For the previous two years, the Mo Pop Music Festival made its home in the suburban oasis of Sterling Heights north of Detroit. The bands were relatively smaller name bands and the scene of attendees on hand was a mixed bag of the young and old. This year though, everything is different, and the Mo Pop Festival, which takes place in downtown Detroit this weekend, is sure to be the spark that ignites a new youth and art music movement in the city of Detroit.
Now, there's certainly nothing wrong with how the Mo Pop Festival was doing it before out in the suburbs. After all, the festival itself is only two years old and it can take a number of years for any annual music gathering to really gain its footing and build its identity. For Mo Pop, organizers seem happy with the drastic new direction the year of 2015 will provide them and are now billing the event as a "free-spirited boutique fest."
“It’s a celebration of artistic ingenuity,” says co-producer Dan McGowan. “Whether musical or fine art, whether food or technology, that ingenuity belongs in the city of Detroit. That’s what Detroit and metro Detroit are about: human ingenuity.”
First off, this year's festival will take place in West Riverfront Park, the brand new, highly-sought after new venue located in downtown Detroit. It's got everything a young, hip crowd could want: Outdoor scenery? Check. Downtown setting? Check. Waterfront vibe for great selfies? Check. The park has already been host to the wild antics of the Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band show, which is notorious for its hard partying, as well as host to the Downtown Hoedown, one of Detroit's biggest country music bonanzas happening each year. So why not move Mo Pop to where the talent is headed?
Secondly, organizers extended the festival to a two-day event starting this year. Previously, Mo Pop was a one-shot thing, but now, the festival happens over the course of two days, allowing for it to turn into more of an actual "event" for young people; something to travel to and make a weekend out of. Think about the other great youth-oriented popular music festivals such as Lollapalooza, Electric Forest, and Pitchfork, and you'll know what we mean here. Another plus with stretching the Mo pop Festival out will be the addition of many local vendors to the venue scene, including not just Detroit favorites of food, drinks, and food trucks, but also local crafts and art pieces for sale, too. Much like the Dally in the Alley Festival each year that takes place in Midtown Detroit, along the Cass Corridor, Mo pop is taking a page out of the "locally-sourced party" playbook.
The whole shebang starts this Saturday, July 25, at noon and continues at noon the following day, July 26. Unlike previous years, there will now be two stages with different acts happening on each, though headliners will take turns, not playing over one another. And perhaps there lies one of the biggest changes in the Mo pop itself: The lineup. This year, it's a full on hipster/dance/young/indie rock lineup that looks to rival many of those similarly-themed festivals from around the globe, including the granddaddy of 'em all in Chicago - Lollapalooza. How will they do that? With big art rock names like Modest Mouse, Passion Pit, Iron & Wine w/ Ben Bridwell, Brandon Flowers, and Chromeo, just to name a few.
It could be a few more years before organizers see if they have anything "lolla-worthy" on their hands... but time will definitely tell.
For more information on Modest Mouse, please click here.