DJ
  • Derrick Carter, Chicago house music DJ/producer
  • Rob Acid, German acid techno producer
  • Ark, minimal techno DJ/producer and first-time visitor to Detroit
  • Josh Wink, techno DJ/producer
  • The Orb, ambient dub producers
  • Greenskeeper, house music band
  • Brian Kage, Detroit techno producer
  • Tortured Soul, house music band
  • Alex Under, Spanish minimal techno artist
  • Mark Broom, British techno DJ/producer
  • Pantytec, German techno act
  • Darkcube/Dan Lucas/T. Linder, Detroit techno artists
  • Planet of the Drums, Dieselboy, DJ Dara, AK1200, MC Messinian, U.S. jungle DJ/MC ensemble
  • Krikor, French minimal techno artist
  • Kruse Kontrol/Joshua Adams, Detroit D&B artist & percussionist
  • Ronin Selecta/Matt Clarke/Teddy MC/MC Flow, Detroit D&B artists
  • Superpitcher, German techno artist/DJ
  • Richie Hawtin, Detroit/Windsor/Berlin techno artist/DJ
  • Collabs: Speedy J/Chris Liebing, European hard techno duo
  • Dandy Jack, Berlin techno artist
  • Eric Cloutier/Drew Maddox, Detroit techno artists
  • Doc Martin, West Coast house music DJ/producer
  • Roy Davis Jr., Chicago acid house DJ/artist
  • Markus Guenter, German ambient/minimal techno artist
  • Klimek, ambient live act
  • Jay Haze, minimal techno artist
  • Socks and Sandals, making their Detroit debut
  • Jared Wilson, Detroit techno & experimental artist/producer
  • Adam Marshall, international techno DJ/producer
  • Daniel Bell, Detroit minimal techno artist/DJ
  • Jeremy Caulfield, Canadian techno DJ/producer
  • Donald Glaude, West Coast DJ/producer
  • Function and Regis, New York hard techno duo
  • Neil Landstrumm, Veteran Techno producer from Scotland
  • Jeremy Ellis, Detroit-native dance producer [Ubiquity]
  • John Arnold, Detroit-native producer + DJ [Ubiquity]
  • SunTzu Sound, DJ's: AC Lewis, J-Justice, Atlee aka IMC Soul from Seattle
  • The Snowman
  • DJ Godfather, Detroit Ghetto Tech DJ and producer
  • Matthew Dear "Audion", Detroit minimal techno artist
  • The Kooky Scientist

2007: Movement

In 2007 the festival took place over a span of three days, May 26-May 28, 2007.

2007 Lineup included

2008: Movement

In 2008 the festival is scheduled to take place over a three day span, May 24-May 26, 2008. Ticket prices this year were set at $40 presale or $55 at the door for a weekend pass, and $175 for a VIP Pass.

The 2008 lineup announced was as follows:

  • Aaron Carl (featuring Veronique & DJ E. Dubb)
  • Alex Smoke
  • Alex Under
  • Alland Byallo
  • Alton Miller
  • Andy Toth
  • Benny Benassi
  • Big Joe Hix
  • Brian Kage & Luke Hess as "Reference"
  • Carl Craig
  • Carlos Souffront
  • Cassy
  • Cobblestone Jazz
  • Darkcube
  • Davide Squillace
  • DBX
  • Deadmau5
  • Deepchord Presents Echospace
  • Derek Plaslaiko
  • Derrick Thompson (aka Drivetrain)
  • Dieselboy (featuring MC Messinian)
  • Drew Pompa
  • Dubfire
  • Ectomorph
  • Egyptian Lover
  • Electrobounce.Com Presents Databass Ghetto Tech
  • Eric Johnston
  • Gabe Real
  • Girl Talk
  • Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts
  • Half Hawaii
  • Hearthrob
  • James Zabiela
  • Jay Spliff
  • Jared Wilson
  • Jerry Abstract
  • John Johr
  • Joris Voorn
  • Josh Dahlberg
  • Josh Wink
  • Justin Kruse (aka Kruse Kontrol)
  • Justin Long
  • Meg Quandt
  • Keith Worthy
  • Kenneth Thomas
  • Kenny Larkin
  • Kevin Saunderson
  • Kill Memory Crash
  • Konrad Black
  • Lawnchair Generals
  • Lee Burridge
  • Magda
  • Marco Corola
  • Mark Farina
  • Mathias Kaden
  • Matthew Hawtin
  • MD! featuring Bombscare
  • Michael Geiger
  • Mike Grant
  • Miles Maeda
  • Minx
  • Moby
  • Mr. De'
  • Mr. Mixx (Tha 808 King)
  • Newcleus
  • Nonspectacle
  • Number 9
  • Oscar Mulero
  • Paco Osuna
  • Par Grindvik
  • Patrick Russell
  • Paul Ritch
  • Peanut Butter Wolf
  • Pete Rock
  • Punisher
  • Reggie "Hotmix" Harrell
  • Rex Sepulveda
  • Richie Hawtin
  • Rich Korach
  • Ronin Selecta
  • Shawn Michaels
  • Soundmurderer
  • Speedy J (featuring Scott Pagano VJ)
  • Stacey Pullen
  • T. Linder
  • Tech Itch
  • Terrence Parker
  • The Cool Kids
  • The Nick Speed Collection
  • Tim Baker
  • Twonz
  • Tycho
  • Yos
  • ZIP


Historically, attendance of events held in Hart Plaza has often been reported as being well in excess of the 14-acre venue's capacity of 40,000 people, even when crowds were counted by police and city officials. The reported attendance estimates for the electronic music festival were as follows:

  • DEMF 2000: 1.1 to 1.5 million *
  • DEMF 2001: 1.7 million *
  • DEMF 2002: 1.7 million *
  • Movement 2003: 630,000
  • Movement 2004: 150,000 **
  • Fuse-In 2005: 44,920 ***
  • Fuse-In 2006: 41,000 ****
  • Movement 2007: 43,337 *****
  • Movement 2008: 75,000 *****

* Based on visual estimates by police and city officials, and conceded by city officials in 2003 to be an overly generous estimate..

** Reported by police on May 30, 2005.

*** 41,220 ticketholders, plus 3,700 DJs, VIPs, and press, reported by The Detroit News and The Detroit Free Press on June 2, 2005.

**** 41,000 tickets, quoted by Kevin Saunderson in Big Shot magazine''

***** Reported by The Detroit Free Press on May 27, 2008.

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