The Research Triangle Park

What do @theRTP’s Bob Geolas, Grammy & Academy Award winner @GiorgioMoroder & Futurama writer David X Cohen have in common?

By Subscriber Apr 17, 2014

They’re all speaking at Moog Fest 2014 in Asheville, NC.

The annual music and arts festival has expanded in 2014 to include an eclectic lineup of speakers. Kicking off the festival at 3pm on Thursday, April 23rd is the panel ‘Wiring Silicon Mountain: Nurturing Innovation Through Technology in Western North Carolina.’ Joining Geolas on stage will be: Gov. Pat McCrory, the CEO of Moog Music, Mike Adams, Asheville Mayor Esther Mannheimer, Casey Steinbacher, President and CEO of the Durham Chamber of Commerce, Professor Mike Walden of NC State and Hickory Mayor Rudy White.

Economic development in North Carolina is something all of these people take very seriously, yet implement in different ways. And while Geolas and Steinbacher are based in the Triangle, both are cognizant that a strong tech presence in Western North Carolina will strengthen the state as a whole. Geolas regularly reinforces this message when explaining the statewide mission of RTP. He often says that the Park wasn’t created to be an economic engine just for the Triangle, but rather was meant to uplift the state as whole. Discussing these efforts and sharing plans in front of Moog’s highly educated, global audience, is a smart move for all parties involved.

Moog Fest moved from Brooklyn to Western North Carolina in 2008 and has recently undergone some changes. Originally held over Halloween, the program shifted organizers after the 2012 festival and took the 2013 season off to regroup. Now they’re back with an expanded lineup of five full days of programming.

Organizers refocused the event to create an environment to highlight music, technology and art. Scientists from the MIT Futures Lab, world renowned musicians and tech art installations will round out day events. If that doesn’t butter your biscuit, the Pet Shop Boys, Kraftwerk and Flying Lotus will start up at night. Asheville boasts enough natural beauty to woo anyone, a burgeoning beer culture and a nationally recognized food scene. And, in keeping with the statewide theme, a free job and tech fair dubbed [email protected] is being hosted by the North Carolina Technology Association.

Bob Moog adopted Asheville as his home after moving there in 1978 from New York City. By this time, he had created multiple synthesizer instruments, one of which was already being used by Giorgio Mororder to produce songs for Donna Summer. (Almost all the music we hear today has been influenced in some way by one of his instruments.) Today, Moog Music is headquartered out of Asheville and hand crafts all of their instruments from a facility located in downtown. The company lives in that grey territory of “is it art?” and “is it tech?” With products loved by artists and technologists alike, Moog Music is a great example of the type of company that can grow and thrive in today’s North Carolina.

It might at first seem odd that a bunch of suits like Geolas, McCrory and Walden are scheduled to appear on stage at such a funky festival. But consider: The panel of politicians and economic development experts will speak to a vision very similar to the one Bob Moog brought to life in Asheville, and in the festival that bears his name: igniting creativity at the intersection of music, science, history and innovation.