The problem with so many general interest musical festivals, is that with success, they ultimately morph into the very sorts of dood-fests they seemed to first be in opposition to.
The antidote, certainly, are those that have grown from a more circumscribed cultural ideology. And perhaps the most ideological of them all is the annual Moogfest – which will unfold over four days (May 17-20) next week in Durham, NC. Rather than some chart-driven, willy nilly collection of musical-flavors-of-the-moment, it will once again assemble a head-spinning, carefully curated lineup of 150+ artists, those still exploring the very possibilities of sound – especially significant in these highly tech-focused times.
Intelligently conceived panels and seminars also fascinatingly disseminate the exigent issues of our day, through the lens of contemporary culture. And, well, it’s also just a bloody good time.
Here are ten reasons you need to go this year.
Chelsea Manning & Jennifer Sukis
The controversial trans activist and former soldier will give a keynote that delves into the super-zeitgeisty topic of how technology invades our private lives, and what we can do about it. The co-keynote by AI expert Jennifer Sukis will explore further the moral and philosophical implications of our technological advancements.
Day Into Night
A series of conversations and seminars on the future of creativity by day, it morphs into an evening of electrifying collaborative performances by the likes of KRS-One, Kelela and Mouse on Mars.
A3 Spatial Sound Installation
Moogfest, Virginia Tech and Meyer Sound collaborate on the world premiere of A3, a powerfully immersive spatial sound experience – featuring Sonic Robots, Shabazz Palaces, Waajeed and others, allowing listeners an astonishing 360-degree sound experience.
Michael Stipe Installation
The legendary R.E.M. frontman returns with a new multimedia installation, Thibault Dance, created exclusively for Moogfest. Stipe shot dancer Thibault Lac in New York, then set his movements to an all original new score.
The US debut of robotics engineer Moritz Simon Geist’s all-robot musical act, after touring around Europe. Hear the first techno album made solely with robotic instruments. He will also be presenting various workshops during the festival.
Ralph Steadman Exhibition
Yet another legend, the “Gonzo” illustrator (he did Pink Floyd’s The Wall) premieres his highly anticipated retrospective exhibition Harmon-INK at Moogfest. It appropriately includes a celebration of the inimitable genius of his late friend and “Gonzo” writer Hunter S. Thompson.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Grammy Award nominee and electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani performs an all new score to the exalted German expressionist silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, using all Moog gear – particularly the Sub 37.