It's impossible to understate the importance of Bob Moog, inventor of the Moog Synthesizer and founder of Moog Music, the leading producer of analog synthesizers in the world. His synth laid the foundation of electronic music, forming the backbone of German group Kraftwerk's game changing sound and casting an immeasurable influence over disco, the precursor to house music, thanks to devotees like synth legend Giorgio Moroder, who harnessed Moog's sound for Donna Summer's timeless hits “Love to Love you Baby” and “I Feel Love.”
Though Moog himself sadly passed away in 2005, his legacy lives on through Moog Music's ever-popular range of synths – which in recent years has added the Voyager and Little Phatty to its range - and Moogfest, the annual festival of technology, talks and performances, which launched in 2004.
This year's edition takes place on April 23-27 in downtown Asheville, NC. Set over five days and nights, it's as much a feast for the mind as the ears, with over 60 panels, presentations, discussions and film screenings providing a counterpoint to the 10 venues offering late night thrills. Featuring globally recognized names like Moroder and '70s singer and experimental performance artist Laurie Anderson, alongside the creative thinking of everyone from artists to engineers, this is where the future is beingforged amongst the greatest minds of the past and present.
Given its esteemed heritage, Moogfest is also the place to catch electronic and dance music pioneers. So this year, good times gang Chic, featuring the rejuvenated Nile Rodgers, join the aforementioned Kraftwerk (who promise “a perfectly synchronized audio-visual spectacle complete with pristine digital sound and breathtaking 3-D projections”), Moroder and Anderson for a monumental slice of history.
But this is by no means a retro-fest. With leading contemporary labels including Warp Records, No. 19, Fool's Gold and Ghostly International amongst those curating musical showcases, Art Department, Kaytranada, Soul Clap and The Gaslamp Killer all sit on a line-up that digs deeper than the standard main stage festival fare to provide an experience that's both visceral and cerebral.
Nighttime tickets start at $199, while general admission tickets come in at $299. Drop a cool $10,000 on a VIP Legacy Package though and you'll get an unforgettable experience, which includes two synth-building workshops with the Moog engineers. This is your opportunity to build, modify and take home an unreleased Moog synthesizer!
If your budget doesn't stretch that far, fear not, because Moogfest also puts on events for the general public to get involved. With a five day electronic instrument pop-up shop, where in the previous years you've been able to rub shoulders with Bowie producer Brian Eno, and a four day street festival featuring art installations and live music, Moogfest holds the keys to an experience for all the senses.