Moogfest's new direction: SXSW

Asheville-based Moog Music Inc. wasn’t happy with the course its nine-year-old namesake festival had taken. “It was a party,” Moogfest Director Emmy Parker says of the then two- to three-day electronic-music event to honor Bob Moog, founder of the Moog synthesizer. “There’s nothing wrong with a party. But is that best for Asheville?” This year the company took back control from a promoter who had licensed the name, expanded the event to five days in late April and invested $2 million to $4 million to relaunch it in the image of South By Southwest, an Austin, Texas, festival that started with music but now includes films and technology. Revamped Moogfest featured more than 100 musical acts and 105 speakers, panels and exhibits on high-technology. The company forecasted Moogfest might generate $30 million of spending for the city’s economy. Parker is confident it paid off but is more interested in long-term economic development. “We need to attract small tech companies and top tech talent to Asheville. And we did. The question is: Will they come back?”