Movement Festival in Detroit is known for its electronic music, great line-ups and most importantly, the festival’s veteran attendee, Grandma Techno.
Patricia Lay-Dorsey is a 72-year-old woman with white hair that sticks out and she’s been a veteran at the festival that she has been attending ever since her first time in 2006. She, along with a friend, decided to go after gaining some curiosity about the large festival that was taking place. So, with her trusted mobile scooter, she took the festival by storm and got hooked.
“We went into Hart Plaza and it was so loud! Not just by the stages, but everywhere we went. I didn’t know electronic music at all, but I adored it once I discovered it,” she says. But since that year, she has made it a point to attend the festival every time it has been held over the Memorial Day weekend in the state of Michigan.
The origin of her name is a story that is epic on a whole new level. She was trying to get by a crowd of people but her scooter was not being co-operative at that time, so she asked a few people for help. And they did help by yelling out “It’s Grandma Techno, let her through!”
She soon gained tons of popularity and was also featured on the Humans Of New York Facebook page in 2015 and since then has become a public figure on the website. She also remembered the time she went on a mountain on her scooter and it was the best thing she did at the time.
She mentions that with her increasing age, she feels like she should do more with her life. “I would say I started becoming crazy at 40, but by 50 I was big-time. I swear to you every decade gets crazier. It’s like I just get weirder and weirder and more of my own unique self, not giving a damn what anyone thinks.”
Can she be our granny already? I’d be damn proud to have her by my side at any festival and she has been open to attend other festivals besides this one. “You never know, life is crazy. I never know what’s next.”
She has taken her difficulty with walking and created a platform for other people like her to find a place at such venues which isn’t at the back of the venue but at the front so that they can get down with all the other festival go-ers.
She draws a lot of similarities between the current dance festivals to the 60’s where everyone was about the flower power when she grew up. “It’s really the people. They remind me of the 1960s with the peace and love. But maybe they’re tranced out on E, I don’t know.”
And she jut doesn’t attend it blindly; she’s a full raver at heart and this year she is even more excited to attend. “Claude VonStroke is absolutely my favourite. I love him. We actually got to know each other a little bit and he’s the sweetest guy. Last year John Digweed played and I went fucking crazy! A marvellous local, well, she tours all over the world, DJ Minx. Awesome. Love her!”
Over her ten year experience at the festival, she has noticed a change in the pattern of the festival and its attendees. She points out that the culture has been a bit altered due to the mainstream artist fans being introduced to festivals. But she feels they do not have a real sense of its culture.
“I adore the amazing young people who are so full of love and peace and gentle spiritedness. If only other people in the world knew that this is what this generation is really like. If people were to just walk inside the festival and see the beauty of the young people, it’s phenomenal.”
She has no children of her own but that does not stop her from being a mother hen to the young crowd attending with her. She has always been spotted getting into conversations with people and calls all of them her kids. “I say kids because I’m almost 73—everybody’s is my grandchild. I’m always the oldest person there. Even people in their 50s could be my kid!”.
Make sure you check out her website for her awesome photography skills too!
But even after blowing up on the Internet and being the subject of a mini documentary, there’s no stopping this groovy granny from getting what she wants at the festival each year, good old electronic music.