From Sonic Robots to Michael Stipe: 10 Mind-Bending Highlights of This Month’s Moogfest 2018

Moogfest 2017


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.


Moogfest 2017

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.


Moogfest 2017


Sonic Robots

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.


Moogfest 2017


LCD Soundsystem’s Gavin Rayna Russom

The LCD synth wizard presents her film No More White Presidents, a multi-layered abstraction that addresses the issue of slavery.

Wes Borland

The Limp Bizkit guitarist is known for his sonically groundbreaking side projects and thought-provoking visual presentations. Here, he joins the Moogfest “Durational” performance series, with a totally new audio-visual installation.

In Conversation

KRS-One and Kelela are highlights of the festival’s “In Conversation” series, discussing everything from creativity to consciousness, giving attendees food for thought that will extend well beyond Moogfest.
Moogfest  2017
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