The alleyway between Momo Tea and Insomnia Cookies was filled with students on Friday, but they weren’t standing outside to buy tea or cookies ⏤ they were hanging around to get a taste of Detroit.
Crowd 313, a student-run organization that seeks to better connect University students with cultural and entrepreneurial offerings in Detroit, kicked off their first event with the 2013 Detroit Sound Fest at Eat the Hub, a new food-cart development on South University Avenue.
The event brought the Motor City to Ann Arbor with Detroit bands and food in hopes of improving the city’s reputation among the University community.
The Sound Fest featured four Detroit musicians, including The Hand in the Ocean, Kickstand Band, Little Animal and DJs Manuel Gonzalez and Conor Mendenhall. Food was also available from Detroit and Ann Arbor-based vendors, including The Beetbox, Cheese Dream, Cafe Con Leche, El Manantial and Hut-K Nutrilicious.
Art & Design junior Matt Rosner, executive of Crowd 313, said the biggest goal of the event was to engage students with a positive Detroit experience despite pervasive negative media coverage.
“Everyone has a different perception of Detroit, but overall it is a negative view,” Rosner said.
Jordan Evans, a musician in The Hand in the Ocean, said it’s easy for students to talk negatively about Detroit because of the city’s economic decline, bankruptcy, abandoned buildings and crime. He said he hopes to show Detroit’s creative side and motivate students to rethink their perspective through the band’s music.
“You really have to get past that thought to see what is really going on Downtown,” said Business sophomore Meredith Bury, on-campus event coordinator for Crowd 313.
Bury added that once students see the positive things Detroit has to offer, it will be easy for them to change their view.
Rosner said he was very optimistic about the turnout of the event — despite the cold — and the future of Detroit. He said there will more events in the future to showcase the city’s diverse opportunities for students.