Detroit represents the rise and fall of the American Dream. There were times when citizens could not rely on an ambulance or police to arrive, but they could rely on their neighbors and friends. In my experience, people step up and speak up in Detroit. Party communities have developed self-regulatory environments that rely on communal accountability over bouncers and security. 

While manufacturing may have fallen short of the big dreams for Detroit, music has never failed this city. It is the birthplace of Motown and Techno, two influential musical genres that have maintained Detroit’s status as an iconic music city. As city regulations and oversight increases, venue owners are currently seeking to organize and advocate for policies and zoning that will allow the nightlife economy to flourish from its musical heritage.

Tourism from the annual Movement festival (formerly Detroit Electronic Music Festival / DEMF) attracts tens of thousands of international music lovers over Memorial Day weekend to Detroit each year, boosting income for restaurants, hotels and ride services. Once the festival ends in Hart Plaza around midnight each night, after hours events extend to venues across the city until dawn and beyond, distributing the financial impact of this event beyond the festival itself while building loyal attendees of the local venues. 

The abundance of vacant buildings and low-cost real estate have historically created access for artists and producers to reclaim space and build community gathering places. In recent decades, gentrification has begun to transform the city, offering the benefit of repair and revitalization to the city center, but sacrificing the local identity in favor or corporate franchises. A majority of the real estate has been bought up by a few big players, raising concern about how the city will evolve while maintaining its resilient, creative soul. 

Featured interviews include one of the most massive, immersive parties in the world that you’ve likely never heard about – Theatre Bizarre; the self-made artistic empire and stunning love story of the creators of Armageddon Beach Party; and the community-centered nightclub that has helped build and unify the local arts and Burner scene since 2000, the infamous Tangent Gallery and Hastings St. Ballroom.