"1217 Griswold is about as prepared to pass a building safety inspection as the Packard Plant is ready to host an elementary school."

- Curbed Detroit

This quote is ironic because some of the then "kids" that threw Packard Plant parties used to live there.


“We weren’t all misfits, but most of us were pretty close. Hardcore ravers, DJs & event promoters occupied 7 out of the10 beat-up loft spaces on Griswold that sat over a burned out restaurant. There was 15 to17 of us living there between 1993 and ’94. Maybe 2 or 3 of us had credible 9-5 jobs. The creative spirit of that building and the brotherhood that was cemented continues to thrive in the current underground.”

-John Bileebob Williams


The Griswold Lofts are located at 1217 Griswold St., overlooking Capitol Park in downtown Detroit.  For over twenty years these lofts were home to a thriving music and arts community, related in particular to the vibrant techno music scene in the city.

From the early ‘90s until the lofts were evicted in 2014, the residents of Griswold were known for organizing and DJing underground techno parties in the space.  The parties in those early days evolved in to the foundation of Detroit’s underground rave scene.  Event organizers, including many residents of 1217 Griswold utilized many vacant warehouses, factories and other buildings in Detroit to throw massive dance parties.  These locations included the infamous Packard Automotive Plant on the city’s east side.

Out of this community of musicians and event organizers, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, or DEMF, was started in 2000.  This free festival in Detroit’s Hart Plaza was immensely popular and successful.  In 2006 DEMF changed its name to Movement.  The festival is now produced by Paxahau, a production company that was started out of a 1217 Griswold loft space.  Today the event is one of the top electronic music festivals in the world.

In 2014, the Griswold Lofts building and with much of Capitol Park was purchased by Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert.  The musicians, artists, and other residents of the building were evicted in February 2014 so that the building could be renovated.  Gilbert plans to turn the whole Capitol Park neighborhood into an “arts district” in downtown Detroit.


When they are finished with their renovations, there will most likely be no remnants of the building’s former inhabitants.  From an archaeological perspective, other than the basic building there will be nothing left to indicate the importance of the building to Detroit’s music history.  All that will be left are the stories, pictures, and music that came from here.


Music from 1217 Griswold