Today begins a 309-day countdown to a festival that could make Durham known around the globe for technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and music.
It’s called Moogfest, and as of today, it’s no longer an Asheville legacy but a Durham one.
Moog Music Inc. gathered city and startup community leaders together on the American Tobacco Campus (owned by ExitEvent parent Capitol Broadcasting) Tuesday 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. It all goes down May 19-22, 2016.
The festival will certainly have an economic impact—more than 30,000 people participated in the Asheville event in 2014—but even bigger is the street cred it brings. Moogfest earned 1.5 billion media impressions from 230 press organizations in 2014—100 of those came from outside the United States. World renowned musicians, researchers, futurists, technologists and entrepreneurs also flew to town to share their knowledge and experience Asheville.
“This is not about us recruiting another festival to Durham,” Durham Chamber of Commerce President Casey Steinbacher told me earlier today. “It’s a talent recruitment and retention strategy for Durham. It’s about the next generation and what we have to do to retain the talent we have and to continue to recruit it to feed the innovation of the companies that are here.”
Programming announcements will begin to come out soon, Parker says. A new festival director, UNC graduate Marisa Brickman, recently moved back to town from Los Angeles to take the helm of the local event.
Also good news for downtown Durham is an economic boon. Reports show that 109 to 147 jobs in Buncombe County were supported last year in the months leading up to the festival. The total economic impact of the 2014 event ranged from $10.2 million to $14 million.
The impact on those who take the stage next year? Not clear, but it could be huge.
“The purpose is to highlight people doing amazing things in technology in this state,” Parker says. “It is our goal to put those people working in technology in the Triangle on the stage that Moogfest provides and to tell the rest of the world about them.”
Early bird tickets to the 2016 Moogfest went on sale today for a limited time offer of $99.