McCrory and Moogfest started making headlines last week, when Moogfest publicity folks said a scheduling conflict would keep McCrory from attending an opening panel discussion of the festival. McCrory’s administration issued a follow-up statement saying that Moogfest officials had asked the governor not to come, perhaps in part due to a local protest of McCrory. Moogfest’s people responded, citing a “miscommunication” and wishing all well.
Then Wednesday, McCrory appeared at the Moogfest opening VIP party. Sporting Matrix-like dark sunglasses, the governor schmoozed with the Moogfesters sipping Wicked Weed beer and bobbing their heads to the mixes of DJs Thundercat and Flying Lotus.
McCrory’s appearance had a similar affect as a sonic boom. You could hear people saying: what exactly just happened? Did I really just see that?
Yes, they did. After the flap over the invitation, people picked up the phone. I’ve heard conflicting reports of exactly who called whom, but McCrory, Manheimer and Moog Music CEO were all talking. The result: McCrory’s crashing of the poolside party, and an underlining message that there are no hard feelings here, that we can all work together.
That’s a perfect note to strike, especially for a revamped Moogfest that is emphasizing the economic development potential of its event as much as the musical performance side, which has been the historic focus. If economic development is part of the mission, then McCrory needs to be invited to the table, and should welcomed to attend. Because at the end of the day, it will likely be McCrory, or one of his proxies, in a conference room or on a call with the CEOs that are thinking of bringing jobs to North Carolina.
And it’s well past time for Asheville and Raleigh to start figuring out how to work together. The divisiveness is getting old, and it’s literally getting Asheville nowhere.There’s an election coming up, but right now, the Republicans hold all the cards in Raleigh, and they’ve shown their hand. Asheville, especially, must figure out how to get in the game and start playing. Like it or not, Moogfest 2014 is a two-sided event now. Economic development is much a goal as electronic discography.
I don’t want to lend too much importance to a governor’s party appearance, but I do think it’s worth noting. And however it went down, having Gov. McCrory and Mayor Manheimer being friendly over Moogfest is at least a start.