Moogfest 2018: 7 Reasons We’re Really Excited


This year Moogfest is taking Durham by storm May 17-20 and we couldn’t be more psyched. Wait a minute. What is Moogfest? Let us introduce you to the awe inspiring, weird and wonderful world of Moogfest.

It began in Asheville in 2004 as a celebration of Bob Moog, the inventor of the Moog synthesizer (The Beatles and Mick Jagger were among the first customers), and founding father of electronic music. Every year in May, on the closest weekend to Moog’s birthday, they honor Moog with a multi-day music, art and technology festival. The festival relocated from Asheville to Durham in 2016. It turns downtown into a buzzing hub of creative minds, technology, conversation, and really great music.

Moogfest offers panels and workshops by day and concerts by night. The full schedule includes over 200 workshops, masterclasses, and conversations. This year, Moogfest features a strong lineup led by female, non-binary, and transgender artists including LCD Soundsystem’s Gavin Rayna Russom and Jamila Woods.

Why We’re Excited

The Music

The musical lineup for Moogfest gets more and more impressive every single year, but this year the collection of new and well known artists is on point. We cannot wait to see Kelea, Mouse on Mars, Jon Hopkins, and KRS-ONE. Mouse On Mars are giving Moogfest fans a rare treat with two very different unique performances. Their sit down techno show featuring Spank Rock will take place at the beautiful Carolina Theatre, and they’ll take over the Armory immersed in A3 Spatial Sound performing with Sonic Robots.


The Durham Armory will into an “advanced sonic environment” with Ciani, Jenny Hval and other artists performing customized pieces tailored to the space. Performers will be able to articulate sound from every angle, enveloping the listener within an elevated, multi-sensory experience.

Haven’t heard of some the these artists? Check out this spotify playlist and get yourself familiar.

The Keynote Addresses

The keynote speeches at Moogfest really set the tone for the festival. This year, Chelsea Manning is scheduled as a keynote speaker and she will put a focus on how technology disrupts politics, our private life, our society and explore what we think are acceptable or unreasonable evolutions. Other highlights include IBM Watson Creative Director Jennifer Sukis. Her keynote will touch on how A.I. will influence human shifts into new creative frontiers and how we’re already tapping into the limitless creative applications waiting therein for mass usage. 

The Workshops

Like we mentioned the full schedule includes over 200 workshops, masterclasses, and conversations! The Google Brain team will host the workshop “AI for All: Making Music with Machine Learning” working with Latent Loops, created by the Magenta project of Google Brain and introducing the musical palette. This is in follow up to Google Magenta’s presence at last year’s Moogfest, at which they premiered the first public demonstration of NSynth.

IBM Watson Design Lead Maya Weinstein will lead two workshops on enhancing design applications through cognitive technology. Participants will work directly with A.I. modules currently being used to inspire art and music at the highest levels use design thinking to conceptualize and collaborate on a specific project.

Modular Marketplace

The Modular Marketplace is a FREE interactive pop-up featuring boutique electronics, experimental effects, and eurorack synthesizers. From instruments that can make any musical sound imaginable to the latest DIY kits, the marketplace showcases the future of electronic music and gives attendees the opportunity to meet instrument designers and play, test-drive, and take home the next generation of musical devices.

This year’s instrument manufacturers, selected for their cult status or game-changing ambition, will showcase their instruments and offer daily demonstrations, sound experiments, exclusive discounts, and other specials. Many of the entrepreneurs and designers behind these products will be in attendance, and many items will be available for purchase.

The Modular Marketplace will take place at Moogfest 2018 at Bay 7 from 10am – 6pm from May 17-20.

The Art

The Ralph Steadman Art Collection’s exhibition of a selection of the renowned artist’s original works, Harmon-INK!, which will live within the annual Moog pop-up. Included in this exhibition are drawings and sketches from the filming of “Where the Buffalo Roam” and originals from the never-before-publishedRumble in the Jungle” series, companion pieces to Hunter S. Thompson’s ill-fated account of the epic clash between Mohamed Ali and George Foreman in Kinasha in 1974.

One piece in particular was considered lost until it was discovered in the effects of Norman Scott this year and returned to the collection in time to be displayed for the first time ever at Moogfest 2018. To accompany the exhibit, Moogfest will be screening “For No Good Reason,” a documentary about Steadman introduced by the artist himself via Skype.

The Films

This year’s film programming includes “Bight of the Twin,” Genesis P-Orridge’s exploration of the origins of voodoo in Benin; the Bedroom Community tour film “Everything Everywhere All the Time”; Gavin Rayna Russom’s experimental short, “No More White Presidents”; the Armen Rabiopic “When My Sorrow Died”; and more. All the films will be accompanied by an artist conversation directly following the screening.

Build a Moog

Perhaps most exciting this year is the opportunity to build your very own unreleased Moog analog synthesizer. The build will take place over a couple of days with the limited festival-goers with Engineer Passes. You don’t need any experience to get involved, all you need is $1500 to afford the privilege. Shelling out that much you may want to have an idea of what you’re doing, but it’s not required.

Here are all the benefits of the Engineer Pass:

– VIP Access to all events and exclusive areas.
– Complimentary food and beverage in select areas.
– Prioritised access to workshop registration.
– Access to a dedicated Festival Concierge who organises your Engineer class
schedule and is available for any questions you have may have.
– A custom embroidered patch representing the 2018 Engineer Workshop class.

You can also just buy a normal ticket to attend the rest of Moogfest at a much nicer price of $199 (+ some tax).

To view Full Moogfest 2018 Schedule: Click HERE

All ticket types below are available for purchase now HERE.