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Arts & Culture

Moogfest Comes To Durham Next Year

Cue the electronic swishes, fanfares, musical washes and swirly sounds, as Moogfest announces that it will be held in Durham, NC, next year. 

Leaders from civic organizations, cultural institutions, government and business announced on Tuesday that Moogfest, a festival of music, art and technology, will be hosted in Durham  in May 2016.

"Our vision is to complement and support Durham’s momentum as a capital of technology, culture and entertainment," said Emmy Parker, Brand Director at Moog Music. "Stakeholders from throughout the Triangle are helping us shape the festival so that it reflects the incredible research and creativity of the region, and serves as an international destination for innovators all over the world."

The festival combines panels and exhibits on creative technology in the music industry with concerts featuring Moog synthesizers, named after the electronic music pioneer Robert Moog. At the festival's announcement, Parker asked the crowd at the Full Frame Theater in Durham how many had heard of a Moog synthesizer. Close to the whole crowd of a hundred people raised their hands.

"Wow, we must be at the right place," Parker said with a proud smile.

Below is a preview of what is in store for Moogfest 2016:

Keith Emerson, classic prog rocker and performer with Moog synthesizers
Credit Moogfest
Keith Emerson, classic prog rocker and performer with Moog synthesizers

Inventor Robert Moog shown with examples of early Moog synthesizers.
Credit Public Domain
Public Domain
Inventor Robert Moog shown with examples of early Moog synthesizers.

Moogfest began in New York City in 2004 and moved to Asheville, the adopted home of Robert Moog, in 2010.   Moog had also been a research professor of music at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Moog died in Asheville in 2005.

Robert Moog began working with early electronic music circuits and keyboards in the early 1960s and continued to develop the Moog analog synthesizer for much of his remaining lifetime.

Moogfest is known for presenting performances by early pioneers in electronic music, alongside pop and avant garde experimentalists of today. Over the last several years, the festival has evolved to include a conference for creative and technology professionals. In 2014, Moogfest worked with Google Creative Lab, MIT Media Lab, EYEO and the New Museum on innovative concepts for daytime programming. Moogfest officials say they plan to bring similar partnerships to Durham in 2016.

Michael Page chairs the Durham County Board of Commissioners, a city group that helped bring Moogfest to Durham. He said the Bull City is a center for innovative events like this at Tuesday's announcement.

"In just a few years, Moogfest has established itself as an international destination for people who love music, technology, art, and to sum it all up, exploration. All of this makes it a perfect fit for Durham," Page said.

The next Moogfest will run May 19-22, 2016. The Moog Music headquarters remains in Asheville.

Just in case you don't know what a Moog sounds like here are some video examples:

Some rather technical demonstration on a Mini Moog and a full size Moog:

Here's Kraftwerk performing at the 2014 Moogfest in Asheville:

In 2014 on The State of Things, Frank Stasio talked with Detroit-based techno music performer Erika Sherman about her history in programming and production, and bringing her sound to Moogfest.

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