The 2010 Movement festival has come and gone. For most of us, it was a whirlwind of a weekend. I am still recovering from the two days I went downtown to partake. There were highs (Martinez Brothers (thanks K!) and Kraak & Smaak) and there were lows (Hudson Mohawke’s no-show and not being able to see Plastikman). All in all, it was a solid job by the event production crew that is Paxahau. I tip my hat to them.
As some of you may have read my open letter to Paxahau, you may find the last sentence a bit interesting. Since posting the letter, I have had some compelling discussions and received a lot of constructive feedback from many in Detroit’s electronic community at home and abroad. It has always been my position that Paxahau is the preeminent leader in the community from whence they emerged. With that leadership, I feel they have a certain responsibility to its community. As an admitted outsider, it would seem that Paxahau has not been very active as community leaders, but after talking to some insiders, I am of the understanding that they do plenty. Problem is, it is not helping them if only a few people are aware of their positive work beyond the festival.
I have some ideas on how they can patch this hole. Imagine, if you will, as if I were responsible for handling Paxahau’s communication efforts. For the moment, consider me the Chief Communications Officer, CCO or Director of Communications at Paxahau. My initiatives as CCO are going to address the following issues:
Misinformed / misdirected troll fire
Lack of genuine local community support
An under-educated community on the Paxahau brand
By acknowledging these issues, as CCO, it is clear that we need to take control of the Paxahau brand message, as well as build up stronger organic word-of-mouth for future Paxahau events.
Before I lay out my tactics, check out this video:
After much thought and a little prodding from fellow Detroiters that seem to know members of your collective, I have decided to write this open letter to you. At the time of penning this, the festival is less than two weeks away now. In researching things leading up to the festival, I recently found that your site was down for over two days, which is a bit disappointing coming from an organization that appreciates electronic-based content. Granted, I know we are talking about music and not the web, but one would think they would go hand-in-hand. Not to mention, the fact that the user experience of your website is a bit off-putting is also fairly disconcerting.
A quick introduction, I am not what you may consider a diehard electronic music fan. I appreciate all forms of music, but my formative teenage years were spent listening to Wu Tang, De La Soul and Boot Camp Clik. I grew up listening to The Electrifying Mojo, but it was in my college years that I began to pay more attention to electronic-based music. This letter is not about me though. It is more about what is being observed and the things I have gathered when talking to people that have been behind the scenes.
In the past, I have heard people make mention that your organization is cheap. I have grown to look at it as jealousy, because the sources never seemed to be doing anything comparable to give reason for me to really give creedence to their put-downs. That was until I had a friend who was hired to do some work with you guys in which I got a taste of what your leadership was like. Unfortunately, myopic was the takeaway word that came to mind when I was exposed to the potential squandered.
Let it be known that I respect the level of organization that you guys have inserted into the historically-dysfunctional festival. I admit I balked when we had to pay for tickets to enter a once-free festival, but that was when I was young and dumb. As a less-dumb but still young business owner, I understand your need to produce an event that can actually generate revenue. I could not be more in your corner in that regard; naysayers – whether in the streets or on the DetroitLuv forums – need to find another bridge to troll under.
That said, there is a big opportunity that you have been letting slip away from any major success for the Movement festival. The one thing our poor city of Detroit is terribly lacking is its sense of community. Electronic music has been our claim-to-fame forever, but we have yet to really own it like we should as a community. The Movement Festival should be our opportunity to do it, but it should not end there. Paxahau officially posts information on the aforementioned DetroitLuv forums. Why not provide more incentives for the community to support you? I guarantee the number of trolls will go down when the stories of your giving back, or however it is phrased, in your way to keep the community flourishing. Whether you care about that is another conversation altogether though.