Gov. Pat McCrory cancels Moogfest appearance in Asheville

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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moogfest2014UPDATE: The planned protest will go on. From a press release today:

Andrew LaFiosca, a local Ashevillian and protest organizer had this to say, “Over the past week, we’ve seen our collective community rise in solidarity confronting an administration that threatens our environment, our right to equality, and our future.

While some speculation remains on the reasoning behind McCrory’s sudden absence, especially in light of all the press releases, articles, and posts in Moog’s official schedule, I think we can all be happy that a man so mired in corruption, and so out of touch with the citizens who pay his salary will no longer falsely represent our town in it’s biggest festival of the year. Whether or not someone at Moog, or through the city made a positive decision in regards to the community remains to be seen.”

The rally remains scheduled for 2:30 pm, next Wednesday, April 23 in downtown Asheville at the Vance Monument.

“We still plan to gather at the Vance monument on Wednesday. The issues we have with the governor have not dissipated, simply because his presence has. They are not reducible to one man. We look forward to having speakers from different segments of the community come out to address these topics.”

ORIGINAL POST:Gov. Pat McCrory, who had planned to attend a special, invitation-only opening reception for Moogfest in Asheville next week, has canceled his appearance. Here’s the announcement:

Due to a scheduling conflict, Governor Pat McCrory will be unable to attend the Opening Panel of Moogfest. The panel discussion will be moderated by NC State University Professor Dr. Michael Walden and will be held at Diana Wortham Theatre on Wednesday, April 23rd at 3 p.m. Panelists include Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer and Moog Music President Mike Adams, among others. For more information visit

Here’s the information regarding the opening and closing receptions:

The Van Winkle Law Firm, with offices in Asheville, Charlotte and Hendersonville, will host the opening and closing receptions for Moogfest 2014. Van Winkle will kick off the festival with a welcome reception for Governor Pat McCrory and other dignitaries on Wednesday, April 23 before an opening panel on economic development. The firm will mark the festival closing on Sunday, April 27 with a final party at Moog Music. Both events are by invitation only.

Van Winkle President Phil Smith said the firm’s role with Moogfest reflects its support of economic development and job growth in Western North Carolina. “We share Moogfest’s vision to expand our region’s diversity of creative and tech businesses with Asheville serving as a center of innovation in the region,” said Smith. “This year’s event will pave the way for a much larger economic movement, and Van Winkle believes in the community-based, collaborative approach to support and expand our business community.”

Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, a partner at Van Winkle, will be one of the opening panelists along with Hickory Mayor Rudy White; Robert T. “Bob” Geolas, President and CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina; Mike Adams, President, Moog Music; Representative Nathan Ramsey; and Casey Steinbacher, President and CEO of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce.

And here’s the press release regarding the planned protest:

Moogfest, a five-day local festival celebrating music and technology, is kicking off next week with a special welcoming ceremony for Republican state governor Pat McCrory. This private, invite-only occasion, followed by a panel discussion on economic development in which McCrory will participate, is being sponsored by the Van Winkle Law Firm. Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer, who is also a partner in the firm, is scheduled to join the governor on the panel.

But not everyone in the city is happy with this arrangement. After the news broke about McCrory’s participation, and what appeared to some as the mayor’s de facto endorsement of his appearance, a coalition of city residents quickly organized to protest.

The protesters cite a laundry list of complaints against the governor, including accusations of corruption, cronyism, attacks on women’s health and rights, discriminatory voter restriction legislation, cutting teachers’ salaries and funds for education, defending corporate malfeasance, refusing Medicaid expansion, among others.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen McCrory endorse laws restricting the rights of the LGBT community, and absolve Duke Energy in its crimes against our environment,” says Andrew Lafiosca, a local bartender who has helped organize the protest. “McCrory has failed Asheville and subsequently all of North Carolina by both blatantly disregarding and openly attacking equality, education and our environment.”

A page on Facebook was created to promote the demonstration planned for Wednesday, Apr. 23 at 2:30pm at Vance Monument and within two days over 200 people had signed on to participate.

Among those upset about McCrory’s celebratory appearance at Moogfest is Manheimer’s recent mayoral primary opponent, Martin Ramsey.

“It’s bad enough that our elected officials are giving one of the most reactionary governors in the country political cover at a time when his administration is mired in investigation,” says Ramsey. “The people of our city have every right to ask which of their legitimate demands are negotiable in the name of vague ‘economic development’. But we won’t get to know. It’s a closed-door meeting, a glad-handing affair where our political elite, local and state level, hob-knob with corporate reps to decide the shape of our future. That just won’t do.”

Lafiosca says Moogfest represents more than just electronic music, art, and science, but also local ingenuity, vast potential revenue for downtown businesses, and, in a way, the city’s future.

“Our mayor’s law firm is endorsing a man to speak who stands against everything I’ve come to love and admire about this town,” he says. “It’s time to take a stand and tell McCrory that people matter more than corporations, that he has no right to use our town for a photo shoot while endorsing legislation designed to crush our hopes and dreams, and that we will no longer accept his corruption.”

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. Unaffiliated Voter April 23, 2014

    huh? has that dreadful website Scrutiny Hooligans met it’s expected demise due to lack of interest? Looks like some of those fools have descended here unfortunately…


    1. theOtherBarry April 23, 2014

      Wow. Your logic and grasp of the facts have won the day. Well played sir.

  2. theOtherBarry April 21, 2014

    Just an hour ago, the AC-T re-posted an article that still says that Gov. McCrory is coming:

    Moogfest reveals daily schedule

    1:28 p.m. EDT April 21, 2014

    “In particular, the festival will kick off April 23 at the Diana Wortham Theatre with an interesting panel discussing innovation through technology. The panel is a blend of political and business figures, including Gov. Pat McCrory and Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer.”

  3. theOtherBarry April 21, 2014

    One very good reason that Pat McCrory doesn’t want to risk coming to Asheville right now:

    Advocates blast McCrory/Duke coal ash plan

    Strip away the double-talk and it’s clear that the governor is doing little more than asking for the General Assembly’s blessing on his plan to let Duke continue to call the shots on coal ash.

    Environmentalists call foul over this latest rehash of the McCrory Administration’s plan to let Duke tell DENR what to do about coal ash. Governor McCrory needs to come to the realization that he is now the chief executive official of the State of North Carolina, and no longer a career employee of Duke Energy.”

    Heck, even some of his local GOPers are… “miffed” over this:

    McCrory coal ash announcement miffs GOP lawmakers

    State Sen. Tom Apodaca and Rep. Chuck McGrady are Republicans from Hendersonville working to write a new law. Both said they were surprised by McCrory’s announcement after believing they were working together with the governor.

    They must not have been nice enough to him.

  4. D.Dial April 21, 2014

    “WLOS ABC13 News Gov. McCrory won’t attend Moogfest in Asheville April 19, 2014 14:56 EDT ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory won’t attend the electronic music festival Moogfest next week in Asheville as originally planned. McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis tells the Asheville Citizen-Times ( that Moogfest organizers asked the governor to change his plans and not attend the festival Wednesday. Moogfest spokeswoman Jill Lieberman initially said that McCrory wouldn’t attend because of a scheduling conflict. After Ellis said organizers asked that the governor not attend, Moogfest officials said they regretted any miscommunication between themselves and the governor’s office and that they appreciate his support of the festival. Local residents had organized a protest to coincide with the governor’s visit.” ~~WLOS

    1. D.Dial April 21, 2014

      ACT Editorial..”.F to Moogfest for bungling governor appearance.”

      Seems I’m not the only one seeing a royal screw up.

    2. D.Dial April 21, 2014

      Just in case my comment with the ACT link doesn’t make the cut.

      Act (that Mccrory loving, right wing rag) has come out with a “F” grade in their Editorials for the bungling of the McCrory visit by MoogFest. Shame on Moog Fest for caving into a few loud protestations.

      Clearly ACT has been added to the NCLEG payroll, like supposedly the rest of us not walking in lockstep with the left-tistas in Asheville are.

  5. theOtherBarry April 20, 2014

    The featured editorial on AC-T’s homepage today still says that McCrory is coming for Moogfest: “Moogfest may live up to promise of more tech jobs”. It ran yesterday, a full day after the cancellation had been announced.

  6. D.Dial April 20, 2014

    I’m thinking Asheville can kiss goodbye and Governor help in establishing a “silicon mountain”.

    1. hauntedheadnc April 20, 2014

      And if McCrory were a Democrat, you’d fall right in line to congratulate the festival on a job well done uninviting such a pernicious embarrassment. From what I’ve seen of your posts, you’d kiss the ass of any Republican no matter what they’re doing or have done. Meanwhile, if Jesus Himself (or the deity of your choice) registered as a Democrat, you’d disavow you ever even had a good thought about Him (or Her).

      1. theOtherBarry April 20, 2014

        They quietly deleted “Western North Carolina” from the title of this thing when Gov. McCrory signed on. Any help he was going to be in a position to give was going to be parceled out to whatever crony he needs for the next election, most likely. Moog should have never invited him.

      2. D.Dial April 20, 2014

        It’s not about me HHNC. It’s about our “leadership.” It’s about an embarrassing thing that just happened.

        1. hauntedheadnc April 20, 2014

          Interesting that you would put “leadership” in quotation marks. That’s exactly how I look at McCrory’s time in office thus far: not leadership but “leadership.” He has presided over this state becoming a national disgrace, and while that is definitely not leadership, it is most certainly “leadership.” To my eyes it’s only logical to keep someone that poisonous away from any attempt at keeping an area from slipping back into the Stone Age.

        2. D.Dial April 20, 2014

          You know me very little, HHNC. I’ve been quite critical of many current NCLEG policies. So don’t be attempting to paint me with a single brush. I’m much more complicated than a single party can encapsulate.

          1. theOtherBarry April 20, 2014

            You have to stand way, way back to see all of her, HHNC.

          2. theOtherBarry April 20, 2014

            Not a fat joke, BTW. Grandiose political self-description is what I was saying…

            Everybody calm down.

          3. Big Al April 22, 2014

            I see your point very clearly, DD. Politics should not get in the way of economic development that can improve the masses, regardless of the letter after their names on voter rolls.

            Seems funny to me that just a few years ago, WNC residents cried about their economic interests being ignored by the NC State government. Now, the Governor shows an interest in some economic development and he is rejected for his political orientation.

            The rejection by Moog fanboys of McCrory is just so stupid and petty that I am driven to INVITE all art and music-related institutions in WNC to publicly reject the Governor and the GOP-majority legislature and see what happens. If want a hole in your foot so badly, here is a loaded pistol.

        3. D.Dial April 21, 2014

          The incessant propagandizing & demonizing by the intolerant left, since the big turnover of NCLEG of duly elected officials in order to fire up the base, has backfired. They’ve painted themselves into a corner.

          1. theOtherBarry April 21, 2014

            If we simply hand over the Sudetenland without a fuss, maybe they’ll leave us alone.

          2. Matt April 21, 2014

            “I’m thinking Asheville can kiss goodbye and [sic] Governor help in establishing a “silicon mountain”.

            I have so many questions about this statement.

            What do you mean by this?
            What would you rather us do?
            Does he have some way of offering us economic developments opportunities, but he won’t do that because we vocalize our disagreement with him? Force him to address various elephants in the room (racist policies, duke, defunding of arts and liberal arts education) etc. Is that his job? To help communities that he likes and to disassemble communities that he doesn’t like?

            How are we supposed to work with this guy? And besides, it’s not like our mayor uninvited him…it’s a festival, attended by the people who are most offended by him. It would be like Obama attending a tea party/nra convention, but not talking about gun rights or health care…then getting all hurt when they say the don’t want him to be there.

    2. luther blissett April 22, 2014

      “Silicon Mountain?” That’s not even coherent.

      The tech infrastructure in the west of the state is defined by a triangle joining Lenoir, Maiden and Forest City. Those datacenters are big buildings employing not many people. The bulk of digital/tech development in the state is based around Raleigh, because that’s where you’ll find the people and the money and the big colleges and the proximity to state government, and that’s not going to change.

      I respect Moog’s ambition and commitment to the area, but Asheville ain’t Austin.

      1. theOtherBarry April 22, 2014

        Exactly. Does anyone think it was just a coincidence that the words “Western North Carolina” disappeared from the title of this panel after McCrory signed on? They took what could have been a great regional discussion & allowed it to turn it into a platform for McCrory to come out here & “greenwash” his image a little, and then go back down east to send the pork to the Research Triangle.

        Thanks Asheville!

    3. D.Dial April 22, 2014

      ^^^ Correction should be “any” not “and.” ^^^

  7. Tim Peck April 19, 2014

    And the mayor couldn’t be contacted for a comment? Really?!

    1. luther blissett April 22, 2014

      If you’ve got something substantial to say, Mouthpiece, say it.

  8. Yuck Foo April 19, 2014

    Probably forgot he was getting his anus bleached on Wednesday

  9. theOtherBarry April 19, 2014

    Now that the “scheduling conflict” story isn’t working, we hear that: no, McCrory was planning to attend, but Moogfest dis-invited him because of the controversy.

    I don’t know that I believe this story any more than the last one. Everybody remember last fall, CIBO had to sneak him into Magnolia’s through a back door, in order to avoid a dozen or so protesters out front? Given his past record of ducking Asheville protesters , I think he just chickened out… again.

  10. Daniel April 19, 2014

    Funny how “democracy” works, Mr. McCrory. Did you think the people would just lay down and let you hand North Carolina over to Art Pope and his friends, with no public protests?

  11. Debora Ramirez April 19, 2014

    I worked with Pat at Duke back in the 90s in Charlotte. . He was POS then too.

  12. Tim Peck April 18, 2014

    Once again, Asheville embarrasses itself in full view of the rest of the state. I’ll not be surprised if the legislature shuts down the whole city and withdraws its charter. After all, it only takes is a simple majority of the legislature to repeal a city’s charter (and it’s not subject to a veto). Believe me, they have the votes.

    1. Sean April 19, 2014

      More threats from a Moffitt employee to dissolve Asheville.

      I’m sure that would do *wonders* for a politician’s popularity!

      More like it would end their career. And help drive republicans out of the NCGA forever.

      Bring it!

    2. theOtherBarry April 19, 2014

      Reps. Moffitt and Nathan Ramsey have both talked about “consolidation” (ie. abolishment of Asheville) before. Most notably, Rep. Moffitt leveled this threat on the day Asheville City Council voted on putting the water referendum on the ballot. Could that be called “bullying”?

      Then just as a kicker, Rep. Moffitt goes to great lengths to persuade his opponent to drop out of the race, denying his constituents a choice. One might get the idea that these people hate democracy, hate local representation, hate free political speech.

      And we’re the ones causing the embarrassment?

      As part of my work on the water and now drone issues, I talk to people of all political stripes across NC, including plenty of Republicans. Believe me, his support is not as wide as his shills would have us think.

      1. theOtherBarry April 19, 2014

        The embarrassing thing is that the Governor can’t stand any dissent within earshot, and was willing to back out of the appearance to avoid it. Moogfest is clearly just giving him cover for his political cowardice. Now that’s embarrassing.

    3. roo April 19, 2014

      “Mussolini and his regime were not merely intransigent opponents of every freedom of expression. At the same time, the majority of Italian writers and publishers were not simply victims of a repressive regime. In reality Fascism produced culture with the help of groups of intellectuals, some of whom were fervent militants, others acting out of self-interest, and still others who were merely doing their job and not getting involved in politics, but accepting to do so in a Fascist regime.”

      Guido Bonsaver
      Mussolini the Censor. Stories of literature, dissent and hypocrisy

    4. alecks April 20, 2014

      this is really idiotic theory.

    5. hauntedheadnc April 20, 2014

      Nice city you’ve got there. Be a shame if something happened to it…


    6. luther blissett April 22, 2014

      What’s funny is that Mouthpiece, while muttering about Asheville being disposable, thinks he’s not disposable to his master.

      If Timmy ascends to the throne, Mouthpiece, expect a your pink slip, because he’ll be looking for a better class of mouthpiece.

  13. Jimmy Mule April 18, 2014

    WTF was Moog thinking inviting that POS in the 1st place? The very idea casts a black mark on Moogfest.

  14. Matt April 18, 2014


    1. TJ April 18, 2014


  15. JML April 18, 2014


  16. theOtherBarry April 18, 2014

    Now that the Guv isn’t coming, I wonder if they’ll change the name of the panel back to the original version?


    WIRING SILICON MOUNTAIN: Nurturing Innovation Through Technology in Western North Carolina

    What they changed it to after McCrory’s participation was announced:

    WIRING SILICON MOUNTAIN: Technology & Innovation As A Tool For Economic Development

    If McCrory were speaking, I can see why you’d want to erase that hippy word “nurturing” and jam a “tool” in there instead, but can we at least get the WNC reference back?

  17. Selene April 18, 2014

    Good news! If I were running Moogfest, I’d be embarrassed to have McCrory associated with it. As a resident of NC, his involvement would make me think twice about buying Moogfest tickets.

  18. pfffft April 18, 2014

    Pfffft, scheduling conflict…suuuure.

    1. theOtherBarry April 18, 2014

      Wants to spend more time with his family?

      Scared of heights?

      Dog ate his speech?

      Declining to appear on advice of his attorney?

      Decided that new technology sucks after all?

      Doesn’t want to be here when the drone strikes begin?

      Informed by his bodyguards that if things got ugly, they would not take a tomato for him?

      1. murphy April 18, 2014

        Maybe he just doesn’t have time to bake cookies to pass out to the protestors…

        1. TJ April 18, 2014

          He gave the cookies away to us in Raleigh.
          I made him some, but they kept burning.

      2. northernfisch April 18, 2014

        With his ties to Duke and the investigation into the coal ash spill I’m sure Governor McCrory does not want the spot light upon him…in a negative way.
        He has another fiasco looming…
        Dr Wos and DDHHS. 21 million spent trying to fix the food stamp backlog and still requesting more federal help. DHHS is in dire straits.

        1. J Grafwerk April 18, 2014

          A-ha, but this article contains only half the story. McCrory’s office shot out this press release earlier:

          “It was at the request of Moogfest organizers that we changed our plans to attend this event. It’s unfortunate that activist protestors are politicizing and negatively impacting an initiative aimed at growing the economy. Governor McCrory sends his best regards for for a successful event. The governor and (McCrory’s wife) also look forward to many future trips to Asheville.”

      3. TJ April 18, 2014

        Maybe all of the above.


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