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Detroit's 'Movement' Fest Draws Big Crowds, Looks Ahead
On the eve of this year's Movement, Paxahau Event Productions announced that electronic artist and producer Carl Craig, who co-founded the international event as the Detroit Electronic Music Festival in 2000, would return to the post of creative director for next year's event. Craig's controversial dismissal by former promoter Pop Culture Media in 2001 led to a breach of contract lawsuit, but he told Billboard.com that he's happy to be returning to an active role in the festival's planning.
"I've been working with Paxahau for a number of years and we've always had a good relationship," Craig said shortly after his 80-minute Movement 2009 set -- and just before he was presented with three 40th birthday cakes shaped like turntables and a mixing deck. "I didn't have any desire to be part of any festival in that capacity, but in this case it made sense. It was a no-brainer."
Paxahau owner Jason Huvaere said that Craig's active participation will "tie the festival back to its roots since...he's the one that was responsible for this whole thing to begin with. To put him back in the position of his original title and truly contribute to the event is a very humbling professional opportunity." But Craig was modest about his potential impact.
"The Movement guys are doing a great festival now," he said. "I just want to think big...and help take it to the next level."
Movement 2009 had all the appearances of success as Craig's fellow Detroit techno icons Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May spun it to a close with Memorial Day night sets. Though final attendance figures won't be tallied until later in the week, Huvaere estimated that this year's sunshine-soaked affair drew 60,000 on Saturday and Sunday, putting it on track to better last year's turnout of 80,000.
The festival festivities actually started Friday night with an opening party headlined by the Prodigy, who's 80-minute set highlighted the British trio's latest album, "Invader's Must Die" as well as older material such as the breakthrough hit "Firestarter." But the real party was held on the four stages at Hart Plaza on the Detroit Riverfront with highlights among the 70-plus acts that included marathon DJ workouts by Carol Cox and Loco Dice vs. Lucianao and spirited live sets by the Glitch Mob and Los Hermanos.
Berlin's Steve Bug mixed heavy-footed club beats with ambient interludes, while Montreal artist/remixer Tiga -- though disconcerted by sound leaking from Craig's set on the Movement main stage -- kept dancers hopping to a fast-paced, technique-flaunting electro-flavored blend. Z-Trip lit up Saturday night, first by jamming with RJD2 then following with Detroit-saluting mash-up set that started with rapper T-Baby's "It's So Cold in the D" and also incorporated songs by Green Day, AC/DC, Guns 'N Roses, Plastikman, Daft Punk, Run-DMC, Lil Wayne, Led Zeppelin, Survivor, James Brown, Afrika Bambaataa and others. Bambaataa, meanwhile, rocked Movement on Sunday with a white-attired step crew and a sonic attack that rolled through Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It," MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This," AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" and many more.