IndyWeek: Moogfest announces move to Durham

Jason Sandford

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

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moogfest_2016_indyweekIndyWeek has the news on Moogfest 2016:

Durham will double the volume of its music festival market in 2016.

Moogfest—a multi-day event meant to explore the connection between technology, sound and creativity—will move to the Bull City after a troubled four-year stint in Asheville. The event will debut in Durham May 19–22, only two weeks after the city’s jazz-and-soul festival, Art of Cool, hosts its third run in many of the same downtown rooms Moogfest could use. Organizers will begin announcing the lineup in October and will host at least three festivals in Durham, spread over as many as six years.

“Moogfest was looking to strengthen the technology side of the festival. They are internationally known for their music, of course, but they wanted to accelerate their technology,” Casey Steinbacher, the president and CEO of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, said Monday, ahead of Tuesday’s official announcement. “Once they understood there was a really strong technology and innovation culture in Durham, they knew it matched well with what they were trying to accomplish.”

Here’s background on Moogfest in Asheville.

Here’s the official press release:

Moogfest to Debut in Durham, May 2016

(Durham) — July 14, 2015 — Leaders from Durham area civic organizations, cultural institutions, government and businesses announced earlier today that Moogfest — an internationally acclaimed festival of music, art and technology that has been held in Asheville since 2010 — will debut in Durham in May 2016. This announcement signals a long-term commitment by festival organizers, reinforcing the exploding technology scene and culture of innovation in the Triangle. The 3 day, 3 night event takes place May 19-22, 2016.

A limited number of discounted tickets for Asheville locals are on sale today for $99 at the Moog Store, located at 160 Broadway. The Moog Store is open Monday-Saturday from 10am to 6pm. Ticket buyers must show ID showing residency in order to purchase the specially-priced tickets.

“The decision to move the festival was not an easy one,” says Moog Music President and CEO, Mike Adams. “While we are grateful for all the support Moogfest received locally from the city, the county, private business owners, and festival goers, we have not been able to secure the necessary private and public investment in Asheville that’s needed for the festival to be sustainable moving forward.”

Moogfest has been a festival of electronic music since 2004, known for presenting performances by early pioneers in electronic music, alongside pop and avant garde experimentalists of today. Previous Moogfest performers include Kraftwerk, Brian Eno, Chic, Massive Attack, Holly Herndon, Flying Lotus, Terry Riley, M83, The Flaming Lips, Suicide, Pet Shop Boys, Grimes, TV on the Radio, MIA, St. Vincent, Tangerine Dream, Keith Emerson, Moderat and Squarepusher.

“Moogfest is a platform for conversation and experimentation with innovative programming that perfectly mirrors Durham’s position as the driving force of the technology, culture and entertainment scene in North Carolina,” says Emmy Parker, Brand Director at Moog Music

In celebration of today’s announcement, Moogfest releases “Translational Drifts: Moogfest Vol. 1,” the first EP in a series of free digital recordings that feature Moogfest artists – past, present and future. Volume 1 showcases five contemporary acts reinterpreting seminal electronic music influencers that have shaped past Moogfest lineups. This premiere installment includes YACHT, ADULT., Julianna Barwick, Moses Sumney and Dan Deacon translating tracks by Devo, Pet Shop Boys, Suicide, Laurie Anderson and Brian Eno. Their renditions pay tribute to a rich history of electronic music, with new sounds that continue to push further into the future.

YACHT, a contributor and previous Moogfest curator, praises the company behind the collaboration, “We love how Moog brings artists together. The sound of the machines and the culture of the company are like a bridge across genres and generations.”

In 2014 Moogfest introduced its new festival format, an experimental lineup of daytime conferences consisting of one of a kind programming, curated by cultural, artistic and technological luminaries, and

nighttime music with iconic performers from early pioneers of electronic music to current musical innovators. Much like it did in Asheville in 2014, the festival will utilize many of Durham’s downtown event venues and public spaces with a mix of ticketed and free programming.

Moogfest announced in July of last year that it would move to an every-other-year schedule in order to maintain the authenticity of such an ambitious, multi-faceted event. Following successful runs in both Asheville and New York City, the partnership with Durham will help the festival continue to grow for years to come.

Moogfest is a tribute to Dr. Robert Moog and the profound influence his inventions have had on how we hear the world. Over the last sixty years, Bob Moog and Moog Music have pioneered the analog synthesizer and other technology tools for artists. Moog Music, the company Dr. Moog founded, recently became employee-owned and expanded their operations, buying almost the entire block where the factory is located.

“Transitioning to an employee-owned company was a way to ensure everyone who works with us has a stake in Moog Music and its future,” Adams continues. “Asheville is my hometown and the home of Moog Music. Moog Music, its employees and its factory are staying right here in Asheville. We will continue to be a part of this community regardless of where Moogfest is held. Moving the festival to Durham doesn’t mean Asheville won’t still be a part of it.” For more information please visit

Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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  1. Anna July 17, 2015

    It’s sad to see MOOGFEST move out of town. It sucks that they’ve chosen to not invest in Asheville again. Unfortunate to say the least; however, I choose to remember the good times. MOOGFEST may be a distant Asheville memory, but I sure did have an amazing time while it was here.

    MOOG – Thank you for the new friends (that have become my best ones), amazing bands (that would not have come to town if not for MOOGFEST), and some of the most amazing memories and a kick-ass weekend every time you were here.

  2. Big Al July 17, 2015

    No cryin’ here about MoogFest going to Durm. It belongs in a bigger city that is already louder and more crowded. I was born & raised just outside of the Bull(shit) City and came here to get away from all of the noise, traffic and racist politics. Let them deal with Moog’s ego. Serves em’ right.

  3. bob July 16, 2015

    rumor control:
    I heard it’s all about the TDA Tourist Development Authority

    they requested the festival be weekdays & weekends (to maximize hotel revenue & minimize vacancies) & also requested the maximum number of Asheville venues be used (scattering events all over downtown).

    but then they said they wouldn’t support the festival in 2014 or ever with any financial support, & told Moog to go fck’emselves

    yet TDA gave Navitat over $500,000 last year

    TDA taxation without representation is tyranny…

    1. impressed July 18, 2015

      I heard similar things, but those were closed door conversations. You’re quite the insider.

  4. Tim Peck July 16, 2015

    More bad news just out: the LAAFF Festival is moving to Tryon.

  5. Orbit DVD July 15, 2015

    The good news is that the move frees up that sweet Asheville money for Orbitfest.

  6. Dad Drew July 15, 2015

    Not the end of the world.

    1. chris July 15, 2015

      No, it just bugs me that they looked at the lastMoogfest and saw that the issue was with Asheville. But they did SO MANY THINGS WRONG.

      From booking old old old acts as headliners, to having tech workshops where spaces were essentially doled out by lottery, to having venues so far apart that you had to walk miles per day if you wanted to see a variety, to (and this is the worst error) having a FIVE DAY FESTIVAL.

      Each of these errors alone is something that you could work around. All together, it’s a clusterf*ck of thoughtlessness and/or incompetence.

      So it’s not surprising that the default takeaway from this group is that it was the location that was to blame.

      1. Andrew Fletcher July 16, 2015

        I concur. The festival was ill-conceived and poorly executed. If they had started with something more “Asheville sized” and grown it, perhaps they would have that elusive sustainable success. If they would have spent $1.5 million and broken even instead of $3 million and lost half, they could have done it every year. Anybody with a calculator should have been able to figure out that their budget was poorly designed and their estimates on ticket sales must have been off the mark by a factor of 4 at least.

        Mioogfest, just admit it you don’t know how to run a large festival. Its the first step to getting help.

        1. cwaster July 17, 2015

          Totally agree. Also, way to go Moog- show no respect for where you got started.

          1. bob July 17, 2015

            Moogfest started in NYC

      2. AVL Neighbor July 17, 2015


        Thanks for pointing all of this out. When AC Entertainment was involved, it was simply a Moog flavored music festival. It had it’s issues, but it made no bones about what it was. Once AC was out and Moog was in charge, it was a mess. What was it? Was it a music festival? Was it a technology festival? Was it a conference? To top that off, it was on one of the worst weekends imaginable for a music festival, in direct competition with three other major music events in the southeast (JazzFest, MerleFest, and Counterpoint).

        While it is sad to see MoogFest leave, there is a complete disconnect between the city and the company. Given the huge presence of technology start-ups, Durham is actually an excellent choice for this event, it’s just a shame that everything has been handled with such vitriol.

  7. Barry Summers July 14, 2015

    From the Indyweek:

    “Though Durham has not yet allocated funds for Moogfest, council member Don Moffitt says he anticipates City Council will back the festival. The city already supports several such events. This year’s budget, for instance, allocates $55,000 to Full Frame, $36,000 to American Dance Festival and $5,000 to both Art of Cool and the Bull Durham Blues Festival. Based on Moogfest’s established brand and its previous attendance numbers, estimated as high as 25,000, Moffitt speculates the city’s contribution would be on the high side of that range.”

    In 2014, Asheville/Buncombe gave Moogfest over three times as much as Durham’s largest allocation this year. And Moog’s President acted like we peed on his shoes, it was such a pitiful subsidy.

    Good f’n luck, Durham.

    1. Phippie July 14, 2015

      Beyond the funding aspects Durham is just a much cooler place in the tech and arts sector. I’ve had 6 close friends move there. Asheville city has embraced a target demographic of the 35+ beer drinkers with families. Avant-garde noise music and upcoming cutting edge culture really doesn’t fall into that image. Wish it wasn’t true but Asheville’s profit is driven by dull and humble mountain relaxing with a side of blue grass and dad rock. Nothing wrong with any of this but it’s how they’ve chosen to brand this place.

      1. Mark From Weaverville July 14, 2015

        Phippie is spot on. Not sure if the culture was branded or simply developed over time however…

      2. Chris D. July 15, 2015

        Correct. While it’s a feather in our cap that Bob Moog chose to retire here, that doesn’t make Asheville an avant garde electronic music locale. The best thing is for Moog to expand its popularity and boost its business. The best thing for Asheville is to keep and grow the Moog manufacturing facility. Let’s think of Asheville as having been the Moogfest “incubator.” Yeah, that’s the ticket.

      3. Jenny July 15, 2015

        ” Avant-garde noise music and upcoming cutting edge culture really doesn’t fall into that image. ”

        You obviously haven’t been in Asheville long.
        Before your time Asheville had many acts come through and local that were.
        Asheville had its best music days before 2000. Before tourism took over and ruined Asheville.

        I’m glad Moogfest is moving just so we can get rid of some of the tourists.

        1. Phippie July 15, 2015

          Not before my time at all I was heavily involved in the music scene then, I grew up here.

          The point is Asheville then is not Asheville now. It’ll never be like that until the city is abandoned and forgotten about once again. Until then we march on toward our future in house flipping, beer, and EDM.

        2. NFB July 16, 2015

          “Before tourism took over and ruined Asheville.”

          Tourism “took over” Asheville long before 2000. Asheville has been a tourist town virtually since its founding.

          1. Phippie July 17, 2015

            It’s peaked and dropped off many many times in it’s history. It has not consistently been a tourist mecca. Sure the Biltmore estate, park way, and grove park have always been here. But downtown was a boarded up ghost town from the 70’s to mid 90’s. It’s changed a great deal you can’t deny that.

    2. chris July 14, 2015

      Yep. I wonder where Moogfest will move next, once this teat runs dry.

  8. Sean Lally July 14, 2015

    Yeah, I just unsubscribed from the moogfest emails. I signed up last year and paid my chunk of change just to go the seminar/meeting/whatever with the Make magazine folks only to find out that the session was filled before I even got there. Decided I wouldn’t make the effort again…

  9. chris July 14, 2015

    And, f’em.

  10. Former Reporter at WYPN July 14, 2015

    Does this mean we the taxpayers will get a refund on our 2014 investment? How much do the good people of Durham get to pony up? Will Raleigh be the next stop?

    1. Downtown Julie July 14, 2015

      In September 2014, however, an economic impact study surveying over 1,000 visiting attendees and analyzed by the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce found that Moogfest spurred some $14 million in spending within Buncombe County. Local and state taxes on this sum, analysts concluded, generated at least a 200 percent return on local government incentives.

      1. Barry Summers July 14, 2015

        You’re quoting a press release put out by Moog, about a study funded by Moog, under Moog’s parameters, based on numbers Moog provided. The EDC and Chamber put out this disclaimer:

        “The Economic Development Coalition and Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce have relied on attendance figures, as well as figures for other related economic activity, provided by Moog Music Inc. and may not be held responsible for any discrepancy.”

        Grain of salt, season to taste…

        As for tax benefit to the City, if you believe the rosiest $14 million number, according to the study, that produced $500,000 – $700,000 in “local and state tax”. Great. The lion’s share of that stays in Raleigh, the next biggest cut goes to Buncombe County and other municipalities that did nothing to generate it, and the smallest share goes back to Asheville. I’d be surprised if the City broke even on Moogfest, and Moog was demanding more subsidy.

        Thanks a lot Moog, for saying to the world: “Asheville sucks. Don’t invest there.”

        1. Downtown Julie July 14, 2015

          Fuck Asheville and its lame ass beer drinking bros.

          1. Barry Summers July 15, 2015

            That’s a little too long for a bumper sticker, but OK. Good effort.

          2. Big Al July 17, 2015

            and its’ fat, tattooed, nose-pierced hos.

  11. Tim Peck July 14, 2015

    Another festival gone. What’s that now? Six?

    1. hauntedheadnc July 14, 2015

      We complain when the festival’s in town, we complain when the festival pulls up stakes.

      If I didn’t know better, I’d think Asheville isn’t happy unless it has something to be unhappy about, but I’m quite sure that all good libertarians are thrilled to see it go. After all, enhancing the quality of life is not the government’s job, even when ponying up for a tech and music festival would have had the potential to garner big attention and pique the interest of companies looking to locate here.

      1. luther blissett July 14, 2015

        Can’t wait for MouthpieceFest 2016, a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of libertarian gobshites.

        1. chris July 15, 2015

          Each complaining how the others are invading his personal space.

          “His” because we all know that libertarianism is a (white) male affliction.

          Apart from Ayn, of course.

          Perhaps it is better called a dipshit affliction.

      2. Phippie July 14, 2015

        Could be that there are multiply opinions from many different people. Strange how that works it’s almost like we have different experiences and perspectives.

        1. hauntedheadnc July 15, 2015

          Oh indeed there are multiple opinions, but you know as well as I that the one thing that unites all Ashevillians regardless of wealth, class, race, religion, or creed, is our love of whining and our gnawing fear deep down that some day we might run out of things to complain about. To hear some people talk, Asheville is the lamest thing to mince down the pike since the Segway.

          Personally, I think we like to bitch so much because it gives us another reason to resent the tourists that are our lifeblood. It’s as if the thinking goes, “Stupid bastards… If they could only see how Third World hellhole awful this place is, they’d go away an I might be able to make a left turn on Merrimon again. Fools, the lot of them!”

          1. Former Reporter at WYPN July 15, 2015

            Totally agree. This town has two favorite pastimes: navel gazing and bitch and moan.

    2. chris July 15, 2015

      Christ, I have nightmares over what kind of culture we’d have if libertarians were in charge.

      Probably gladiators in the arena.


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