Durham, N.C. — I'm a Moogfest newbie.
So much of a newbie, in fact, that I was one of "those people" who pronounced the festival's name wrong for weeks until someone corrected me (by the way, moog is pronounced similar to rouge - it shouldn't sound like the noise a cow makes).
I started counting down the days until Moogfest weeks ago. Finally, Thursday arrived, and I had the privilege of experiencing the four-day festival on its very first night.
I'd registered to attend four shows all in the course of four hours, but I began my evening at the Moogfest VIP Opening Party at the Durham Armory.
VIP Party at the Durham Armory
DJ Laurel Halo was spinning an eclectic mix of tunes for the crowd of artists, VIPs and press members while everyone enjoyed complimentary beverages. There was some dancing, and everyone in the room seemed relaxed as they talked with others or simply listened to the music by themselves.
The dimly-lit ballroom combined with the flashy light effects made it very easy to get lost in your own little world.
Meeting Neil Harbisson
While I was there, mingling with the other VIPs, I met Neil Harbisson. "You have to meet him," said Billy Warden, one of the event organizers. "He's the guy on all the flyers." Harbisson is, in fact, one of the many artists participating in Moogfest, and you'd recognize him by the cybernetic eye he has permanently attached to his head.
The eye allows him to hear the frequencies of colors through bone conduction, including infrareds and ultraviolets - something he'll use in the weekend's festivities.
The Range and Hundred Waters at Motorco
7 p.m. arrived quickly, and it was time for my 10-minute walk over to Motorco for a "double feature." Two mesmerizing bands - The Range and Hundred Waters - were playing, one inside the music hall and one right outside in Motorco Park. Both venues were packed, and for a good reason. These sounds coming from these artists - much like the other musicians you'll hear at Moogfest - were addictive, and everyone seemed to be getting into the music.
The Range, described as jungle grime, sonic and electronica music, and Hundred Waters, an acoustic electric trio, both introduced me to an entirely new sound.
The magic of Moogfest is that you pay for a day, or a weekend, and then you simply show your wristband to gain access to all the events you'd like to experience (just make sure they're not full first!). You get to experience so much.
Dawn of Midi at the Carolina Theatre
After Motorco, I stopped by The Carolina Theatre for Dawn of Midi, a Brooklyn-based acoustic ensemble made up of artists from India, Morocco and Pakistan. The music was eerie - in a good way - and the theater was pitch black. In the sit-down atmosphere, there was no talking, and all eyes were on the stage. Again, it was easy to get lost in it all.
Miike Snow at Motoco Park
I left Moogfest for dinner but returned to Motorco Park around 11:30 p.m. to hear Miike Snow - a Swedish indie pop band that has become very well-known for their newest song, "Genghis Khan." I'm a huge Miike Snow fan, so seeing the band in-person was incredibly exciting. When the trio appeared on stage, it was clear from the cheers that everyone else felt similarly.
Andrew Wyatt, the lead singer, was hilarious and talked to the audience between almost every song. When "Genghis Khan" came on, everyone started dancing. By now, it was getting late, but local breweries were pouring beers and people were dancing in the streets. Durham, which has become so lively in the past years, was as full of energy as ever.
Make your schedule
I had a blast at Moogfest's opening shows, but the events continue until Sunday. Check out the full schedule online to sign up for events and pick your own adventure.