Moogfest 2017: Program Themes & Lineup Announcement
Hailed as “the most adventurous and cutting edge” festival of 2016, Moogfest returns with a commitment to futurist conversations and performances that wrestle with our historic moment, and reflect on the festival’s home in North Carolina.
In celebration of its 11th iteration, Moogfest will unveil its lineup over the next 11 weeks through their weekly “Future Thought Future Sound” email newsletter, inviting the Moogfest community to explore program themes like Transhumanism, Techno-shamanism and Protest.
For this year’s festival, one-time-only presentations are being developed by artists like: Wearable tech maven Nona Hendryx, Activist and Soundscape designer Moor Mother, Prolific Guitarist and Composer Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grammy-nominated ‘Stranger Things’ Composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of S U R V I V E, Experimental multi-instrumentalist The Haxan Cloak, Esteemed Producer Jas Shaw of Simian Mobile Disco, Notorious Noise Band Wolf Eyes Co-presented by Trip Metal Fest, Ambient Pioneer Laraaji Co-presented by Stones Throw/Leaving, Visible Cloaks and Syrinx Co-presented by RVNG Intl., and more…
The independent, annual, four-day festival will take place in
Durham, North Carolina from May 18-21, 2017.
Durham, NC (January 10, 2017): Moogfest is committed to growing a global community of futurists who explore emerging sound technologies and design radical instruments for change. 2017 marks the eleventh iteration of a festival that brings together artists, futurist thinkers, inventors, entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, scientists, and musicians. Moogfest is proud to present its annual event in Durham, North Carolina, alongside a booming technology scene, at the center of the famed Research Triangle, in the beloved home state of the late visionary Dr. Robert Moog. In 2016, Moogfest welcomed 40,000 attendees from 22 countries and 41 states (with 5.6 million livestream viewers), despite boycotts and corporate divestment after HB2, the controversial ‘bathroom bill’. “It’s fitting that Durham is the site of Moogfest once again,” said Shelly Green, President & CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Durham has a long history of embracing diversity as well as activism against discrimination, so we welcome Moogfest and this theme with open arms.”
The recent state and national elections, and the ensuing chaos in the North Carolina legislature, affirm the need for safe spaces where creative communities can imagine new and inclusive futures. Moogfest is an independent festival dedicated to this vision. Last year’s keynote presenter, Dr. Martine Rothblatt, founder of Sirius Radio and now CEO of United Therapeutics, a North Carolina-based biotechnology company, offered “…huge praise to the organizers of Moogfest for turning this into a protest festival,” before reminding everyone that “…we are makers, and we have to make our way out of oppression.” This dynamic of resistance alongside creativity returns in 2017 with program themes that include Protest,Transhumanism, and Hacking Systems and legendary artists such as Wolf Eyes who speak very openly about their participation in Moogfest this year: “We have never been activists, but in this day and age it has become clear that we need to use our music as a carrier signal to fight against all forms of prejudice. Rather than boycotting North Carolina, we are excited to participate in building a network of artists and activists by collaborating with Moogfest.”
Speaking to the ways in which Moogfest reimagines the typical music festival and tech conference, Moogfest Creative Director, Emmy Parker explains, “We think a little differently about what it means to be a festival. 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.”
As Moogfest prepares for its 11th iteration in May, an immense roster of talent will be revealed on a weekly basis through the festival’s free “Future Thought Future Sound” email publication. This weekly digest will also include a varying mix of news, commentary and exclusive content from the Moogfest community of artists and thinkers.
To receive updates and join the global conversation, sign up here.
Each week, Moogfest will release exclusive content from artists participating in Moogfest 2017. Today we premiere a new remix by King Britt of Moogfest 2017 artist Moor Mother’s critically-acclaimed “Time Float”.
“This remix represents Philadelphia at its best, King Britt has been an artist that I have had the honor to perform with and learn many things just by watching him. Time Float speaks about the environmental warfare that continues to plague historical African American and low income communities.” – Moor Mother
By day, the festival will explore ‘Future Thought‘—a daytime series of presentations, conversations, workshops and installations. By night, Moogfest celebrates ‘Future Sound’ with nighttime performances by early pioneers in electronic music, alongside pop and avant garde experimentalists. Today’s announcement kicks off its initial release of daytime Future Thought programming themes and participants, and as the weeks go on, Moogfest will reveal further details including keynotes and headliners plus 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, the legendary 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. Audiences will be fueled with nuances of forbidding eerie and sparse droning analog synths tinged with noirish ambient flourishes and menacing atonal extraterrestrial compositions.
A veritable spearhead of the US noise scene for nearly two decades, known for their claustrophobic atmospheres, 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 marginalised 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’sVisible 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 andYeah 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.
Robert Rich made a stunning return with his first Sleep Concert in 13 years at Moogfest 2016. 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:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Learn more at www.moogfest.com.
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.
Payment plans are also available. Simply select ‘Monthly Payments with Affirm’ as your payment method during checkout. More details are available here.
To celebrate the legacy of Bob Moog, an engineer who worked in partnership with artists to invent new creative tools, Moogfest reimagines the tech conference and music festival by taking the best of both formats to create a completely new type of experience. Hailed as “a sci-fi dance party with a Ph.D. in STEM” by The New York Times, Moogfest 2017 will gather more than 1–+ technologists, musicians, and artists to explore new technologies that are pushing the boundaries of creative expression. Moogfest returns to its new home, Durham, North Carolina, named one the hottest cities for tech by Business Insider, and just a few hours from the employee-owned Moog Music factory in Asheville.
Moogfest is the synthesis of music, art, and technology. Since 2004, Moogfest has brought together artists, futurist thinkers, inventors, entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, scientists, and musicians. By day, Moogfest is a platform for conversation and experimentation. By night, Moogfest presents cutting-edge music in venues throughout the city. This mind-expanding conference attracts creative and technology enthusiasts for three days of participatory programming in Durham, North Carolina. Performing artists include early pioneers in electronic music, alongside pop and avant-garde experimentalists of today.
“At Moogfest, the old opposition of human versus machine is replaced by a continuing inquiry: What can humans and machines accomplish together?”
New York Times
“There are music festivals at which festivities occur because there is music, and then there is Moogfest, a music festival at which music itself is being fêted, where we go to have our minds blown by the concept of music and the future and all the stuff a synthesizer circuit board might hint at.”
“The result is pleasantly disorienting, a mix of sounds that helps keep visitors from falling into the weariness and auditory ruts that are a risk at any multi-day festival.”
“Moogfest’s 2016 programming underscored its commitment to diversity and inclusivity.”
Vice / Thump
“Moogfest’s music aspect is designed — and succeeds brilliantly — at celebrating the many shades and shapes that electronics have provided to music. It’s now taken as rote that the once-derided bleeps and bloops of electronics are now as intrinsic to popular sound as anything, whether guitar or human voice.”
“Among the busiest intersections in all of 21st century culture are those interesting plots of conceptual real estate where technology and art meet up. That’s where Moogfest comes in. The four-day festival has become a popular destination for fast-forward thinkers across the country and the world.”
“Moogfest is too well-organized to call a happening, but too energetic to call a conference”
“No Ordinary Festival… …Moogfest organizers echo the extra-education sentiment, as they’ve strived to build a lineup of sessions, workshops and film screenings that thrill just as mucha s the musicians”
“Satisfies both art and music lovers alike.”
“Language and expression of identity was at the forefront of many of the most powerful moments at Moogfest. “Moogfest has become one of the USA’s most forward-thinking festivals.”
“Moogfest itself turned Durham into a cozy EPCOT that made electronic music and avant-garde ideas fun for all ages thanks to interactive musical installations.”
“Moogfest stands apart in its ability to converge the intellectual and tactile.”
“While the word “surreal” doesn’t quite apply here, there were times when [Moogfest] came pretty close.”
“When it comes to electronic music, it’s easy to see the ties between art and technology. In fact, that’s pretty much the entire goal of Moogfest, a music festival that celebrates more than just its synthesizer roots.”
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