Detroit Mayor Considers Making City a Destination for Racing and Techno

UR submerge meeting Raphael Merriweathers Jr

Amid ongoing discussions about how to revive Detroit’s devastated economy, an interesting talk was held last week at Submerge Records, the imprint run by Detroit techno collective Underground Resistance. The discussion was attended by Mayor Mike Duggan and Motor City DJ luminaries including Theo Parrish and Omar-S.

According to Metrotimes, UR’s co-founder Mike Banks outlined a plan that would bring economic prosperity to Detroit. Drawing a parallel with Berlin, a city that has embraced nightlife, Banks said that Berlin reaps an estimated $900 million annually from providing a nurturing environment for musicians and clubs. It’s given rise to the notion of Detroit embracing its most beloved exports: music and cars.

The idea on the table is to launch a legitimate drag race operation near the city airport, which hasn’t offered regular commercial flights in more than a decade and has been losing the city money for years, to create jobs. In tandem with opening the race track, the North End neighborhood, which is home to Submerge, would become a haven for DJs, artists, labels and clubs.

UR label manager Cornelius Harris said, “Around the world, when you ask people about Detroit … what they say is cars and music. Electronic music is a $6.5 billion industry globally. It was created here. The question is, of course, how much of that money makes its way back into the city? And the answer is very little.”

Harris added that the music community is looking for goodwill from the city government that he believes will pay off in dividends.

“We can get the people here, we can do all that,” said Harris. “We don’t need help from the city for that, we’re just looking for an environment that’s amenable for that kind of thing happening.”

Image by Raphael Merriweathers Jr

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