AC Entertainment may have lost the rights to the Moogfest name, but the Knoxville music promoter isn’t giving up on a fall electronic-music festival in Asheville. The company has just announced part of the lineup for the new Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit, scheduled for Oct. 25-27, and it’s already a blockbuster, topped by one of the first performances since 1998 by the off-kilter Athens, Ga., cult pop band Neutral Milk Hotel and headline performances by Gary Numan, Nine Inch Nails, and Animal Collective.
Neutral Milk Hotel will perform two shows at the 40 Watt Club in its hometown in the week leading up to Mountain Oasis, followed by two dates in Japan in November and December. The band is led by singer/guitarist Jeff Mangum, who played a sold-out show at the Bijou Theatre in February.
The rest of the lineup announced this week is a mix of legacy artists, big-name headliners, up-and-coming acts, and rock, pop, and electronic music similar to the rosters for AC Entertainment’s incarnations of Moogfest: Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, Daniel Johnston, Half Japanese, NIN frontman Trent Reznor’s new project, How to Destroy Angels, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Tricky, Disclosure, Chromatics, Zola Jesus, the Bug, Jessie Ware, Rustie, Robert DeLong, Bosnian Rainbows, Jacques Greene Bondax, and Silver Apples. More acts are expected to be named, with as many as 60 total artists for the three-day festival.
AC Entertainment’s official involvement with Moogfest has a complicated history. The festival began in New York in 2004 to celebrate the innovations of synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog. Moog, who lived in Asheville and based his company, Moog Music, there, died in 2005, but the festival continued as a tribute to his legacy and influence until 2008. The New York editions of the festival featured big names like Bernie Worrell, Keith Emerson, and DJ Logic, but seemed to appeal mostly to professional musicians and industry insiders.
In 2010, after a one-year hiatus, Moog Music teamed up with AC Entertainment and moved the event to Asheville, where it was reinvented as a Halloween-weekend party, with appearances by popular EDM, hip-hop, and indie-rock performers. After the 2012 Moogfest, however, AC Entertainment announced that it would no longer use the Moog name and would rebrand the festival as Mountain Oasis; Moog Music later confirmed that it was withholding rights to the Moogfest name and had plans to renew the fest with a new promoter. (In April, Moog Music announced its plans for a new Moogfest in April 2014, staged by Detroit promotion company Paxahau.)
Mountain Oasis performances will take place at various venues in downtown Asheville: ExploreAsheville.com Arena, the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, the Orange Peel, the Diana Wortham Theatre, and Asheville Music Hall. Weekend passes, which range from $149.50 for basic admission to $399.50 for a VIP package, go on sale today. Single-day passes will be available later this spring. Visit mountainoasisfestival.com for more information.