From April 23–27, the latest installment of Moogfest will take place in Asheville, NC. Excitement has swirled for months over the fact that the legendary Kraftwerk will perform three separate instances of their “3D” show, Nile Rogers will perform with Chic, the Pet Shop Boys will appear and mega-producer and dance music pioneer Giorgio Moroder will play.
And indeed, those are four of the major reasons I want to be there. But through a deeper reading of the festival’s schedule I’ve found multiple things to get psyched about, including Sasha, Flying Lotus, Egyptian Lover, Mix Master Mike and more.
Now in its 10th year of existence, Moogfest was founded in New York but moved to Asheville (the adopted home of its namesake Robert Moog) in 2010. After taking 2013 off, it appears to be back with a vengeance.
The daytime portion of the four-day event is packed with speakers and technical demonstrations/expos. After being somewhat disappointed in the speaker offering from SXSW the past couple years, I’m looking forward to catching talks from Saul Williams, Gretta Cohn, David X. Cohen, Keith Emerson and the aforementioned Moroder. All told, there are 81 speakers who will address audiences across a total of 24 panels and workshops. (Sadly, the previously announced Laurie Anderson had to cancel her appearance.)
Moog Music, presenter of Moogfest, is seemingly quite ambitious in what Ashville’s local paper is describing as a very finicky and potentially difficult festival market. Several Asheville-area events—even long-running ones—have shuttered recently. After the city pulled funding from the Bele Chere street festival, which since 1979 had been Asheville’s “signature” city event, after local leaders put the call out for a new event that would attract tourism, further downtown revitalization—and , hopefully, industry—to the area, Moogfest presented its proposal. The city backed it with at least one grant of $90,000. (Estimated tax revenue from the festival is around $240,000).
Although the majority of performances will take place in concert halls and clubs, there are several free shows taking place, including performances by Moroder, Mix Master Mike and Egyptian Lover. (Seriously, the number of no-cost happenings at Moogfest is pretty staggering.)
That said, depending on your sense of value, tickets for the rest of the fest may be well worth the cost. Full-on regular passes for the week run $299, but if you really wanna jazz it up you can go all in for the $10,000—no, not kidding—Legacy VIP package, which includes all sorts of bonuses including an actual Moog voyager XL, an exclusive dinner with Keith Emerson, airport transportation, etc.
Needless to say, I’m not doing that. But I will be there on the ground, hopefully learning a lot. See, I’m not terribly technically oriented, and Moogfest is very tech-heavy. But I’m a gigantic fan of experimental, beat-based dance music, atmospheric dreamscapes, subterranean hip hop, icy-cold synths and minimalism of all kinds. I think things are going to be just fine.
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