The exact origins of this rumor will never be known, but using my techno journalism skills, I will try and find out.
Disbelief was the prevailing sentiment in Detroit. No one wanted to believe that Villalobos had actually canceled. When you don't want to believe something is true, it's easy enough to convince yourself that it's not. Even though the official press release saying he had canceled was sent out days before the festival started, people were still holding on to some hope that he would magically show up.
The Infamous Text Message
Thanks Peter of JQM or Justquilitymuisc.com for this lovely screen shot.
Whether Eli purposely sent this out to create mass hysteria (if he did he is a genius), or he himself was confused and actually thought he saw Villalobos, my suspicion is that this was the text that started a giant game of Telephone.
Masomenos vs Villalobos
So apparently Mr. Villalobos has a techno twin and he was at DEMF: the male half of Masomenos! Just look at the evidence, you can come up with your own conclusion.
The Real McCoy - Ricardo Villalobos
Adrien de Maublanc of Masomenos
JQM man himself could also be a Ricardo impersonator
The similarities are uncanny, especially if you include the fact that there were thousands of people walking around all fucked up with blurry vision. I can see how he can easily be confused with Villalobos. Hey it happens, and it makes perfect sense he would have an artist pass to the festival and access to back stage areas if he is playing at one of the after parties.
Adding Fuel to the Fire
Then we have a pranksters like Dirty Bird's Justin Martin, who sent out photo tweets that he actually spoke to Villalobos, which only added fuel to the fire.
Message: @mrjustinmartin got to talk to villalobos about his amazing press tour of non-gigs in Detroit #demf
This is just a small sample of what I heard from different people, including some very "credible" sources:
"Villalobos landed in detroit!"That last one was my favorite.
"He was spotted on the Beat Port stage."
"Villalobos landed but wasn't allowed to play, because the already terminated his contracts."
"Paxahau sent a private jet to Berlin to get him. But when he landed in the he got turned away by immigration."
Between Twitter, Facebook, word of mouth, blogs like this and LWE (which I love) and half of your friends that swear they saw Villalobos, the rumors spread like wild fire.
We all help spread the insanity, and the joke was all on us.
And that's how the biggest hoax in techno history went down and it was hilarious.