Moogfest vs. Moogfest in 2013? Open thread on the split between AC Entertainment and Moog Music


Yesterday’s HUGE local music news was AC Entertainment‘s announcement that it’s splitting from Moog Music, the Asheville-based pioneering musical instrument company that held the licensing to Moogfest, the major music festival that wowed Asheville and the world with three events that put our city on the map as a music festival destination.

The reason for the split was not mentioned in the press release sent out yesterday, though it seems the decision was Moog Music’s.

So Moog Music and AC Entertainment, the Tennessee-based concert promotions company that did the heavy lifting of Moogfest, have parted ways. And in a bombshell piece of local music news, AC Entertainment is continuing to offer an annual electronic music festival in Asheville, functionally rebranding Moogfest, but losing the heart of the event and the whole reason it happened in Asheville: Its connection to adopted Ashevillean Bob Moog, electronic music’s greatest pioneer.

The new Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit (MOEMS???) is Moogfest minus Moog.

And there’s no word yet from Moog Music or its president and CEO, Mike Adams on what Moog Music, holder of the Moogfest license, plans for 2013. Can we expect a reinvented Moogfest? TWO electronic music festivals? Adams has been as adamant as Ashley Capps of AC Entertainment: Asheville is where each one’s festival belongs.

If Moog Music puts on Moogfest next year alongside Mountain Oasis, will 2013 be the year of Moogfest vs. Moogfest in Asheville?

Who has dibs on Halloween weekend, Moog Music or AC Entertainment? Will Adams and Moog Music move away from music altogether, offering a festival that focuses more on technology and innovation and less on dancing until 3 a.m. and sleeping until lunchtime?

Though nothing was ever confirmed, there were rumors that Moogfest wasn’t making it financially, especially after this year’s event scaled back to two days rather than three, with fewer heavy hitters on the bill. Will 2013 see two major electronic music festivals in Asheville, duking it out for fan dollars and media attention?

How will Moog Music pull off an event the size of Moofest without AC Entertainment’s money, connections and resources? Moog Music is an electronic music company, not a festival organizer. When it held the first Moogfest events, they were glorified awards ceremonies held in New York City ballrooms, attended by the old guard of the electronic music scene.

Adams has spoken publicly of his own plans to make Moogfest even bigger, with more of an emphasis on the innovation Moog himself was known for. Will Adams replace AC Entertainment and continue Moogfest with the license offered to a new promotions company?

Can Moog Music, without the world-class industry connections of AC Entertainment, make the kind of festival that will attract the likes of Santigold, Primus, Brian Eno, Big Boi and the Flaming Lips? AC Entertainment also brought along its connections to NPR, landing plenty of positive attention on local bands that were also part of Moogfest. Knoxville’s Ashley Capps and his AC Entertainment seemed like a match made in heaven to make Moogfest the best thing ever to happen to Asheville’s music scene, as well as an October boost to restaurants and hotels.

Can AC Entertainment, without Moog Music, keep the magic of Moogfests 1-3 alive, when its Mountain Oasis fest can never offer the spiritual, emotional and intellectual appeal to electronic music fans or performers that a tribute to the great Bob Moog did?

And where does the Bob Moog Foundation, the organization honoring Moog’s legacy and run by his daughter, Michelle Moog-Koussa, fit in to a reinvented Moogfest? The BMF, a non-profit local organization dedicated to musical innovation and education, benefited hugely from Moogfest, as the events raised its profile and donated a small portion of the proceeds.

And then there’s the million-dollar social media assets AC Entertainment seems to be currently transferring to its Mountain Oasis effort: The Moogfest Twitter account, Facebook page and newsletter–a fortune in email addresses and followers–all seem to be the property of AC Entertainment. Which might mean Moog Music or whomever it chooses to promote future Moogfest events will be starting from scratch in the massive effort of building a fan base for a new event.


Why, Moog Music?



Frinkazoid December 11, 2012 - 4:21 pm

I have heard rumblings (unconfirmed of course) that Moogfest will take on more of a SXSW feel with panels and “events”. Less a classic music festival than we have had in the past. My understanding is that is the idea Moog wanted from “Moogfest” originally.

JD December 11, 2012 - 3:00 pm

Moog will run a “bigger festival” sans AC Entertainment? Where can I put my money on that not happening? I went to Moogfest the last three years, but never attended a panel. I’m just not a Moog-nerd. I have no idea what the reasons are for this split. (Wild guess-money.) There were obviously all sorts of problems leading up to this years Moogfest. Anyone remember the original set up for 2012? Cheaper overall ticket prices, but more ticketed events, to guarantee entry? Then an abrupt change to the “traditional” setup, but only Saturday/Sunday. I saved the dates for this festival way in advance because of the music, location, time of year and overall vibe. Who’s responsible for that? AC Entertainment or Moog? The outfit that runs successful concerts and festivals all over the region, or the music hardware/software company?

Jason W. December 11, 2012 - 2:14 pm

I think it will be the death of both festivals. Moog music doesn’t have the connections; AC Entertainment doesn’t have the Moog name behind it. I don’t foresee one working without the other. To me, it seems that Asheville music lovers will be the ones that really loose.

Jennifer Saylor December 11, 2012 - 2:20 pm

Agreed that Asheville might be the real loser here. Surely Moog Music can just bring in another promoter. It’s just a shame to lose one that seemed such a great match: The NPR connections, Capps’s love of, understanding of, and advocacy for Asheville. Curious to know Moog’s motivations, when it seemed to have a great thing going with AC Ent.

Chris Palentchar December 11, 2012 - 10:15 pm

I disagree. At this point it seems as though AC can build whatever festival they want. They have the money, the connections, the experience. It really all depends on what they want to do. However, the moog history and name definitely adds to the romance of an electronic festival. But if AC had set out to create an electronic festival, w/o Moog’s name, at the onset, I wouldnt doubt they could have had all the past performers that have graced the Moogfest stage.

Luther B December 12, 2012 - 2:33 am

I was disappointed by the 2012 festival, which definitely lacked the buzz of previous years (especially 2010). That they were selling discounted tickets to locals late suggested that sales were down, too. The scheduling felt shoehorned, a reflection of the shift from three days to two: multi-venue setups in Asheville are always tricky, but the Thomas Wolfe is an awful venue for solo DJ sets.

In retrospect, the signs of a split were there.

AC sets the agenda for bringing out-of-town music to Asheville, which seems to cut both ways: it brings in some artists who’d probably not bother with a stop here but also seems to keep out others who play the Triangle instead. I’m sure they have some heft to keep the artists and venues they work with from working with Moog Music on whatever Moogfest becomes next year, although it sounds as if MM has something different from that in mind anyway.

Orbit DVD December 11, 2012 - 12:37 pm

Someone told me that Moog wants to do a festival outside of Asheville.

Keep in mind that AC Entertainment does Bonnaroo, and is well connected.

Adam December 11, 2012 - 11:37 am

I think you are blowing things WAY out of proportion. From what I gather by reading the actual press release, it seems like Mountain Oasis is simply the re-branding of Moogfest. Essentially, the are the same festival. I have a hunch that the renaming is for financial reasons, and in my opinion Mountain Oasis has a much more inviting sound to it than Moogfest. Maybe this is just another way to get this festival to grow in the future and encourage people from further away to visit our oasis of a town.

From the press release: “AC Entertainment announced today that it will rename its multi-day electronic music festival in Asheville, NC, as the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit for 2013, continuing to build on the success of the past three years when the event has been produced as Moogfest.”

Again, this sounds like the festivals are one in the same, and will not be competing against one another.

Jason Sandford December 11, 2012 - 11:41 am

Adam, thanks for your note. I think it’s clear that there are two different festivals in the offing.

AC Entertainment and Moog Music were married with Moogfest, but they’ve broken up. AC Entertainment got dumped by Moog Music, the owner of the Moogfest name. It was Moog Music’s decision not to re-license the Moogfest name to AC, so AC has moved ahead in announcing its own EDM festival, Mountain Oasis.

Meantime, Moog Music is moving ahead with planning the next Moogfest, which they say will be completely retooled.

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