DEMF spin cycle 

Nothing is simple regarding the event formerly known as the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. Detroit DJ Carl Craig says he’s celebrating a victory in his case against former DEMF producer Carol Marvin; Marvin’s attorney, Anthony DeLuca, says the jury decision last week is “absolutely” a victory for Marvin.

Marvin fired Craig on the eve of DEMF II in 2001. Craig sued Marvin for wrongful termination and defamation of character, and sought $40,000 still remaining in his three-year contract, plus expenses and damages. Last week, a jury ordered Marvin to pay Craig nearly $14,000 for money owed him from DEMF 2000 and 2001. The defamation claim was thrown out; the jury failed to award him damages or payment for DEMF 2002, with which he was not involved.

From a hotel room in Belgrade, Serbia, where Craig is on tour, he says the court decision gives him closure. “I feel happy that it’s over,” he says.

For much of the artistic world, Craig was the festival, and without him, they wanted no part of it. This year, the city granted the festival to DJ Derrick May, who dubbed the event Movement: Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival, renamed because of copyright concerns. Though Craig’s battle is over, DEMF financial questions remain. Festival workers including Tim Price are still waiting for money they claim they are owed from DEMF I, II and III. Price, a manager for DJ Richie Hawtin, sued for $3,000 plus interest for the inaugural event, for which he worked as visual director.

With Marvin (an experienced sponsor-getter) out of the picture, and May getting a late start on planning, this year’s festival finances were sparse. May and his family coughed up $200,000 to pay bare-minimum expenses. At the end of the day, nary an artist nor festival worker was paid. Ah, the things we do for the love of music, no? The good news for taxpayers, however, is that while the city forked out nearly $2 million to cover the costs of DEMF I, II and III, not a dime of tax money was spent this year. Mayoral spokesman Jamaine Dickens tells News Hits that the city considered Movement a “great success.” May Inc. will get the festival for another two years. How much money — if any — the city will pitch in is currently under negotiation, Dickens says.

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