Moogfest 2018 in Review

Article Contributed by UG Strategies | Published on Monday, May 21, 2018

Moogfest, the annual celebration of the legacy of inventor and synthesizer pioneer Bob Moog, lit up downtown Durham this weekend in the festival’s third year with a fresh look, renewed energy, and major contribution to the city’s economy.

The Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau announced on Friday that the festival is expected to generate about $200,000 in tax revenue for the city while also injecting nearly $7 million into the local economy from the 6000 people who attended, performed at, and worked for the festival. Official numbers will be released soon.

For four days, this year’s festival transformed the downtown Durham vibe into a veritable playground of pop-up performances, transformative performance installations from its Spatial Sound centerpiece, and interactive art such as the Nokia Bell Labs and Delta Sound Labs data-art set, “Vorticity,” or R.E.M. co-founder and visual artist Michael Stipe’s A/V dance piece, “Thibault Dance.” The festival’s free stage in the heart of the American Tobacco Campus on Saturday drew an hundreds more in addition to the officially counted numbers, with performances by hip-hop legends Pete Rock and Ali Shaheed Muhammed, plus indie-soul songwriter Moses Sumney.

Moogfest live-streamed the nine performances from its Spatial Sound programming, garnering an audience of thousands across the world for acts performing in the Durham Armory, with highlights including Mouse on Mars, Jenny Hval, Yves Tumor, Suzanne Ciani, and more.

Moogfest also announces that Super Early Bird tickets for the 2019 festival are now available with an offer of $80 for General Admission and $120 for VIP passes until May 22 at 11:59pm ET. Super Early Bird tickets are exclusively available for 2018 ticketholders.

Earlier in the week, Moog Music Inc. announced its newest semi-modular synthesizer, the Grandmother, which was being built on-site the Moog Pop-Up Factory throughout the weekend. The release was extremely successful, with its initial production run selling out before the festival ended, finding its way into the hands of participating artists such as Madame Gandhi and Nick Hook of Spiritual Friendship, who used it during their Thursday afternoon Durational Performance, which they’ve made available for listening here.

Despite only being on the market for a few days, Grandmother became a centerpiece in other sets throughout the weekend, a hallmark of the fluidity that Moogfest artists are given in its programming. Vanguard jazz flutist Nicole Mitchell, who held the Sunday Durational as the festival’s closing performance, commented about the nature of that creative freedom that invited artists are afforded shortly after the close of her four-hour performance.

“It was such a huge honor to be invited. They trusted me to do a four-hour performance and to do it solo, and it’s rare to do an American festival where you feel there’s complete trust in the artist to do something different,” Mitchell said. “I felt supported to stretch out and be daring, and that was a really special experience for me.

Moogfest 2019 will take place on April 25-28.