Future Fest: Moogfest Melds Tech, Art and Music In Downtown Durham

Apr 25, 2019

Keyboardist Jonathan Lim (front left) of Washington, D.C. and music producer Brandon Collins of Raleigh explore the sounds of the synth keyboard at Moogfest in 2017.
Credit Laura Pellicer / WUNC

If you’ve noticed an abundance of black minimalist attire in downtown Durham, you are not alone. Moogfest artists and attendees have descended on the Southern city, and they’ve brought their clean, tech aesthetic with them.

The festival that fuses together music, art and technology celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. And it's seen quite the journey in that decade and a half. Starting as a one-day event in New York City in 2004, Moogfest took its experimental ethos to Asheville in 2010. Six years later, the festival headed east finally settling in Durham.

Robert Moog’s legacy is the lifeblood of the festival and unifying factor that brings together artists, futurists, technology activists, and general revelers. Moog revolutionized electronic music with the invention of the Moog synthesizer. Today, a range of Moog-brand synths are handbuilt at the company’s factory in Asheville, North Carolina, the adopted home of Robert Moog.

 

The festival runs Thursday, April 25 through Sunday April 28 in venues centered in downtown Durham. Full festival passes or one-day festival passes are available for purchase online.

 

Here is a sampling of the Moogfest lineup:

The ever-popular Moog Marketplace invites the public to mix and modulate on a variety of synthesizers and electronic instruments. The marketplace is located in Bay 7 of the American Tobacco Historic Campus and is open during the full fest.

Local DJ collectives Mamis and the Papis and Party Illegal plays free shows Thursday night at Quarterhorse.

 

New Zealand artist Kimbra takes over The Armory on Thursday night in a show limited to festival pass holders. German techno DJ Stephan Bodzin takes the stage later that night.

Madame Gandhi hosts a workshop Friday afternoon on “Electronic Music Making as a Source of Personal Liberation” with a focus on inviting women, trans and female-identified attendees.

Questlove of the Grammy Award-winning band The Roots, house band on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, plays a free show Saturday afternoon at the Cage at American Tobacco Historic Campus.

 

On Sunday afternoon, attendees can ”tune into the secret life of plants” with an experimental listening session led by artist Bryan Noll, aka Lightbath. Noll uses tech to turn plant biometrics into music. Comfortable clothes recommended, green thumb not required.

 

The full Moogfest schedule can be found here.