Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's May!

I am getting so excited about this year's Movement Festival in Detroit. It's Detroit's electronic music festival. It's been going on for 11 years now. It has a long fascinating history in Detroit. I went to the second one in 2001, it was free. Inner City and Saul Williams were highlights for me. De La Soul were there too, and would have been a highlight had they not done a MEDLY. A medly. Really?

Anyway, I didn't go again until 2007, and since then, it's become an annual thing for James and me to love doing! I've written about the festival quite a lot, just look at my May archives. The afterparties are so great too. I was trying to just stay in on the Friday night before the festival begins, you know, for sleep! But then last night I saw that Omar S is doing the Beretta Music party at 10 Critics on Friday night. I inhaled sharply with excitement and told James slyly that we might not be staying in after all. There are too many damn parties for me to promote here, so just look at the DLuv for pointers.

And yes, I did post the down with the underground thing to Paxahau. And I stand by that - I refused to miss the artists that I wanted to hear last year even though they were in that concrete tank and the sound was mostly terrible. But I don't want to have to go down there to hear mostly local artists who I am excited about anyway. The Made In Detroit stage is in the underground space again this year. Last years set-up was the worst yet. The gigantic stage was hoisted way up high surrounded by huge bass bins with little attention to the mid and high range sounds. Not only is the sound bad down there regardless of set-up, but Paxahau is continuing to put primarily local, Black artists down there to play. The guys who run Paxahau are not new, they are not confused, they are not slow on the uptake. They know what they are doing and while I don't know everyone's background, most of them have spent a great deal of time in Detroit. Jason Huvaere even lived in Detroit for a few years. I'm sure that collectively, they know every single Detroiter who has ever spun a record or ever released any kind of electronic music. So the fact that they repeatedly fail in the sound quality department at the underground stage, while sound at the other stages gets better every year, confuses me. Additionally, the fact that they put local, mainly Black artists down there, also confuses me. I don't think Paxahua sits down and says, yeah, let's put those Black folks down there because they don't deserve as much respect. But when you step back and take a look at the layout and set-up, the Black, local musicians are getting the shaft. I think a lot of white people like to think that racism no longer exists. That we are now past all that. And particularly with electronic music, many like to think that because the music as a culture sounds and looks so diverse and universal that any kind of oppression based on race and ethnicity is impossible. Clearly the dialog in the comments section of Tom Cox's post at Infinite State Machine will attest to that. But in reality, that is just not true, not anywhere, and certainly not in Detroit. No one is saying down with whitey, but how about we bring the Black people upstairs, K?

It is seriously disturbing that this keeps happening at such a successful and important event. I love this festival. I love the music I get to hear, the people I get to meet, and the people I get to see that I haven't seen since the last festival. I love the new artists that I learn about at each festival. I will keep going, I just want this to change.

1 comment:

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