The Event Professor is in.


Since Woodstock made history in 1969, the American music festival has become a symbol of youth culture. Coachella and Bonnaroo are major annual events, drawing multinational corporate sponsors and superstar headliners. Mo Pop Detroit is a vibrant twist on a summer classic, an indie rock festival that celebrates the creative process with charm and plenty of imaginative activations. You might leave with a laurel wreath, a fresh-pressed single, and plenty of good karma.

Guests wander the revitalized grounds of Detroit’s West Riverfront Park, eating, drinking and dancing. The Mo Pop lineup included indie darlings Father John Misty, Børns, L.A.-based electronic group M83, and the Event Professor’s latest obsession, Haim.

There are no simultaneous shows at this festival. When one concert ends, the crowd rushes toward a nearby stage where the next act begins. It pays to be light on your feet!


Major brand names were featured alongside playful activations on site. Fender was a main stage sponsor while c|net scattered two dozen painted pianos around the park, inspiring spontaneous duets along the boardwalk. I found a comfortable spot to rest my feet between concerts.

Mega-promoter AEG Live produced the event, but you wouldn’t know it. Mo Pop has the homegrown feel of a locally organized festival. A shopping hot-spot called Mo Villages featured a craft bazaar, food trucks, and a beer garden. I stopped to check out the Rolling Record Store by Third Man Records, founded by Detroit’s own rock star, Jack White.

Some of the sponsored activities at this event were unforgettable.The Pabst Vinyl Experience involved a live recording studio complete with guitars, drums, mics, you name it. Anyone brave enough to perform was rewarded with their very own vinyl recording, pressed right before their eyes. How cool is that?

Event Professor Tip: If you’ve got a green thumb and a used truck, make a pop-up flower shop and sell floral hairpieces to concert-goers. At $40 each, you can’t lose. Just ask the people at pot & box.

Enigma has rarely observed such a high rate of connection between brand and music fans, particularly with such a unique array of activations. Retro video games ruled at the air conditioned Credit Karma tent, not far from the Detroit Dart Club’s on-site battlefield.

Most impressive were the jaw-dropping performances by young musicians at the School of Rock stage. They could give the cast of Glee a run for their money!

Detroit MoPop was a pleasure to research. I didn’t leave with flowers in my hair but I discovered some great new music and even made a little of my own.

I have researched 800+ events worldwide and love to share stories. Please contact me if you want to discuss anything from visitor surveys to economic impact to sponsorship ROI measurement.

Want to know more about life as an Enigma researcher? Visit us on Linkedin and Facebook.

Until next time,

Michael, The Event Professor

Sign up to get Event Professor Stories delivered to your inbox

* indicates required

Share this Story


Try the Enigma Quote Wizard for a fast, no-obligation proposal.

Some Events we’ve surveyed:

Pride Toronto
Lone Star Rally
Shanghai Storm EDM Festival
Red Bull Flugtag
Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival
NFL Pro Bowl
Electric Zoo
Vancouver Film Festival
Miami Auto Show
NASC Symposium
Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival
Honens International Piano Competition
Daytona 500
Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction
Red Bull Air Race
2012 Final Presidential Debate
Indianapolis 500
Edmonton Fringe Festival
Comedy Central Clusterfest
Montreal Just for Laughs
Dublin Irish Festival
Anime Boston
Toronto Jazz Festival
EDC Las Vegas
New York Auto Show
Detroit NAIAS
Beyond Wonderland
LA X-Games
Calgary Stampede
State Fair of Texas
International Plowing Match
MTV SnowGlobe Music Festival
WWE Summer Slam
US Open of Surfing
Governor’s Ball Music Festival
Orange Bowl
Nickelodeon SlimeFest
Boots and Hearts Music Festival
Walt Disney World Florida Classic
Event Marketing Summit
Orlando Bowl Week
San Diego County Fair
Pacific National Exhibition
ACL Music Festival
Canadian Music Week
Chicago Auto Show