Mo Pop Festival plots new Detroit location for 2020

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BRIDGET EKIS
  • Bridget Ekis

Detroit's Mo Pop Festival is saying goodbye to West Riverfront Park in 2020.

This weekend, an estimated 33,000 festival-goers descended upon what has been Mo Pop's stomping grounds since 2015, to take in performances by Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, and Detroit's own Lizzo. The boutique indie festival, which spent two years at Sterling Heights' Michigan Lottery Amphitheater at Freedom Hill, has been a hallmark event for the five-year-old, 22-acre West Riverfront Park.

So, why the move? A $55 million overhaul of the park will be underway starting next year, and it will get a new name: Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park. Set to reopen in 2022, the addition of structural features and park amenities will eliminate the open field once occupied by the sprawling annual festival, but it will still be used to accommodate smaller events. 

Jason Rogalewski, AEG Presents' regional vice president, told The Detroit Free Press that they've honed in on a new spot which has not yet been made public, one Rogalewski hopes to secure in the coming weeks along with the roster of performers for next year's event.



“It accomplishes our goals — to stay downtown and stay on the river,” he said.

Rogalewski adds that they've been working alongside the City of Detroit and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy to ensure that the event remains in the city without compromising Mo Pop's “core features.” AEG ensures that Mo Pop's proposed new site will still allow for the two-day festival to host the same amount of performers across two stages, with non-overlapping set times. However, unlike West Riverfront Park, the new festival space does not offer any onsite parking which, according to Rogalewski, isn't a major concern considering the growing dependence on rideshare services or offsite parking solutions. 

“Pretty much everything will be the same,” Rogalewski said of Mo Pop. 

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