Moog merchandise at Moogfest 2016

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The much-anticipated art and technology festival known as Moogfest takes over downtown Durham May 19-22. We'll update this post regularly during the festival with photos, stories and other updates.

Thursday 5/19

It's raining. Boo. But there's still a ton of excitement in downtown Durham as crowds begin to gather at outdoor exhibits and inside music and tech workshops. Here's the full lineup for the day. And check out some shots from around Durham:

"Future Cities"
"Future Cities" kicked off the daytime lineup at Moogfest. Check out our recap of the town hall discussion between a trio of city planners and NPR's Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson.

Future Cities Town Hall at Moogfest
Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson moderates a panel of experts on cities and development, including Research Triangle Park CEO Bob Geolas and local city planner Wanona Satcher. Credit: Caitlin Grimes/ExitEvent
Moogfest Carolina Theatre sign
Carolina Theatre is festival headquarters. Keynote addresses happen here every day of Moogfest. Credit: Caitlin Grimes/ExitEvent

Realiti: Inside the music of Grimes
Canadian electronic musician Grimes is known for doing it all—writing, engineering, producing and performing her work, in addition to filming her own music videos single-handedly. While she's performing Friday night at Motorco, a festival-long installation outside Carolina Theatre lets attendees interact with her track Realiti using Microsoft Kinect technology. Interactions with hardware cause various sounds and images to appear.

Grimes exhibit at Moogfest
Credit: Caitlin Grimes/ExitEvent
Grimes exhibit at Moogfest 2

Anti-HB2 Open Mic at Moogfest
The rain didn't stop an open mic session from happening outside the Carolina Theatre. Moogfest encouraged attendees, artists and downtown Durham residents and workers to take the mic and have an open dialogue about the bill. Speakers ranged from a Moogfest organizer to a leader of an LGBTQ group in Durham to a man who was present at the Stonewall riots of 1969. Most speakers opposed the legislation.

Anti HB2 Open Mic at Moogfest
Moogfest CEO Adam Katz opened up the anti-HB2 open mic session in front of the Carolina Theatre on the first day of Moogfest. Credit: Caitlin Grimes/Moogfest

Anti-HB2 Open Mic at Moogfest

Anti-HB2 Open Mic at Moogfest 2

American Underground @Main

American Underground lobby at Moogfest
American Underground @Main converted its lobby to a lounge during Moogfest 2016. Programming happens there all weekend.
american Underground during Moogfest
New decals on the American Underground windows detail its mission and major accolades in recent years as a top hub nationally for startups.

Carolina Theatre

Carolina Theatre at Moogfest 2016
Keynote addresses kick off Thursday night with a Future Cities town hall discussion featuring Research Triangle Park CEO Bob Geolas, Marketplace Tech host and podcaster Ben Johnson, Durham designer and city planner Wanona Satcher and New York City community technology project designer Greta Bynum.

A committee made of up startup community leaders affixed decals like these to the sidewalks around Durham, letting guests know various fun facts about the city and its tech community.

Moogfest street signs Tolerant City

Durham Street Signs Minority Led startups

Moogfest Street Signs Durham exits

Moogfest Street Signs Duke U startups

Moogfest Street Signs Demo Day wins

Aloft Hotel Musical Playground

Downtown Durham at Moogfest 2016
The sky looked ominous in downtown Durham on day one of Moogfest 2016, but people still gathered for the Musical Playground at the Aloft Hotel and to eat at food trucks. Credit: ExitEvent

Musical Playground at Aloft Moogfest 2
Housed in a huge dome outside the Aloft Hotel in downtown Durham is a Musical Playground where Moogfest attendees and passersby get to make sounds using a variety of sequencers, theremins, synthesizers, and pedals. Credit: Caitlin Grimes/ExitEvent

Moogfest Musical Playground 2

Musical Playground at Aloft Moogfest 3

The Cage at American Tobacco Campus

Ideo exhibit at The Cage, Moogfest

Kids playing in the cage
Kids played with large balloons that respond to touch with sound in The Cage on the American Tobacco Campus, an exhibit by the design firm IDEO. Credit: Caitlin Grimes/ExitEvent

The Power Plant at American Tobacco Campus

PopUp Moog Factory 2016
A pop-up Moog Factory included synth-building workshops led by Moog engineers. Participants get to build and keep their own Moog synthesizer and sequencer when complete. Credit: Caitlin Grimes/ExitEvent
More photos of the Moog synth-building workshop, which continues Friday:

Moog synth building workshop 2

Moog synth building workshop 3


Moog synthesizer


For context, check out our coverage leading up to the fest:

What (or who, rather) is Moog? 

(January 2015)
Moog is pronounced Mogue (like vogue). I learned this after incorrectly pronouncing it "Mooog" in front of some fanboys last year. It's the last name of the godfather of electronic music movement, a New York man named Robert Moog who designed and manufactured electronic instruments in the 1950s and the first synthesizer (called the Moog) in 1963. He eventually left the company and moved to Asheville, where he continued to design instruments for other companies. 

In 2002, he regained rights to the name Moog Music and grew the business in the mountain town until his death in 2005. It lives on today in a building you'd recognize just north of downtown Asheville—a large Moog synthesizer is painted on the exterior. The company makes and sells a variety of synthesizers, theremins, guitars, controllers and other gear, and is still recognized as a leader in the electronic music industry. It also gives free factory tours. 

The festival began in New York in 2004 to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of Moog Music.

With Move From Asheville, Moogfest to Make Festival Magic Happen in Durham 

(May 2015)
Moog Music Inc. gathered city and startup community leaders on the American Tobacco Campus (owned by ExitEvent parent Capitol Broadcasting) in May 2015 to make it official after months of speculation and rumors. The Asheville-based maker of the synthesizer, which took over operations of the namesake festival from promoters in 2014, will move its event to downtown Durham in hopes of wooing major technology companies as sponsors and giving local innovators a global stage for which to talk about their projects, companies and inventions. 

Transgender Entrepreneur, VR Pioneer, Robot Musician & a Human Cyborg Highlight Moogfest 2016 Daytime Lineup 

(December 2015)
Welcome to Moogfest, where fascinating individuals and controversial topics take center stage in an international-in-scope festival all about the future and intersection of music, art and technology.

Meet the Duke Professors, Google Engineers & Interactive Artists Converging Sound, Art & Tech at Moogfest 

(February 2016)
Moogfest is out with new details about the art installations, exhibits, discussions and workshops hosted by a group of prestigious organizations that range from RTP, Burt's Bees, IBM and Duke University locally to the MIT Media Lab, Google and Kickstarter. 

Moogfest, Not Your Average Tech Festival

(April 2014)
For a hint at what Moogfest is all about, read Editor Laura Baverman's take on Moogfest in Asheville in 2014.

And here's a video of a talk by Moog organizers at American Underground earlier this year:

Credit: ExitEvent