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Moogfest Defies HB2 and Trump’s Muslim Ban With “Protest Stage”

ASHEVILLE, NC - APRIL 26: A view of atmosphere at Moogfest 2014 on April 26, 2014 in Asheville, North Carolina. (Photo by Alicia Funderburk/Getty Images)

Last year, the team behind North Carolina’s premier electronic/experimental music festival and conference Moogfest made a point of speaking out against House Bill 2 (The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act), which had passed in NC just prior to the festival last year. The law severely limited the rights of LGBTQ people in the state, most notoriously requiring that transgender people use the bathroom that matched the sex listed on their birth certificate.

With “Protest” listed as one of Moogfest’s governing themes this year, the 2017 festival will not only continue to actively make the festival a “safe space” for those marginalized by that law (similar legislation is being considered in nearby states), but for those affected by Trump’s Muslim travel ban. In a new statement on their website, Moogfest has announced a themed “Protest Stage,” with performers TBA, and a series of “workshops, installations, conversations, and masterclasses” to “celebrate inclusivity and elevate the fight against discrimination.”

Moogfest will take place between May 18 and 21 in Durham. Read the festival’s full statement below.

Once again, we are stunned by discriminatory politics in our beloved home of North Carolina and across the U.S.

Last March, North Carolina state legislature passed House Bill 2, a law that enables discrimination across gender, sexual orientation, and class. Specifically, the law eliminated past protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, stripped local government control over minimum wage, removed the right to sue for discrimination at the state level, restricted city councils ability to protect local residents from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and barred transgender people from using bathrooms that do not match the gender they were born with.

Moogfest took an immediate stand against the law, reaffirmed our commitment to protest inequality, and offered a safe space for all artists, fans, and visitors who attended. This past December, despite the ongoing work of our community and our allies, lawmakers failed to repeal the law.

Now, as we prepare for the 2017 festival, we are faced with new and mounting concerns. Lawmakers in Texas and Kansas have taken steps toward enacting laws similar to HB2. And in his first few days in office, the 45th president has taken actions, such as the travel ban, that threaten our foundational beliefs and intimidate members of our diverse global network of thinkers and makers. But we are not afraid. We are not hateful. We are alive in our mission to bring the dream of a more equal society to all humans. We seek out facts, respect evidence-based science, and welcome a wide-open worldview. We believe this base of knowledge powers creativity, imagination, and innovation.

We stand with the millions who marched on January 21st in cities around the world for the rights of women. We fiercely support the march’s mission of standing “together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.” We also stand with those who have been continuing to protest over the last few weeks. The intersectionality of those participating in these protests makes it clear that we cannot turn inwards, and we cannot exist solely for the individual. As said by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while behind bars for protesting in Birmingham, AL, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

We are inspired by this movement and the spirit of those that came before it. The fight against inequality echoes our own mission to design radical instruments for change and reflects the legacy of Bob Moog, the inspiration behind Moog who believed that true innovation comes through collaboration, not exclusion. Moogfest is transformed, by the urgency of our times, and we invite you to keep marching with us into the future.

• Write to North Carolina politicians to share your love for the people of our state and your strong opposition to HB2 and other discriminatory laws. You can write your own or use this form from Equality NC or this form from

• Support the work of our allies at the ACLU of North Carolina and in other states around the country.

• Join us at Moogfest 2017 and attend the Protest Stage, a dedicated space for resistance. As one of our key themes this year, Protest will also be brought to life through workshops, installations, conversations, and masterclasses. We will stand in full accord with artists from various communities to collectively celebrate inclusivity and elevate the fight against discrimination here in North Carolina and across the world.

Participating artists on the Protest Stage will be announced soon in our weekly newsletter, Future Thought Future Sound. Sign up here.

– Your friends at Moogfest