New York? Berlin? London? San Francisco?
Lately, it’s looking like Asheville, North Carolina is the place to be.
In case you missed the aptly-named Mountain Oasis and its gathering of big-name electronic artists and inventors, you don’t have to wait even until next fall. Asheville will next host Moogfest, April 23-27. Nighttime programming falls to Paxahau, the team behind Detroit’s Movement, already one of the biggest electronic tickets of the year worldwide. (AC Entertainment, the Bonnaroo-producing Knoxville team, have taken over Mountain Oasis. Rather than splitting the energy, the results seem to have more than doubled it.)
We should learn more about that lineup, and what Moogfest attendees will be dancing to, shortly. But the daytime programming for tickling your brain has to be described as nothing short of historic. I can’t think of a time this group of people was in one place:
Cliff Martinez (the composer behind the beautiful scores for Drive, Solaris, Traffic, Contagion, and many others)
Jerome C. Glenn (futurist and founder of The Millennium Project)
Dr. Nick Bostrom (futurist/philosopher, the University of Oxford, Future of Humanity Institute, Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology)
George Dvorsky (expert on the ethical and sociological impacts of emerging technologies)
Dr. Joseph Paradiso (MIT Media Lab, Things That Think Consortium, easily one of the foremost experts on embedded computation and sensing and particularly ways in which those relate to music)
Bruce Walker (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Mark Frauenfelder (MAKE magazine, Boing Boing)
Claire Evans (the musician who is rebooting OMNI as a science and science fiction magazine)
Forrest M. Mims III (oh, you know his beautiful hand-drawn circuits – and if you don’t, suffice to say they taught and inspired the people who make the music electronics you use)
Charles Lindsay (Artist in Residence at the SETI – Search of Extraterrestrial Intelligence – Institute)
Hans Fjellestad (documentarian behind 2004 Moog and 2009 The Heart Is A Drum Machine)
Malcolm Cecil (creator of TONTO, the first multi-timbral, polyphonic analog audio synth)
These aren’t just the usual suspects invention for sound, like Buchla, Linn, Oberheim, and Smith. They finally mark a return to the idea that sound and music can be at the center of a discussion of the future, of science fiction speculation and future fact. And, as such, they can be spokespeople for a society that again gets optimistic about that future.
This should just be the beginning, with additional laboratories and performance showcases likely to demonstrate even more futurism, sonic wizardry, and electronic DIY – the kind of inventive spirit that drove a young generation of people inspired by the song of the Theremin.
There are a number of ways to get involved if your interest is already piqued.
First, tickets are on sale:
Phase 1 tickets start at $199 for 5-Day General Admission and $499 for 5-Day VIP Admission while supplies last through December 19 when Phase 2 GA tickets go up to $299. All prices exclusive of applicable fees.
For those without the cash – a big deal as the American economy struggles – Moogfest isn’t keeping its doors closed. There will be public events, too, including a street festival with installations and live music, a badly-needed job fair covering tech and interactive specializations, and a pop-up shop.
There are also open calls if you want to be part of Moogfest as more than just an audience goer or fan.
moogfest 2014 and The Media Arts Project Announce Call to Artists [for public art, deadline December 29]
4th Annual Moog Circuit Bending Challenge, deadline February 23, which can answer two questions: 1. how do I get to Moogfest, and 2. how can I own a Moog synth?