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Good Weather Brings Good Crowds To Movement Festival

Of the Oakland Press

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DETROIT -- The smiles at this year's Movement 2009 electronic music festival were as bright as the sunshine that soaked Detroit's Hart Plaza all weekend long.

And that was enough for Jason Huvaere, whose Paxahau Event Productions has produced and promoted the festival since 2007, to consider this year's event a success.

"We've seen an increase in attendance, everybody is in a really good mood, the energy's been really great," Huvaere said on Monday, during the last of Movement's three days. "The last thing we can't control -- the weather. But that's been great, too."

A final festival attendance won't be calculated until later in the week, but Huvaere said an estimated 60,000 fans attended the first two days, putting Movement on track to beat last year's tally of about 80,000. "It's not a giant leap, but it's going in the right direction. With the economy, we didn't know if there'd be a dip in attendance. But the fact is it's the other way, so it's a really good sign people really care about (Movement)."

Those who trekked to Hart Plaza danced to more than 70 acts on four stages, ranging from international visitors such as Carl Cox, Tiga, Francois K and Anthony Rother to Detroit techno icons Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May and Carl Craig. Only one DJ, Benga, stiffed the festival owing to a missed plane flight, but his absence wasn't noticed as Z-Trip rocked Saturday night's crowd with a mash-up of familiar songs and hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa did the same on Sunday.

Justin Stewart, 24, of Flint, was attending his first festival and lamented that "I'm sad I've missed out the last few years. I didn't realize how much fun it was -- good people, good music..."

"And good costumes!" added his friend, Megan Harris, 24, of Flint, who was a among the colorfully attired attendees with an outfit made from her high school prom dress along with yarn hair, plastic butterfly-style glasses and body paint. "I like to have fun and dress up, and this way I can use the dress more than one night."

Harris had attended several of the early electronic festivals but none since Paxahau began made it the only ticketed event at Hart Plaza. "It's still worth it," she said.

Paxahau is already looking towards 2010, when the festival celebrates its 10th anniversary. Craig, who was the original creative director, is returning in that capacity, which Huvaere says will "tie the festival back to its roots, since he started all of this."

"I just want to do great things for Detroit," Craig said on Monday, after his own Movement set -- and before he was presented with three 40th birthday cakes (it was Friday) shaped like turntables and a mixing deck. "The Movement guys are doing a great festival now. I just want to think big and help take it to the next level."

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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