Dance

12 Memorial Day Weekend Dance Events To Get You Grooving, Online & IRL

Movement Festival 2019
Doug Wojciechowski

Movement Festival 2019

Festival season is back, even if it looks a little different.

After spending last year’s Memorial Day Weekend -- a time usually filled with friends, fun and music festivals -- instead alone at home while wiping down your groceries and doom-scrolling on social media, this year live events are slowly popping back up, like flowers after a long frost. Though we’ll have to wait just a while longer to congregate en masse at the Polo Fields for Coachella or in the desert for EDC Las Vegas, this weekend in particular demonstrates that festival season is coming back, even if it looks a little different due to various COVID-related policies. 

During the pandemic, artists and event brands used the Internet to their advantage by hosting livestreams, from bare-bones solo shows to entire festivals with elaborate production, and in doing so reached significantly more people than they could fit in a nightclub. Even as events return, livestreaming seems to be a tool that will continue to thrive and evolve.

Regardless, the people want to dance, and this weekend offers many opportunities -- both online and in-person -- to do so. Here are a dozen hot options. 

Micro Movement
Date: May 28–31
Location: Multiple venues (Detroit, Mich.) + Paxahau’s Twitch
Must-sees: Kevin Saunderson, DJ Minx, Waajeed
Across nearly two decades and multiple iterations, Paxahau’s Movement festival in Detroit has been the Memorial Day Weekend festival destination for electronic music fans who like techno, a product as Detroitian as Motown and the automotive industry. Though Hart Plaza was empty last MDW, Paxahau brought Movement to us via a virtual festival and a still-ongoing series of livestreamed DJ sets.

This year, Micro Movement, as it’s called, is something of a hybrid event, taking place both IRL and URL. Locals can watch artists like Kevin Saunderson, DJ Minx, Waajeed, Kyle Hall, Stefan Ringer and more in the flesh at three venues (Detroit's TV Lounge, Alley Deck at the Magic Stick and Spot Lite) over the weekend, while the rest of us can livestream the action on Twitch. It’s a lineup packed with homegrown artists who continue to cement the city’s musical legacy.

Skyline
Date: May 28–29
Location: Lot 54 at the Vanguard - Orlando, Fla.
Must-sees: The Martinez Brothers, Nicole Moudaber, Qrion
In 2018, Insomniac’s Factory 93 brand helped revitalize Los Angeles’ then-dormant dance festival scene with the Secret Project festival, which stood out among its peers with its underground-focused lineup. This weekend, Factory 93 is heading cross-country to Orlando for the first-ever Skyline festival.

The two-day, two-stage event under the Florida sunshine might be the closest you can get to Ibiza on this side of the Atlantic, whether you’re keen to get melodic with Blond:ish, groove to The Martinez Brothers’ rough-and-tumble tech house, techno into oblivion with Nicole Moudaber or get weird to DJ Tennis. Plus, you can catch rising stars Qrion, Spencer Brown and Lucati.

SiriusXM presents Dance Again
Date: May 28–30
Location: SiriusXM
Must-sees: Diplo, Sofi Tukker, Armin van Buuren and more
Why go to a music festival when the music festival can come to you? SiriusXM satellite radio is hosting its first-ever Dance Again virtual festival, which will broadcast more than 100 artist performances across four dance channels (BPM, Chill, Diplo’s Revolution and Utopia) over three days. From house pioneer Marshall Jefferson and Jersey club icon DJ Sliink, to EDM titans David Guetta and Steve Aoki, to electronica up-and-comers TSHA and Lastlings, there’s something for everyone—and if your something includes whatever Diplo’s doing, he’ll be performing three different sets over the weekend. Dance Again offers the diversity and volume of a multi-stage festival without the hassle of sprinting across the grounds from set to set. 

Sunset Music Festival
Date: May 29–30
Location: Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Fl.
Must-sees: Rezz, Green Velvet, Softest Hard
Home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, three Super Bowls and the most recent Wrestlemania, Raymond James Stadium will host a different feat of athletic endurance as festival-goers attempt two days of dancing after a year-plus off. Sunset Music Festival is bringing enough bone-rattling low-end to make up for last year’s absence courtesy of Rezz, 12th Planet, Lucii, Kompany, Party Favor and more; plus house vets Green Velvet, Shiba San and Doc Martin. Of course, if you’d rather wade back into live events instead of cannonball off the high-dive, promoter Disco Donnie Presents is also throwing solo shows with Seven Lions and Slander that same weekend.

DGTL LIB 2
Date: May 29–30
Location: LIB Festival’s Twitch
Must-sees: Moby, Seth Troxler, Aluna
The Do Lab’s Lightning in a Bottle festival has been a staple of Southern California’s festival community, as well as an oft-pointed-to example of sustainable raving. Though 2021 marks yet another year without partying lakeside under the stars, LIB is going virtual with DGTL LIB 2, a 24-hour Twitch livestream complete with a pre-party (taking place on May 28), opening and closing ceremonies, workshops and of course, great music.

Imagine it: perfecting your downward dog at Vinyasa yoga -- think of it as a warmup for all the dancing you’ll be doing -- and learning how to make sorbet, followed by grooving out to Purple Disco Machine, Seth Troxler’s trippy tech and getting bass-blasted by Holly, all in the same day. Count us in.

SerotonINN Sound Series
Date: May 28–30
Location: DoubleTree by Hilton Denver Tech Center - Greenwood Village, Colo.
Must-sees: Destructo, GG Magree & Mija
Hate the frenzy of traveling from the hotel to the festival grounds and wondering if you forgot something that you're definitely going to need back on the dresser? SerotonINN Sound Series is the place for you. The Colorado event, which has newly expanded to three days, will take over an entire hotel with their “vertical concert experience,” in which attendees can watch DJs including Christian Martin and Minnesota b2b Buku with a front-row view from their private balconies. SerotonINN will also host daytime pool parties and afterhours silent discos, the latter letting you literally fall into bed after a long night of dancing. Convenience never sounded so good.

No Way Back: Streaming From Beyond
Date: May 29
Location: The Bunker New York’s website
Must-sees: Eris Drew, Mike Servito, Suzanne Ciani
While Movement festival is Detroit’s main attraction during Memorial Day Weekend, the city’s full slate of afterparties and sideshows were just as much reason to splurge on a plane ticket. One popular afterparty was No Way Back, hosted by Interdimensional Transmissions label founders Erika and BMG.

This year, they’ve teamed up with NYC promoter The Bunker to create a 36+ hour livestream event celebrating the underground through a combination of DJ and live sets from Erika, Eris Drew, Carlos Souffront, Mike Servito and more. Also included: electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani, who will perform on her Buchla synthesizer in ambisonic sound in No Way Back’s Outer Space Room, the event’s “ambient and experimental freeform continuum.”

Where Are My Keys - Miami
Date: May 30
Location: 94th Aero Squadron - Miami, Fla.
Must-sees: DJ Harvey, Moodymann, Soul Clap
Where Are My Keys’ Miami showdown is for people who like to party, and who might also like not reflecting on said party the morning after. This event is less of a party and more of a 17-hour marathon, going from sunset to sunrise.

Attendees who need a breather can watch planes take off from and land at the Miami International Airport next door. It’s an unconventional setting matched perfectly by unconventional artists and consummate vibe-builders DJ Harvey, Soul Clap and Moodymann, who’s not afraid to bust out some Kings of Leon just to mess with you.

Get Funky
Date: May 28–29
Location: The Great Saltair Amphitheater - Magna, Utah
Must-sees: Chris Lake, Tchami, Vnssa
If you like your house music with serious heft (and by heft, we mean bass), then Get Funky is the MDW event for you. Hosted by V2, the promoter behind Utah dance events Decadence, Das Energi and Get Freaky, the two-day festival is bringing out some heavy-hitters like Chris Lake, Tchami, Destructo, Vnssa and more. Get Funky will take place at The Great Saltair Amphitheater, which looks like a palace sitting on the edge of a lake, and which was once advertised as having the largest dance floor in the world in the late 1800s.

Dreamstate Las Vegas
Date: May 28
Location: Downtown Las Vegas Events Center - Las Vegas, Nev.
Must-sees: Paul Oakenfold, Gabriel & Dresden, Gareth Emery
Trance fans, this one’s for you. After hosting multiple Park N Raves in Southern California, Insomniac’s dedicated trance events brand Dreamstate is traveling to Las Vegas with an all-star cast including Paul Oakenfold, Gareth Emery, Jerome Isma-Ae and Cosmic Gate. After a year apart from their IRL #TranceFam community, emotions will already be running high -- add some soaring, uplifting tunes to the mix and you’ll be pressed to find a dry eye in the venue.

Drenched Rooftop 
Date: May 30
Location: W Hollywood - Los Angeles, Calif.
Must-sees: Colette, Dink!
Longstanding L.A. promoter Incognito throws a mean warehouse party, but even warehouse dwellers -- especially warehouse dwellers -- could use some sunshine. Earlier this month, Incognito and fellow promoter Nightbreed revived their Drenched pool party series, this time at their new home on the rooftop of the W Hollywood.

This Memorial Day Weekend, you can show off your cute swim gear, lay back and keep cool while taking in the equally cool house stylings of Colette, who’s joined by Desert Hearts’ Dink! as well as locals Jeniluv, Sonns and Mesmé. The card is small but solid -- watching the sunset from 12 stories up is a bonus.

Juke Bounce Werk
Date: May 31
Location: Elsewhere - Brooklyn, N.Y. + Elsewhere’s Twitch
Must-sees: Kush Jones, DJ Swisha, Elise
It’s the end of the extended holiday weekend, and while you’re still buzzing from the adrenaline of finally seeing live music again, part of you also kind of wants to take it easy. What to do? If you’re in Brooklyn, your next move might involve Elsewhere. The Bushwick venue reopened its rooftop space last month and has been hosting seated, socially distanced DJ sets.

On May 31, L.A. footwork collective Juke Bounce Werk is taking over the decks with three of its Brooklyn-based artists, Kush Jones, DJ Swisha and Elise. Even if you're physically tired to move, these DJs’ frenetic rhythms will keep your ears and brain perked like they just chugged some cold brew.