Moogfest Regroups, Plans 2016 Return


Moogfest 2014, held in Asheville, NC April 23-27, was an ambitious undertaking that transformed Moogfest into an international event.

It also lost about $1.5 million.

In response, organizers have announced that there will be no Moogfest 2015, but that it will return in 2016 as a biennial event.

Here’s what they have to say about the decision:

moogfest-2014The decision to produce Moogfest biennially is in an effort to maintain the authenticity of the event, as well as the financial and spiritual health of Moog Music and its employees, whose primary focus will always be designing and building synthesizers.

“Moogfest 2014 was a proof of concept so we could experiment with a new business, a unique format, and a new creative direction,” says Mike Adams, Moog Music Inc. President & CEO. “Producing Moogfest every other year allows us to retain the high level of innovative programming as well as the originality and independence we established in 2014.”

This new iteration of Moogfest, with Moog Music Inc. at the helm, brought thousands of musicians, inventors, engineers, futurists, ethicists, visual artists and their fans together to discuss the future of technology and creativity. It established a space for conversation and collaboration while bringing visibility to North Carolina as an international hub of new ideas. Musical performers included legends like Kraftwerk, Keith Emerson, Nile Rogers and Giorgio Moroder alongside future and current stars like M.I.A., Flying Lotus, Dan Deacon, and Factory Floor.

“This future-forward version of Moogfest is in its infancy,” says Emmy Parker, Brand Director of Moogfest and Moog. “It will take some time for it to grow, but it’s clear that people want an unadulterated ideas-based festival that combines new art, music and technology. Moogfest is a personification of the Moog ethos and we’re honored to dedicate a full two years for curating each festival, with a sustainable, long-term plan for maintaining this platform for all those who share our passion.”

As a pioneer in electronic music and the inventor of the Moog synthesizer, Bob Moog was an innovator who introduced the world to the sound of the future. Moogfest, a five-day synthesis of music, technology and art, held April 23-27 in Asheville, N.C., brought an equal ferocity of spirit to the festival that bears his name.

16 thoughts on “Moogfest Regroups, Plans 2016 Return

    1. Agreed. While North Carolina may be a hub of creativity… it’s still not the mecca of electronic music that Washington State, California, Chicago, or New York, etc. is. Same goes for the economics and population of the area. Moog could reap a much greater profit AND cater to their biggest clients if they would find a more appropriate venue. Go where the money and musicians are…

      1. You forgot Portland Oregon, and Vancouver BC. Plus, there are several international airports on the west coast, and you know folks would fly in for the event.

      1. Moog music is based out of Asheville. I live around Asheville and Moog is an integral part of the community. Moogfest isn’t about making money or hawking merchandise. It is a celebration of a great company and a great man’s legacy and I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate venue than in the city Bob Moog loved so dearly.

        1. Horse shit.

          Moog is a business. If they aren’t doing this to make money, and instead lose $1.5 million, then they are fools! Especially in this economy. Plain and simple.

  1. How did they end up with no connectivity between what they knew it would cost and how much they suspected it would bring in? Everyone who was involved has been in music-related business for decades. Did the running of what amounts to a trade show suddenly become a big mystery? I wouldn’t mind if they had all this sussed ahead of time, but I’m getting the impression that the final result somewhat surprised them and now they are backpedaling. Maybe making the star of the show the attendees and the instruments instead of huge names (with huge price tags–which clearly did not work as intended) might have been the way to go. How about booking all independent up-and-coming artists for the next one? But, I suppose I’m locking the barn door here.

  2. The first couple Coachella festivals lost money as well. It takes time to build interest and awareness for the more casual music fan.

  3. It’s marketing seemed very pretentious and pretty much aimed at those with cash’
    Gold plated moogs where a bad move.
    Cant say this English muso is surprised.

  4. As someone who was there, it was one of the best festivals I’ve been too. I’ve been to festivals with more stacked line ups and attendance, but the spirit of this festival was what set it apart. It was populated by music nerds, and there was a lot less in the way of 23 year old girls with flowers in their hair and temporary tattoos. It was for the lovers of music more than for the cool kids of music. That may not be financially the best move yet, but I think they set a great tone that differentiates themselves from an over saturated market of festivals that is being increasingly a circuit of the same bands regurgitated in different places.

    So I’d say there’s a lot of value in what Moog did, and if it makes sense for them to do it biannually, then I’ll get excited about the next one a year from now.

    1. Moogfest 2014 was the best yet, but it was clear that they tried to get big faster than was realistic. They had more attending than ever before, but blew their wad doing it and you could see a lot of money going to waste, mainly on artists.

      It seems like it should be easy to fix the financial issues, though, without compromising the event.

      Figure out the audience – synth freaks, not the Coachella crowd.

      Realize that big sponsors aren’t going to sponsor the event, because it’s Moog-fest, not Korg-fest, Google-Fest or a more generic Synth-fest.

      Get rid of the headliners at free stages, make people pay for them.

      Cut way back on the quintuple scheduling of events. There were constantly 5 things going on, spread across 10 different venues, Too much you had to miss!

      Get focused and disciplined. This year, it looked like nobody said no to anything.

      Fix the Moogfest site so it’s usable and easy to read. This year’s was super-crappy.

      Market the event to synth freaks, not random music fans.

      Get organized. There was a lot of disorganization, which was disrespectful to some of the gurus like Dave Smith, Roger Linn and others, who had to compete to be heard.

  5. I expect that they did a calculation of the marketing value of Moogfest and determined that it wasn’t worth 1.5 million but worth half or more than that. I agree that they should take it on the road to other parts of the world, Maybe they could return to NC every other time.

  6. I hope they don’t become the Arp of the 21st century. I wonder how much the ‘talent’ charged Moog for appearing?

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