New Team Leads Tech Music Fest
By Wendy Case / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- This year's Detroit Electronic Music Festival will be produced by techno pioneer Derrick May and a team he has assembled. The group was competing for the contract with Detroit's Pop Culture Media, which has produced the festival since its inception in 2000.
"We believe that this group has been the driving force behind techno music here and around the world," said Jamaine Dickens, spokesman for Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. "It only makes sense."
May could not be reached for comment. His team includes fellow pioneering techno deejay Kevin Saunderson and the festival's original artistic director, Carl Craig. An influential Detroit deejay, Craig was fired by Pop Culture Media in the midst of the second festival, causing controversy in the techno community.
For the first time, the city will not contribute financially to the free Memorial Day weekend event, which officials say has been losing money annually. Previously, festival organizers operated with a $1.8 million budget. "In these financial times that (Detroit) has been experiencing, we decided not to do that," Dickens said. Instead the city will provide Hart Plaza, the festival venue, and police and cleanup services.
The contract with May's team will be for the 2003 festival only and will be reviewed after the festival. The mayor is expected to formally announce the festival's new producer at today's opening ceremony for the Detroit Historical Museum's techno music exhibit.