Moogfest 2017, Scheduled For May 18-21, To Focus On Musicians’ Roles In Creating A Better Future

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Moogfest organizers have made the first round of announcements for Moogfest 2017 in Durham, NC.

In 2016, Moogfest welcomed 40,000 attendees from 22 countries and 41 states (with 5.6 million livestream viewers), and did not shy away from dealing with controversy, like North Carolina’a HB2. The 2017 event will build on this, with programs that focus on musicians’ & makers’ roles in creating a better future.

“We think a little differently about what it means to be a festival,” says Moogfest Creative Director Emmy Parker. “Rather than growing year after year, we’re more concerned with how we can make a bigger impact with everything we do. Our community of makers has the power to design a beautifully innovative and equitable future. It’s our responsibility to provide a platform that encourages them to create this change.”

By day, the festival will explore Future Thought, a series of presentations, conversations, workshops and installations. By night, Moogfest will explore Future Sound, with performances by early pioneers in electronic music, alongside pop and avant garde experimentalists.

The initial programming announcement focuses on the daytime “Future Thought” programming. Later announcements will focus on keynotes, headliners and “Future Sound” acts.

Lineup Announcement, Volume One:

Special Presentations

Following up with her Re-Wired series where she collaborates with electronic production and design students at Berklee College of Music, Nona Hendryx will present a performance and demonstration of her wearable tech instruments.

Her career has spanned decades and put her at the forefront of funk, soul, R&B, pop, hard-rock, new-wave, and new-age music. From being a member of the iconic trio ‘Labelle’ famous for their hit ‘Lady Marmalade’ to an 8 studio-album solo career to translating her passion for tech into a full-on 2nd career as a Visual Artist — Hendryx is a constantly evolving creator and visionary.

Grammy Award Nominated Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of S U R V I V E, Austin’s retro-leaning synth act, will present music from their original nostalgia-flickering score to Netflix’s ‘acclaimed series Stranger Things ahead of the slated release of the popular show’s second season in 2017.

Wolf Eyes, co-presented by Trip Metal Fest, will host a workshop and conversation. Through their own use of technology with sonic protest, Detroit’s notorious noise band recently allowed fans to download their back catalogue from their Bandcamp, for a donation going towards various charities representing reproductive rights, LGBT causes and pro-immigrant foundations.

RVNG Intl., the Brooklyn-based record label known for numerous experimental dance and electronic artists, will host its own program at Moogfest this year, co-presenting two workshops with Portland’s Visible Cloaks who explore “fourth-world undercurrents in modest Japanese ambient synth and pop music” and Canada’s 1970s synth pop pioneers Syrinx.

Durationals – Moogfest continues its durational sound installation series. Pure sonic immersion will take place over three days of Moogfest. Each performance will unfold over a span of three to four hours, where anything can happen. This year’s highlights feature artists who will host the audience in intimate spaces while creating never-before-seen personalized sensory experiences.

Known for her documentarian approach, soundscape designer, poet, and activist Moor Mother aka Camae Ayewa will host a durational plus time travel sound workshop with Portland based Synth Library, who offer modular synthesizer workshops to female and non-binary music enthusiasts.

A collaboration between cavernous sound designer/producer The Haxan Cloak aka Bobby Krlic and Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner who makes his return to Moogfest for his second play.

Synth experimentalist, esteemed UK producer of celebrated electronic duo Simian Mobile Disco, Jas Shaw will perform a 4 hour durational.

The ultimate durational at Moogfest will be this year’s all immersive all-night sleep concert, led by new age musician, composer, and laughter meditation workshop leader Laraaji and co-presented by Stones Throw/Leaving Records, a hand-curated cassette driven label whose international reach belies its boutique status and DIY style.

This will mark Laraaji’s debut 8-hour sleep concert, in which he describes that ‘participants will imagine their self in the present time of a sincere desire, dream vision being fulfilled. Gentle ambient celestial sounds and tones unfold over an eight hour period with zither, and various instruments supporting rest and trance, in an extended yoga SAVASANA. Participants awake with a 15 minute guided laughter meditation.'”

Program Highlights and 2017 Themes

Organizers shared these summaries of the themes/tracks for the 2017 event:

  • The Future of Creativity – World-renowned futurists, philosophers and visionary artists tackle the big questions with daily keynote presentations: What will creative work look like, and sound like, in twenty, fifty, and one-hundred years from now? How will art be made and how will it be consumed? What will be the tools for creative expression in the future?
  • Hacking Systems – The resurgence of a technological Maker Culture is undeniable, and Moogfest is a gathering for all those enthused by new tools for creative expression. Conversations, workshops, and installations will not only explore hardware and physical computing, but also reflect on how the last decade has been transformed by a host of arts-engineering software toolkits like Processing, Arduino, and openFrameworks.
  • Instrument Design – Since the first humans stood upright, people have been compelled to make sounds and compose them into rhythm and song. Humanity progresses, societies evolve, and expressions, representations, and tastes shift wildly, but the drive to make tools that produce music will always permeate all cultures. Once instrument builders first began to harness electronic technologies into new possibilities for instrument design, the door opened to radical innovations in performance, creation, and control. These are boundless tools: from the first synthesizers to the ‘smart’ instruments of today that interpret and enhance the music played on them. Meet the instrument designers that create the aesthetics and customs of future music.
  • The Joyful Noise of STEAM – What we teach kids today inspires what they create tomorrow. Moogfest is dedicated to highlighting the joyful intersection of technology and the arts through experimentation, workshops, performance & conversation. We engage an all ages audience in hands-on programming designed to empower the next generation of inventors in the core disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math.
  • Protest – WE are the agents of change in this world. We are the artists, activists, and innovators who can raise consciousness and organize resistance to redesign our future. The forward movement of science and society doesn’t have to mean dystopia—it could mean more advanced problem-solving technology and increasingly innovative ways to use that technology for justice. So how can we use our resources to synthesize change? How do the musical and scientific instruments we dream of in our beds and tinker with in our homes light the way to future and better worlds?
  • Sci-Fi Wishes and Utopian Dreams – Science Fiction has long been a way for artists to explore unknown futures. Authors, musicians, philosophers and filmmakers use scientific discovery and technical insight as the springboard to create entertaining and provocative works, while the engineers and researchers of today are inspired by utopian visions and otherworldly inventions. This interplay between imagination and actual innovation, idealist dreams and dystopian visions, are increasingly tangled as space travel, cybernetics, super-computing, robotics, and automation become everyday realities.
  • Spatial Sound – The spatial location of sound is as important as pitch and rhythm. Experiments with “Spatial Music” have informed composition since the early nineteen-hundreds. But today, 21st century technologies for audio recording, production, and playback have revived an interest in surround sound and the three-dimensional potential of electronic music. Venues outfitted with surround sound environments prompt performances each night, with daily conversations about audio production and sound systems.
  • Transhumanism – Evolution has been a slow natural process that we are externalizing and accelerating through technology and creativity. Humans have long sought to transform nature with agriculture and medicine, employing biotechnologies to manipulate living systems, and even our own bodies. Today, biotechnology has expanded to include cloning and genetic engineering, organ transplants and prosthetics, computer science and biorobotics… even bio-art. An exciting creative territory is revealing itself, along with new ethical, social, and aesthetic challenges.
  • Techno-Shamanism – In regards to where he pulled his innovative ideas from, Bob Moog said, “Everything has some consciousness, and we tap into that. It’s about energy at its most basic level.” But how do we tune into that noosphere and bring next wave ideas to the fore? Who are the seers today, and how are they integrating technology into new “shamanic” practices in art and science? How do we understand rituals of trance in the context of electronic music? How can ancient traditions and cutting-edge brain research inform our pursuit of ecstasy?

Ticket Information

Festival Pass – $249 – General Admission for the duration of the event. Access to all festival venues for performances and conference programming: conversations, workshops, and installations. Workshops are available via RSVP. VIP Festival Pass holders will receive first priority on a limited basis.

VIP Festival Pass – $499 – VIP access for the duration of the event. Priority access to all festival venues for performances and conference programming: conversations, workshops, and installations. Access to exclusive VIP viewing areas and events and gift bag. Complimentary food and drink in select locations. Workshops are available via RSVP. VIP Festival Pass holders will receive first priority on a limited basis.”

Engineer Festival Pass (limited quantity) – $1500 – This two-day synth-building workshop, led by Moog engineers, invites a select group of enthusiasts to build their very own unreleased Moog analog synthesizer and sequencer. The hands-on workshop is conducted in two, three-hour sessions within the Pop-up Moog production facility. No experience necessary, but basic soldering knowledge is recommended. Participants in the Engineering workshop also have VIP access for the duration of the event. Priority access to all festival venues for performances and conference programming: conversations, workshops, and installations. Access to exclusive VIP viewing areas and events and gift bag. Complimentary food and drink in select locations. Workshops are available via RSVP. Engineer Festival Pass holders will receive first priority on a limited basis. Pre-Sale Engineer Festival Passes available for a limited time, while supplies last.

See the Moogfest site for details.

14 thoughts on “Moogfest 2017, Scheduled For May 18-21, To Focus On Musicians’ Roles In Creating A Better Future

  1. Hard to believe the hypocrisy of this given the prices of moog equipment and their ultra decadent gold plated voyager etc Just scanned ticket prices and this ‘poor artist; can’t afford to go .So much for contributing to a better world . I will have to sit out this one whilst the great and the good swap pats on the back in an elitist manner.

    1. Brandon

      A three-day event is a massive endeavor, and Moogfest’s price is much cheaper than things like Lollapaloza.

      The fact that this is a three day event for electronic musicians, AND its world-class, AND it’s priced affordably is amazing. I’ve been to two, and they were both fantastic. I had my chance to meet Keith Emerson before he died, see Bernie Worrel, too, to see Kraftwerk, to see a once-in-a-lifetime Buchla event with Suzanne Ciani and Morton Subotnick. Sorry you think that’s ‘elitist’.

      Frankly, your dismissing this event and the people that attend it comes off as way more elitist than people spending $250 to have one of their best weekends of the year.

      Check the mirror before you comment next time, plz.

    2. I agree. What a wishy washy premise for a synth festival. This is the kind of thing I might expect from the likes of Bono or U2. Just because you might be a musician or even a musician that uses synths, does not mean that your role is to create a better future. The idea that music somehow “unifies us all” is a bit of a cliché and is at best a bit pretentious and at worst plain wrong. Some of us maybe. Cynical yes, but music and musicians will not solve the world’s problems

      1. Namaste, ya’ll. I just want to let everyone know I’ll be hosting the “Living Water, Healing Crystals and Pyramid Power” workshop at Moogfest. Attendees can register to win an artisanal burlap sack containing magical power crystals (a $20.00 value). Fun fact: if you sleep under a pyramid, Bob Moog will visit you in a vision and show you your spirit animal. Mine’s a honey badger! Hope to see you at Moogfest!

    3. Good intentions and happy thoughts don’t change the economics of building synths or running a festival. Frankly, I believe Moog has a significant brand markup and they also probably have high manufacturing costs (built in the USA, right?), but they do make things in a number of price ranges (Mother 32? Minitaur?) most likely to be accessible to artists with less money.

      But being charitable with your pricing isn’t the only way to be “good”. The festival price is extremely competitive, and if the Moog tax helps make the festival happen and attendees leave with more empathy and inspiration to protest or think differently about other people’s experiences, rights, feelings, etc then overall that’s arguably just as good, if not better.

      If you’re salty about the festival not being in the budget, they might have financing options, but otherwise it sounds like you have a narrow view of what actions are consistent with the moral position of Moogfest and it doesn’t seem to be helpful to limit yourself or others in that way.

      1. I just want to comment that yes, Moog equipment can lean to the expensive side – but I don’t think it is “brand mark-up” – I think it’s merely the cost of sturdy, extremely well-engineered hardware. I’ve never regretted a dime I’ve spent on Moog equipment – and they’ve got a lot of my dimes.

  2. I don’t really have a issue with the price of this festival but I do have issues with the marketing of it and the direction it appears to be taking. The first wave of cheap tickets were announced within minutes of us leaving Moogfest 2016. This was well before they said anything about how they’d be addressing the numerous problems from last year’s events. The next price increase happened BEFORE the above announcements which fail to give an event goer a clear idea of what will be available. Instead they just throw out generalities and a small handful of artists. As someone who has taken full advantage of this festival for several years now, I seriously doubt I’ll be attending. While I love hearing professionals both talk and perform in a more intimate setting, I cannot get over my doubts that the festival as a whole is headed downhill. I know they have to evolve but the quality needs to remain intact. The workshop lottery systems was a mess last year. Too many presenters were not given adequate time to setup. Venues were overcrowded and most the volunteers had little to no training.

    1. It seems to be pretty, or increasingly, standard to have “early bird” tickets without a lineup. I don’t like it, but I bought my early bird moogfest ticket right away because even without getting into limited attendance workshops, there’s enough to do to make it worth the money.

      Last year was the first year in Durham though, right? That probably contributed to the difficulties, so there should be fewer unknowns contributing to issues this year.

  3. I would respect if they acknowledged a much more laissez-faire era which led to the innovations at Bell and other American companies, leading to transistors that could be used to make synths, etc. But I know that is not the premise here. The future is a PC totalitarian future where elites tell us what is good and bad.

  4. How can Moog be working towards an equitable future for all in the state of North Carolina, with its bathroom bills and other ridiculous anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ laws? I’m skeptical Moog’s customers worldwide will convince the state legislators of anything, other than “wooo look at this tax revenue.” The best statement we can make is to avoid Moogfest, and let Moog know that we’re not interested in participating until North Carolina stops trying to turn the clock back to 1850.

    1. “The best statement we can make is to avoid Moogfest, and let Moog know that we’re not interested in participating until North Carolina stops trying to turn the clock back to 1850.”

      The problem with that attitude is that not everybody is privileged enough to just avoid dealing with places, people and things that they don’t like.

      Moog’s based in Asheville – so they’re stuck dealing with discriminatory legislation. They committed to hosting Moogfest in Durham for 5 years – BEFORE North Carolina went antebellum. And the people that live in NC are stuck with it, unless they fight it.

      Moog’s approach is reasonable – trying to turn lemons into lemonade, using the situation as a way to look at how artists can shape the culture that creates these types of laws.

      The important thing is for reasonable businesses and people to use their clout to do what’s right, and it’s probably going to take fighting this in a lot of different ways. Even though NC has a new governor, the legislature is still out to use the discriminatory aspects of HB2 as a tool to distract you from other aspects of the law that screw over EVERYONE in the state.

  5. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein will be there!
    Maybe they’ll workshop with attendees on how to S U R V I V E the next 4 years.

  6. A professional event management firm took over Moogfest. It turned it into a typical Hype based event where, if you look at what you got for your money, you realize you were taken. Many presentations that appeared serious turned out to be forums for the sponsors. I sat through a panel on how to improve the local business park, sponsored by IBM? I don’t remember anything like that at Lollapolooza. That was wall-to-wall music of top acts. Same price. I really looked forward to Suzanne Ciani. She was completely unprepared. It was ad lib. Oddly it was one of a few durational performances (4 hours). She has 20 minutes of performance, repeated it twice and then filled the gaps with warm smiles and allowing people behind the DJ-like setup. And unfortunately R.Devine is an analytical glitch monster. A participant into that type of performance has to struggle to find music. Jam’s in the evening were good but the venues were way too small and acoustics equally bad. No way to recover from that. Moog needs to find a new event management team that reflects their integrity and charter as an instrument maker.

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