I've attended Moogfeset both years since it's relocation from Asheville to Durham in 2016 (because of my work at Runaway). The experience of witnessing Moogfest, along with Art of Cool Festival and Full Frame, take over downtown Durham each spring has been exhilarating and a pleasure to participate in.
*I recognize that my position at Runaway has afforded me certain privileges during these events and don't want to gloss over that fact when talking about my experiences.*
This year, I don't know as many artists across the schedule compared to previous festivals. But that's never been the point of Moogfest for me. The intriguing daytime programming that compliments the boundary-pushing musical performances is worth taking the occasional leap of faith. Yes, I saw Odesza, Miike Snow, and GZA but I also saw SURVIVE, famous for their work on the hometown favorite Stranger Things series, and learned how to manipulate sound on all manner of synthesizers at the Moog Marketplace.
My naivety in 2018 allows me to take more risk with my schedule, but thankfully, I have friends with good taste who I can harass for recommendations like Moses Sumney and Suzanne Chiani. I'm not coming in totally ignorant, though. Artists like Ali Shaheed Muhammad (ATCQ) and KRS-One have been on my radar since they were announced, as well as other programming like Chelsea Manning's keynote conversation and the Building Wakanda presentation that are can't misses.
The Triangle area is represented in a big way with the Raund Haus stage at Parts & Labor. David Huber (Hubbble) and Nick Wallhauser (Gappa Mighty) stopped by this week's episode of The Rundown and gave listeners a taste of what to expect during the free shows performed by the larger Raund Haus affiliate network. Even if you don't have a ticket, these sets are free to the public all weekend and include some of the best beatmakers North Carolina has to offer, including FootRocket, whose new album is tremendously fun, and the upright bass/beat wizard HiFiLoRau (do I have to disclose that he's my roommate?). It's a bittersweet occasion for Hubbble who is moving to Austin, Texas soon after the festival ends. As a final goodbye, David is hosting a final farewell party at Surf Club Sunday night that comes highly recommended by me and any that has ever seen him DJ. Durham will sorely miss his contributions as an artist and organizer of Raund Haus, but as he explained on the pod, this won't be the last we see of him.
If you're from out of town, or just looking to expand your horizons about what there is to eat, drink and do downtown, check out this festival guide I put together in conjunction with my Runaway fam.