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Mo Pop Festival returns to Detroit's West Riverfront: What you need to know

2019 event kicks off July 27

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Detroit's Mo Pop music festival returns to the West Riverfront this weekend. Here's everything you need to know.

History behind the festival

In 2013, Mo Pop music festival drew a crowd just shy of 8,000 at Sterling Heights’ Freedom Hill Amphitheater for one day only. With a staggering lineup, attendees sang along to indie-pop staples like Young the Giant and Tokyo Police Club or mystically swayed to folk singer-songwriters like Dallas Green of City and Colour and “Sisyphus” singer Andrew Bird. Yet, with the lack of “glamour” and dynamics that iconic music festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork and Lollapalooza provide, Detroit’s first attempt at a big-ticket music festival seemed to slightly miss the mark. 

Seven years later, Mo Pop has grown into an eclectic two-day spectacle, full of budding artists, local acts and seasoned performers alike, offering a mixed cocktail of sounds ranging from pop-punk, neo soul and rap; to psychedelic rock, indie pop and everything else in between. With a vegan-friendly food truck alley snaking across the edge of the riverfront, an air-conditioned arcade full of classic games, a display tent with over a dozen local Detroit artists and finally, more beer and drink options available than conceivable: Mo Pop 2019 will be anything but ordinary.

When and where is Mo Pop?

On Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28, West Riverfront Park will hold over 30,000 attendees eager to dance (rain or shine) to their favorite artists.

When does Mo Pop start?

Doors will open at 1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, with music beginning at 1:30 p.m. and running until about 11:30 p.m.

Can I still buy tickets?

Mo Pop is currently selling weekend passes on their website for $149.50 (plus handling fees). Individual tickets for both Saturday and Sunday are $95 even, plus handling fees. If you’re going with a group, check out the 4-pack weekend pass option for $549, saving you and your friends a few bucks off the cost of individual tickets. Now you can use those extra Washington’s on some delicious island noodles instead.

Who is playing?

Headlining the event are indie-pop legends Vampire Weekend, stopping in Detroit mid-tour of their highly-anticipated fourth album, “Father of the Bride.” Closing out the night on Sunday are headliners Tame Impala, a psychedelic-rock band fronted by singer, producer and songwriter Kevin Parker. In addition, Detroit-based pop star, Lizzo will take the River stage Friday night, hopefully giving her hometown an unforgettable show accompanied by her signature twerk and flute combo, and the Grammy nominated  bounce-back breakup anthem of year, “Truth Hurts.”

A total of 19 other bands will perform throughout the two days, including Detroit-based, The Doozers, an indie-pop four piece that will kick off Sunday morning with a performance guaranteed to get you off your feet. With no overlapping performances, festivalgoers can enjoy the entire set of each of their favorite acts. 

How can I get there?

Attendees can purchase a $25 per day parking pass at checkout with a festival ticket. Premium parking is available at $40 per day. The People Mover will be open 9 a.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday, and noon to midnight Sunday. For 75 cents, patrons can ride to the Joe Louis Arena stop and walk roughly 1 mile to the Mo Pop entrance. In addition, Detroit Bikes is providing free and safe bicycle parking at the festival site. 

What can I bring?

The following items are allowed at Mo Pop Festival (all items subject to search upon entry):

  • Binoculars
  • Small digital cameras including GoPro or similar cameras
  • Cellphones
  • Sunscreen in a plastic container (no aerosol)
  • Blankets
  • Drawstring bags with 1 pocket are allowed
  • Strollers
  • EMPTY CamelPaks/hydration packs (with no large pockets)
  • Purses smaller than 12 x 12 inches
  • Breast pumps
  • Inflatable couches
  • Vape pens
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Portable chargers
  • Empty reusable water bottles (no glass)

What can’t I bring?

The following items are prohibited at Mo Pop Festival:

  • Instruments
  • Weapons or firearms of any kind
  • Colors, patches, chains or chain wallets
  • Umbrellas, no hula hoops
  • Selfie sticks
  • Back packs or duffel bags
  • Drugs and/or drug paraphernalia
  • DSLR’s, video cameras and/or audio recording devices
  • Glass containers
  • Outside food/beverage
  • Powdered substances
  • Folding chairs, lawn chairs or coolers
  • Pets with the exception of service animals
  • Drones
  • Totems or signage on extended handles
  • Aerosol
  • Hammocks
  • Per Michigan state law, the use of marijuana on or around festival grounds is prohibited.

What else is going on besides music?

In between sets, attendees can check out the Craft Bazaar —curated by Handmade Detroit— a tented collection of goods available for purchase made by over a dozen of Metro Detroit’s most talented craftspeople. In addition, Mo Pop, in partnership with Offworld Arcade, will provide a fully air-conditioned tent filled with classic arcade games, high score contests, prizes, drinks and local DJ’s.

Games are free to play for all festival attendees, so challenge your friends to a quick game of PAC-MAN while you cool down before your favorite band. Last, if you feel like stepping away from the crowd for a second, Haute to Death is hosting a dance party near the main entrance throughout the entirety of both days.The full DJ lineup is available online.

Is there any food available to purchase?

The questions really is, where is there NOT to eat. The answer is...not much. Not only are there 15 different food truck options — vegan and vegetarian friendly — featuring Detroit favorites like Slows To Go, Detroit Taco Company and Treat Dreams, Mo Pop also features The Shipyard, an array of Mo Pop-Up restaurants featuring some of Metro Detroit’s best eateries such as Hopcat, Imperial and many more.