Thousands of music fans flocked to Saturday’s opening of an electronic music festival that organizers expect will draw more than 1 million fans over Memorial Day weekend.
Movement 2003, a renamed, muscled-up version of the Detroit Electronic Music Festival started three years ago, will feature more than 80 performances by about 70 artists, including techno pioneer Kevin Saunderson. Saunderson, Juan Atkins and Derrick May are generally credited with creating the sound when they were schoolmates at a Detroit junior high school.
“This is like a pilgrimage to the birthplace of techno,” said festival spokeswoman Barbara Deyo.
Derek Bolzman, 19, came from Saginaw, Mich., at the urging of friends who had attended the festival other years.
“It’s pretty freakin’ big,” he said. “I thought it’d be in a building or something.”
The festival is billed by organizers as the biggest free music event in North America.
Martin Bonds, 35, of Detroit, has performed at the festival before but came this year to enjoy the music he has loved since he was young.
“For us older guys, it’s mostly about the music,” he said. “When I was a kid, it could have been in a hole in the wall -- as long as it had a banging system, it would draw a huge crowd.”
The festival’s future was in jeopardy earlier this year, when the city announced it would no longer provide a subsidy and organizers had trouble lining up private sponsors.
May got many of the performers to appear for free or for a fraction of what they might usually get. He also covered some costs with $90,000 of his own.