Music and football in Detroit
There are many reasons to visit the city of Detroit. For the delegation of FC St. Pauli there were two in particular. But to understand what makes Detroit such a special place, it’s important to know a little bit about its history first.
During the 19th century, it became an important industrial hub at the center of the Great Lakes region. Especially the automobile industry was blooming here, with the three major automobile corporations having their headquarters in Metro Detroit.
However, due to industrial restructuring, the loss of jobs in the auto industry, and rapid suburbanization, Detroit lost considerable population from the late 20th century to the present. In 1950 they had a peak of 1.85 million citizens. Since then it declined by more than 60 percent. In 2013, Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy.
This bankruptcy, which was the result of the financial crisis and the breakdown of the automobile industry, resulted in the loss of jobs and homes for thousands of people. Those who had the chance left the city. They left behind not only empty houses, but empty cultural venues, whole office blocks and stores – basically making Detroit a ghost town.
Some parts of Detroit were so sparsely populated that the city had difficulty providing municipal services. That means no light in the streets, demolished abandoned homes, etc etc. Some of it is still visible today and only parts were renewed since then.
Next to the automobile industry, Detroit had music as a great contributor to its popularity.
Through the 1950s Detroit was a jazz center with stars of the era often coming to Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood to perform. One highlight of Detroit’s musical history was Motown Records success’ during the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Motown was home to popular recording acts including Marvin Gaye, Steve Wonder and Diana Ross & the Supremes.
Hip Hop from Detroit rose to prominence in the late nineties with the emergence of Eminem and Aaliyah to only name a few.
Motown played an important role in the racial integration of popular music as an African-American owned record label that achieved significant crossover success.
So, now one of the reasons for St. Pauli to come to Detroit is clear – music! There is a great connection to music among FC St. Pauli fans and they cherish cities that brought up so many great artists. Therefore a visit to the Motown Museum was a must. The museum is located in one of the parts that where highly affected by the cities’ bankruptcy. There are still a lot of empty houses down the street from the museum and the traces can be seen clearly. For the deligation the visit was a very special experience!
The second reason was a soccer game of course. The people who still live in Detroit or those who came back to the city seem to have the need to give something back. People are active, creative and motivated to get things going again.
You can find that state of mind in the fans of Detroit City FC, too. They happen to be the ones forming a FC St. Pauli fan club as well. They share the same values, think before saying yes and do something for the community.
Before every game the fans of Detroit City FC do a march together to the Keyworth Stadium. This time, they were joined by all the North American St. Pauli fans. It was great to see these different people bonding over a good game of football. Apperently this also made an impression to the by-standers as you can see in the pictures.
The game and the atmosphere mirrored a lot of the things told in this article. The crowd went wild, the game was intense and great to watch. In the end everyone was happy even though it was a pretty clear win of 6:2 for the German guests.
Thank you, Detroit for such a warm welcome, making friends and being great hosts to our team. It was a great pleasure!