Moogfest nods to local music with Emerald Lounge Showcase
“Want even more Asheville in your weekend?”
That question leads off an announcement made by Moogfest, the Asheville-based music festival honoring the legacy of the late synthesizer innovator Bob Moog. The post unveils the Emerald Lounge Showcase, a two-night, seven-band complement to this year’s festival that exclusively features Asheville artists. Admittedly, it’s a nice gesture, an effort by a national festival to highlight the talent in its host city. But to this point, Moogfest has operated largely without the inclusion of the city’s music scene, making the post’s boastful leading question a grating and inaccurate gaff.
This year’s festival line-up claims only one Asheville act — the marvelously complex rock duo Ahleuchatistas. Last year, electro-jam outfit Sonmi played a set on Moogfest’s large outdoor stage, but they were a substitute following a late cancellation. The only other act from last year’s bill with any regional relevance was Toro Y Moi, a band that started in Columbia but is now based in Los Angeles. True to form, the first Moogfest included its own token Asheville band — the soulful electronic duo Paper Tiger. This lack of inclusion has sparked resentment in the local scene with events held as alternatives to the alien acts who roll through once a year.
The line-up for the Emerald Lounge Showcase proves that Asheville’s scene has acts worthy of official festival slots. Ace producer Panther God pairs kinetic dance beats with shifting electronic textures that recall Amon Tobin, a veteran of last year’s Moogfest. NovaKord‘s tunefully muscular electro-rock boasts grandiose psychedelic textures and pulsing bass lines. It’s a forward-thinking take on modern rock that would sit well alongside Primus, this year’s three-dimensional headliner.
Comparisons to other N.C. festivals don’t make Moogfest’s local outreach look any better. Raleigh’s Hopscotch Music Festival, the state’s other nationally relevant music weekend, included almost 60 local bands among the more than 170 artists that played this year. Of the 37 acts set to play official Moogfest sets, only one is based in Asheville.
Moogfest’s local showcase is a welcome concession to the local music scene and a step in the right direction, but organizers will need to do more to be truly inclusive of area artists. While wristband holders get in free to both nights of the showcase, access will also be granted at $10 a pop, an emphatic reminder that these shows are not part of the festival proper.
So Moogfest, to answer your question: Yes, we want even more Asheville in our weekend. —Jordan Lawrence
Moogfest Emerald Lounge Showcase
Friday, Oct. 26 @ 9 p.m. / $10 or free with Moogfest wristband
- Panther God
- Aligning Minds
Saturday, Oct. 27 @ 9 p.m. / $10 or free with Moogfest wristband
- RBTS Win
- Paper Tiger