When the Detroit Electronic Music Festival started in 2000, it was free.
But in its fifth year, The Movement, as the festival is now called, began charging admission fees that rose to $150 a day and $300 for weekend tickets.
"I remember when it started and it was free," said Detroit-based music producer Raul Rocha, also known as DJ Roach. "People who weren't necessarily listening to this music stumbled," he said, referring to the downtown revelers who stopped in Hart Square, where the Movement takes place. "We got the fans out," he said.
But he said the magic was lost when the Movement's prices rose over the years.
"I wanted to get that feeling back," said Rokha, who works in construction by day. So in 2011 he created his own techno festival, Tec-Troit. More than a decade later, it's still free.
This Friday, the annual Tec-Troit Festival kicks off at the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, 1211 Trumbull St. The lineup includes artists such as Depth Charge, Scan 7, Blake Bakter, Mike Clark, Thomas Barnett, Drivetrain, Gary Romalis and others.
"What you're going to see is a lot of local talent and some of the biggest names in the techno underground resistance," Rocha said. About 10,000 people attend the two-day festival, now in its 11th year, according to Rocha.
Anita Zavala, director of entrepreneurship and wellness for the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC), said she was excited for everyone to come to the festival.
"We're doing this to bring attention to the community and for everyone on our site to promote Detroit artists," he said. "A kind of counter-movement. Since Detroit is the birthplace of techno, we definitely wanted to celebrate that, and it's free and all-ages, so we definitely don't want to overshadow Detroit music."
This is the second year DHDC has hosted the event and Zavala said they hope to continue. The festival also serves as a fundraiser for DHDC to support its programs and promote economic development for all of their vendors, he said.
Rocha said they have been able to keep it free for more than a decade because they have many sponsors, but noted that it is difficult to find corporate sponsors because of the inconsistency in programming. But when sponsors are missing, Roja says she sometimes pays out of pocket.
"It's 100% passion," he said.
"It was amazing and the promotion of music, techno and vinyl was just a hobby," he said. "We don't care about numbers, but we love techno, we like dark and dirty and vinyl."
If you can't make it to the festival this weekend, Rocha is hosting the Jit festival on July 29, also at the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation.