Exclusive: Moogfest Will Return in 2014, With New Partner Paxahau of Detroit Movement Festival

Moogfest, the annual festival created by iconic synthesizer company Moog in honor of its namesake and founder Dr. Bob Moog, will return in 2014 under a new partnership with Paxahau, the revered producer of Detroit’s Movement Electronic Music Festival, Billboard has learned.

Paxahau replaces AC Entertainment, with which Moog cut ties last year due to what sources call “creative differences.” Moogfest 2014 is set for April 25-27 in Asheville, North Carolina, its home since 2010. 

"Moogfest is not just about Moog or music; it's about celebrating the creative, forward-thinking spirit of both Bob and the city of Asheville,” said Emmy Parker, Moog's senior brand manager, in a statement. “We'll shine a light on inventors, new media artists, circuit benders, programmers, and people with ideas that could change the way we experience music, art and performance."

Traditionally in October, the new spring dates will “allow for daytime programming in which the intersection of music and technology will be showcased against the backdrop of the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains,” said a press release. But they’ll also serve to separate the festival from the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit, set for October 25-27 in Asheville. AC Entertainment, the rock-oriented agency that co-produces Bonnaroo with Superfly Productions, started planning the event after Moog decided not to renew its deal for the brand name.

But AC CEO Ashley Capps said in a statement that Mountain Oasis would be “built on the same template that made Moogfest a hit for the past three years.” Moogfest also issued a statement to Billboard on the situation, saying: "There is a lot of misinformation and confusion regarding Moogfest being renamed as a new festival," says Parker. "The fact is, that Moog Music and Bob Moog started Moogfest in 2004 and there will always be only one Bob Moog and one Moogfest."

Whether this rift kept Moogfest dark in 2013 or, as a representative told Billboard, they chose to forego a 2013 event in order to focus fully on the spring dates while the team looked for a new producer, the 2014 fest will be following up a successful 2012 which brought performances by Primus, Disclosure and Four Tet.

Revered music-focused events specialist Paxahau, which also fronts the annual Detroit Jazzfest, brings to the festival what the Moog team considers much-needed electronic music acumen, and an awareness of the significance of Dr. Moog, who died of brain cancer in 2005 at the age of 71. 

"We set out to find a new partner with a real understanding of the dynamic history of electronic music, and that has a deep appreciation for the impact Bob Moog's inventions have had on musical expression and creation,” said Moog Music president Mike Adams in a statement. “After working with them for three years on their festival in Detroit, we knew Paxahau was the right choice to help us take Moogfest 2014 in the direction we envision.”

Dr. Moog’s inventions changed first the production of electronic-based music, pioneering modular voltage control, and transistor rather than tube-based systems; and then its performance, with the portable Minimoog. The sound of Moog synths defined the rock of the Summer of Love era, the advent of disco, and the 30-plus years of house and dance music that succeeded it. Moog was also a pioneer of commercial product design, translating his innovations in such a way that bedroom and aspiring producers could buy and own them, informing the company’s commitment to education today.

“We are excited to be a part of Moogfest and its tradition of honoring the legacy of Bob Moog,” said Jason Huvaere, President of Paxahau, in a statement.  “We’ve developed a great relationship with our friends at Moog Music over the years and look forward to working with everyone in the Asheville community as we progress towards Moogfest 2014.”