Photo by Laura Dart
On an Americana Music Association panel moderated by the William Morris Agency’s Jay Williams, Ashley Capps, founder of AC Entertainment and the predominant force behind the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, said he’s very excited about the way the 2011 Bonnaroo festival is starting to shape up.
Capps was in Nashville, along with Winnipeg Folk Festival’s Chris Frayer, for the AMAs, and the panel was a chance for both promoters to address how their festivals can help develop artists. Not surprisingly, names like My Morning Jacket, Phoenix and Mumford and Sons came up continually.
In response to the widely-discussed decline in concert ticket sales, Capps said the 2010 Bonnaroo festival was the most successful – in terms of sales – since 2007. Capps also speculated that the general decline in admission for Bonnaroo – 70,000 in 2010 compared to 80,000 in past years – was due to saturation in the festival market, rather than the economic recession.
While Bonnaroo has been a major success and will celebrate it’s 10th anniversary in 2011, AC Entertainment has been involved with some festivals that have not caught on with fans, such as Vegoose. This Halloween, however, Capps is giving it another go with the inaugural MoogFest in Asheville, North Carolina.
Moog (it rhymes with “rogue”) synthesizers have been popular in music since the ’60s and ’70s, and saw wider use still in ’80s electronic and funk music. Artists continue to flock to unique Moog innovations like the Moog Guitar, Minimoog Voyager and Little Phatty, and the MoogFest lineup is teeming with the hottest dance and electronic artists.
Capps admitted it isn’t always easy to launch a new festival, but stressed that having something beyond just a great lineup is necessary, which Capps said he feels the Moog brand has. How the typically-granola community of Asheville will react to acts like Massive Attack, MGMT and Panda Bear is yet to be seen. MoogFest is largely a regional bet that the Gen Y’ers who grew up going to Phish shows have embraced the druggy and psychedelic worlds of dance, dubstep and jamtronica. Promoters, seeing the growing numbers for such genres, surely have.