This is a special piece from our photographer/new contributor Dana Pacifico giving some insight into the history of The Mountain Oasis Festival, formerly known as Moogfest. – Will
Haven’t heard of Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit Festival yet? Well here is your opportunity to learn about one of the best and most singular electronic music festivals in the country today. Here is a little backstory behind what exactly Mountain Oasis is:
Robert Moog is the genius that developed the first analog synthesizer. He is also the man whose innovative spirit is the drive behind this wonderful festival. He was born in NYC and died 71 years later in Asheville, North Carolina. Moog Music Inc., where all Moog instruments are made, resides within Asheville.
In 2004 the head honchos within Moog Music came together for the 50th anniversary of the company and wanted to put together an event in New York City that showcased the ever-evolving electronic music scene. Moogfest was a one-day event filled with music and interactive workshops where you could learn and actually play with Moog synthesizers yourself. It took place in NYC from 2004-2008.
In the year 2009, Moog Music kept quiet about holding a festival, and for good reason. In October 2010 on Halloween weekend, the first annual three-day festival took place over a variety of different venues all across the beautiful city of Asheville, NC. Some of the names that played the inaugural Moogfest were MGMT, Hot Chip, Pretty Lights, Thievery Corporation, Neon Indian, Panda Bear, Sleigh Bells, Nosaj Thing, Four Tet, Jonsi of Sigur Ros, DEVO and many, many more. That’s a pretty eclectic mix of artists, if I do say so myself. Hot Chip was reason enough to take the 12-hour drive to Asheville and check out this festival. I instantly fell in love with Asheville, as well as Moogfest.
What was so great about this festival was that although it was an “electronic” music festival, AC Entertainment, who is the curators behind Moogfest, Bonnaroo and Forecastle, wanted this festival to be a tribute to Bob Moog. Literally any act that used a synth in some form was a great option to be a part of the festival in the coming years. The way in which they separated themselves from other more mainstream electronic music festivals like Electric Zoo, Ultra, EDC, and all those other cheese ball fests, was, and remains perhaps Moog’s greatest achievement. Oversaturated Acts like David Guetta or Swedish House Mafia weren’t even considered, and the crowd isn’t a majority of underage kids dressed up like candy ravers wanting to take drugs. They uphold a tradition of integrity and diversity as it pertains to music, encouraging fans to expand their musical knowledge and join them in an experience that’s equal parts invigorating and unparalleled.
As stated before, Asheville is a beautiful city. It lies between the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains, acting as a gorgeous backdrop throughout the vibrant weekend. Locals within Asheville are extremely welcoming, and thankful that their city has the ability to cater to this beloved festival. Everything that I had the opportunity to encounter during my time in Asheville kept my anticipation for Moogfest 2011 very high.
Now onto Moogfest 2011’s installment: The Flaming Lips, Moby (live), Passion Pit, TV On The Radio, M83, Flying Lotus, Amon Tobin performing ISAM, The Drums, and many more. Seriously, just check out the 2011 lineup because it is stacked with so many great acts. Another new addition to Moogfest that year was an outdoor stage, which unfortunately didn’t pan out too well. The stage itself was great, but Asheville at the end of October allows for very unpredictable weather. Had the weather been different it would have worked out wonderfully, but unfortunately the outdoor stage was nixed after only one year.
With Moogfest 2012 came some heart breaking realizations for people like me who live and breathe Moogfest and wait for Halloween weekend in Asheville all year. They cut the festival down to two days, which for a lot of people was like a dagger to the heart. However, they still offered us a ridiculous, forward-thinking and daring lineup. Primus in 3D, Orbital, Nas with a 9 piece Moog’d out band, Miike Snow, Richie Hawtin, Explosions In The Sky, GZA performing “Liquid Swords”, Cold Cave, Disclosure, plus a whole lot more. As a Moogfest pre-party the Thursday before there was a separately ticketed show by Justice, which almost made it feel like a three-day festival.
Here comes the curve ball. It was mid-December 2012 when I realized that Mountain Oasis festival was coming up all over my twitter timeline, saying how they were holding a festival in Asheville. I got really nervous that Moogfest had been cancelled and it was going to turn into something completely different than what they had built up for three years. I received an e-mail from Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit which I had never signed up for, but within this e-mail contained the answers to a lot of my questions. The old Moogfest was having its name changed to Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit. Moog Music Inc. no longer wanted to license the name to AC Entertainment. Ashley Capps, AC Entertainments CEO, explained, “We received a letter from them [Moog Music Inc.] following this year’s festival, so we have no choice really but to re-name it. We have enjoyed booking, marketing and producing our event for our fans and want to continue with them on this creative journey, — This part of the world is a very special place – hence the name, Mountain Oasis. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, and there’s so much more to explore.”
It was a sad realization that the festival so many people loved was no longer called Moogfest, however the essence of the festival is what matters most, and it will still be there come October. i. In the end that’s all that really matters, you can call it whatever you want. Moogfest 2010-2012 as well as this year’s Mountain Oasis have always put the fans first and really listened and responded to us in more ways than you can imagine. “The fans have embraced the festival with overwhelming enthusiasm during the past three years. They love the music, they love Asheville, and we are committed to continuing to evolve with them to create the very best festival experience that we can imagine,” says Capps.
This year the festival boasts an eclectic lineup that includes Nine Inch Nails, Neutral Milk Hotel, Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, Animal Collective, How To Destroy Angels, Gary Numan, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Disclosure, and Chromatics. Tickets are available here.