Moogfest starts today in downtown Asheville.
The five-day event includes more than 100 musicians. But this year, the festival also features 90 panelists, numerous interactive art exhibits, and sound installations throughout town, from the Orange Peel to Pack Place to the Moog Music factory itself.
Brand Director Emmy Parker says Moogfest 2014 will be unique not just for Asheville, but also for the event industry in general.
“No concert promoter would go, ‘Hey, let’s get rich by doing an innovation and tech conference and throwing in these three-hour long explorations in synthesis performances during the day. And by the way, let’s make 20 percent of the programming free,’” Parker said. “People don’t really do that.”
Parker says Moog Music wanted to make this new incantation of Moogfest to reflect the ethos of the company and its founder, Bob Moog. “The work that we do at Moog every day is based around trying to discover how we can use technology to enhance the way people creatively express themselves,” Parker said.
Moog isn’t the only company thinking about the intersection of science, creativity, and tech, which is why the Moogfest program includes panels with titles like “The Future of Creativity,” “What Does Play Sound Like?” and “Sounds of Space.”
“We have people coming from all over the world,” Parker said. “From different walks of life and different modes of thinking. Futurists, ethicists, scientists, inventors… it’s about bringing the world and Asheville together and seeing what kind of magic happens.”
To that end, Moogfest will also emphasize the importance of tech and economic development in Western North Carolina.
One of the first panels of Moogfest is called “Wiring Silicon Mountain: Technology & Innovation As A Tool For Economic Development.” The conversation will include Moog Music CEO Mike Adams, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer and leaders in industry across the state.
The idea is that Moogfest can also be a platform for conversation about how to make Asheville, Western North Carolina, and the state in general a destination for innovation of all types.
“We’re going to start transitioning the discussion from traditional economic development models to new economic development models which include creative element of this area,” Adams said.
Emmy Parker also says the ultimate goal of the festival is to foster an exchange of ideas between industry and innovation.
“At its heart, we’re trying to build a platform for Asheville to stand on,” Parker said. “to showcase how incredibly and dynamic and livalbe this city is. and specifically that Ashecille is very nurturing of innovation and people who have ideas that might be frighteningly new.”
Moogfest runs through Sunday.