Friday, November 19, 2010

Moogest leaves Asheville in awe

The celebration and recognition of Robert Moog, inventor and musical revolutionist, took place Halloween weekend in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina. The festival, properly named Moogfest, and formerly held in New York City, was a spectacle of creativity and inspiration as musicians and fans flowed in from all corners of the world, packing Asheville to the brim to witness this moving event organized by his daughter, Michelle Moog and AC Entertainment, which is based out of Knoxville, TN.

The festival had everything. Aside from the nationally recognized artists that performed there, such as Big Boi, Pretty Lights, Spongle, Dark Party and Thievery Corporation, interactive workshops also existed in the Moogaplex in order get the eager participants' creative juices flowing. Hundreds of people came through to actively use a theremin, see actual recovered photographs of Bob Moog which were donated from family and friends, and sit in on informative question and answer panels and demonstrations to conclude a well rounded learning experience. Seeing all this was impressive, but knowing that Michelle Moog was the only paid employee goes farther than words alone can go. Volunteers came from all over to help bring this festival to life. To Michelle though, this is her job, which she is very dedicated to.

"My daily work is Bob Moog," Michelle said with a pleased grin on her face. "I have a focused vision for the future generation to keep what my father did alive and continue to reiterate the importance of creativity and music in schools."

She has done just that. Donating one dollar per ticket to the Bob Moog Foundation, as well as all profits from merchandise and the custom designed posters, in part organized and designed by AC Entertainment's Justin Helton, the impact she and all those who worked it has had on all those who witnessed the festival was massive.

"People have been touched and have contributed greatly to the cause," she continued, "Even at our Mini Moogseum we have seen a facelift. Mountain Gateway Museums has been so kind to donate their services to us and has enabled us to have our first professionally curated exhibit of the MiniMoog there, which we have been more than pleased with."

Manya Whitney-Miller of AC Entertainment who was the event coordinator for the Moogaplex, which was the venue that held the seminars, poster exhibit, demonstrations and late-night shows, had plenty to say about the turnout even before the first night was over.

"I have never had the pleasure of working in North Carolina before," Manya said as we sat in the back circuit room of the Moogaplex. "The city of Asheville is great and its inhabitants are extremely cooperative. I could not ask for more." She continued to say that AC Entertainment's major goal was to throw the best Halloween party the Southeast has ever seen while honoring the legacy of Bob Moog. Goal attained.

"It is already a success, and for that I'm thankful," she concluded. "You can sleep when you are dead. The harder a project is on the front end, the greater the sense of reward that follows once it is completed."

Even Murfreesboro's own Saul Zonana, who has been in the industry for 20 years now, made an appearance at the festival as the 'Moog Professional' demonstrator of the Moog E1. He gave an extremely thorough demonstration of the endless possibilities and functions of the Moog guitar while also expressing gratitude towards Bob Moog.

"I am a huge fan of the Moog legacy," Zonana started off. "I started getting in to it very early. The first gift I can remember that offered huge impact was when I got a Moog synthesizer when I was twelve years old. But pertaining to the guitar itself, it offers something no other guitar can offer. It has all these functions, but ultimately it is all analog, which gives you a more personal bond between you and the instrument."

Personal bond, inspiration, creativity and hard work seemed to be the going theme from all those who had a part in the success of Moogfest. It paid off in the biggest way possible, blowing Asheville up with pride, and for a second, reminding everyone why they loved music so much in the beginning.

"It has taken almost four months for this whole thing to come in to fruition," Michelle Moog said, winding down our conversation. "Its been tough, but this past week there are moments where I...." She trailed off and was speechless. Sheer pride showed through her eyes and she started a new sentence, "There is just a massive amount of energy here. All components of the festival have really created a stunning tribute."

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