Detroit, the birthplace of techno, is once again gearing up for the beloved Movement Music Festivaltaking place Saturday, May 27 through Monday, May 29. This year, the festivities, organized by event production company Paxahau, come a week before the Detroit Grand Prix makes its return downtown so expect even more foot and car traffic this time around as many lanes along Jefferson and surrounding streets have been transformed into a racing route.
While Detroit music luminaries like Stacey Pullen (night one), Kevin Saunderson and Eddie Fowlkes (night two), and sensations like Skrillex and Three 6 Mafia are bound for the stages of Movement’s official programming, locals and globetrotters alike know that the real magic takes place at the many auxiliary parties taking place throughout the city from dusk until dawn. Among the highlights this year, Northern Lights Lounge is making its long-awaited return this weekend with a series of parties, followed by resuming daily food and bar service, after a three-year hiatus.
In addition to the many official pre and after-parties hosted by Paxahau, many of the city’s restaurants, bars, and cafes are hosting a range of festivities. Here’s a small peek of what’s going on at just a few of the dining and drinking establishments just in time for Movement.
Spkr Box: Josh Greenwood, owner of longtime Capitol Park coffee shop and techno oasis Urban Bean Co., closed his spot during the pandemic to work on its next iteration, Spkr Box is the downtown cafe and bar that pays homage to the techno gods daily with its a small second-level bar and DJ booth, food sourced by Village Hand Pies and Evie’s Tamales, espresso beverages, and boozy coffee cocktails. The action here gets started a little early, with an all-night rotation of DJ sets starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 25 and going through the night and lasting the duration of the long weekend featuring the likes of Craig Gonzalez, John Collins and Hotwaxx, SheefyMcFly, and more. Plus, check out a Saturday brunch with Daddy Riff and Bet with food from chef Jermond Booze from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Be sure to check out Spkr Box’s website for more details on the lineup. 200 E Grand River
Spot Lite: This bar, record shop, and gallery is the East Side’s destination for techno vibes. It offers a regular lineup of musical acts and community gatherings in its wide-open, industrial space. Since the venue launched in 2021, Spot Lite has also taken the reigns in the techno fest activities. This year, it will host several parties, including the pre-Movement edition of the Detroit Beatdown Reunion #2; the debut album release party for artist Diviniti; and much more. Tickets have already sold out (expectedly) for a few of the events, so check on the availability of tickets ahead of time. 2905 Beaufait St #4
The Skip: This open-air bar is great for frozen cocktails, street food vendors, and people-watching. For Movement, the bar and surrounding Belt Alley will be a techno-theme corridor featuring sets from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday featuring John Collins and Eddie Fowlkes with DJ Etta and Mike Clark; Jerk X Jollof with Blakito and Mamicana; and the Do Over from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., immediately followed by Coco & Breezy at nearby Deluxx Fluxx from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. The Belt
Ladder 4 Wine Bar: This Eater Award-winning bar is an oasis for eating and drinking alfresco, thanks to its spacious outdoor patio and backyard. This year, the old firehouse, turned acclaimed destination is hosting its House of Orange outdoor patio party beginning at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 28 featuring a robust variety of orange wines; a backyard live music set by Peter Croce, and a picnic spread by chef John Yelinek. 3396 Vinewood.
Motor City Wine: This Corktown wine bar and bottle shop is already a destination for techno and other musical vibes all year-round, thanks in part to its sprawling outdoor patio, ideal for sipping by the glass and jamming out with friends. The party here gets started on Thursday, May 25 with a full lineup of DJ sets. The Viva La Resistance VII party takes place 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, with food from Raquel’s Cocina. 1949 Michigan Ave.
Takoi: Takoi has always given off futuristic spaceship vibes, along with its creative Northern Thai-influenced food and cocktails, making for quite the backdrop for techno lovers. Friday and Saturday, the folks at Takoi will host a pair of Movement parties, starting with a seven-hour jam session on the patio on Friday broadcasted live on Twitch by Heavy Petting. On Saturday, the spot will host a release party with food and drink for Central Scientific records from 4 p.m. to midnight. 2520 Michigan Ave.
Elephant Room: This bar and restaurant situated next to the iconic St. Andrew’s Hall will host a free, relaxing (or raucous) Ghettotech Brunch with Nick Speedent, Sheefy McFly, and Hazmat Live. Expect brunch staples and drinks from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 439 E Congress St.