While we await final confirmation on the lineups for upcoming music festivals such as the first annual Trip Metal fest and Mo Pop, this last week saw the release of the first wave of confirmed acts for both the Hamtramck Music Festival and the explosive downtown dance festival known as Movement. What's interesting is that both lineups demonstrate a refinement of the respective events, and in really different ways.
Hamtramck Music Festival runs March 3 to March 6, and it's composed entirely of area acts. The festival started in the absence of our own Blowout Festival, of course, which also used to just be in Hamtramck and which itself began as a way to celebrate Detroit's varied and vibrant local music scene. Hamtramck Music Fest was very smart to fill that void, with a festival that also serves a great cause. All proceeds go to Ben's Encore, a nonprofit that provides instruments, music lessons, and scholarships to inspired young musicians and underserved school music programs.
There are no hard feelings about that origin, and without a doubt this might be the best-run and most affordable music fest the Detroit area has to offer. A committee of local music experts oversees the thing. And the three-day event is smartly contained to the City of Friendship, Hamtramck. There are great showcases each night, and daytime all-ages shows and other events. For venue and show information see hamtramckmusicfestival.com, but some of the acts booked include Duane the Brand New Dog, Caveman Woodman & Bam Bam, Feelings, Theresa Chavez, Moonwalks, the Hentchmen, Best Exes, A Love That Forgives, Danny and the Darleans, Sex Police, Ryan Dillaha, Cosmic Light Shapes, Emma Islands, Detroit Party Marching Band, and the Kickstand Band.
And then we come to Movement, which celebrates its 10th year this Memorial Day weekend under the direction of the Paxahau team. Kraftwerk is the big headliner announced thus far, reprising their phenomenal sold-out 3-D extravaganza from late last year at the Masonic. This looks to us to be a far more focused and fun selection than the slightly head-scratching lineup from last year (yes, we mean Skrillex and Snoop).
You've got a great selection of new and classic local artists (Juan Atkins, Mike Huckaby, Will Sessions featuring Amp Fiddler, Carl Craig, Stacey Pullen, Get Real, Kevin Saunderson) and vaguely left-field, international electronic artists who cross over with indie-rock tastes (Caribou, Ellen Allien, Four Tet). And then there are your super classic techno crowd-pleasing party-starters (Richie Hawtin, John Digweed) whose sets you'll have to show up for early in order to get room to move, plus artists that both the heads and neophytes will flip over (Honey Soundsystem, Anja Schneider, Shaun Reeves). This really is an incredible lineup.
Hamtramck Music Fest 2016 takes place March 3-6 in venues all over Hamtramck; advance tickets are $10 for the entire weekend.
Movement runs May 28-30 at Hart Plaza, Detroit; Three-day general admission weekend passes and their pricier VIP counterparts are now available, starting at $135, at movement.us. Payment plans are also available.