By this point, you’ve likely heard about the three electronic music festivals coming to Detroit in mid 2014. Movement – the successor in name to the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, or simply DEMF – returns from May 24 to 26, while DEMF has been resurrected as a free event. A third event, the Federation of Electronic Music Technology (FEMT), will go on the same time at DEMF, albeit with a cost and in another part of town.
Promotion for the new DEMF just started. What’s noteworthy is, Carol Marvin, one of DEMF’s original promoters who departed in 2002, has been doing the legwork to revive this electronic music institution. However, in the press event announcing the new DEMF, she claimed, “We’ll never use the term ‘EDM.'”
There’s a couple of ways to look at this statement. One, EDM no longer fully stands for “electronic dance music”; rather, it’s this weird umbrella-but-not-really term that covers progressive house, brostep, and anything that tops the charts in North America. Two, it’s turned into a marketing buzzword that’s interchangeable with the whole spectacle over substance approach that pervades almost every festival from Electric Daisy to Electric Zoo. Three, the underground and instrumental sides of electronic music have distanced themselves from this acronym, which now embodies everything commercial about dance and synthesizers.
But, on the flipside of this, Marvin’s tone verges on holier-than-thou, as if to say, “We’re the real electronic music, and the rest of you are a bunch of commercial cheese.” We’ve touched on why EDM is and isn’t the best term for describing all of electronic music, but Marvin’s assertion either represents a pushback or full-on hypocrisy.
DEMF’s Full of It
If you take a jaunt over to the DEMF website, you’ll find the event has five stages for roughly 100 performers, including those from overseas. While there’s predictably a Detroit techno stage, International and Main stages apparently feature the top DJs from more than 20 countries. The DEMF World Club and DJ Ambassador Program featured looks to be a “veritable Olympics of electronic music, a United Nations of Techno.”
As has been the case with Movement, Detroit techno veteran Juan Atkins curates the lineup.
Most of this wouldn’t seem significant, except Billboard shed light on the process behind the 2012 Movement lineup – a time when David Guetta asked if he could be included and was rejected.
“We feel a responsibility to utilize this festival as a chance to maintain a sense of history and heritage about the music itself,” said James Canning, media director for Movement promoters Paxahau, in a statement at the time. “We think