Launched by AC Entertainment, the Tennessee-based promotion heavyweight behind Bonnaroo, Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit is a three-day festival that will take over Appalachia's hottest tourist destination (Asheville, N.C.) from October 25 to 27 this year. Though AC initially tinkered with the Mountain Oasis brand some years back, the company chose to resuscitate it in earnest once their partnership with Moog Music ended after last year's installment of the like-minded Moogfest (also staged in Asheville). Thus, 2013 can rightly be considered Mountain Oasis' inaugural year. For the occasion, it's packed with high-profile talent. Nine Inch Nails, Bassnectar, Disclosure, The Orb, Deltron 3030, Animal Collective, Gary Numan, Pretty Lights, Sparks, Chromatics and Zola Jesus/JG Thirwell all help to anchor this year's sprawling roster.
But here's the interesting thing: AC's branding fails to reflect the festival's actual diversity. After all, the programming reaches far beyond electronic music and its many permutations. With Neutral Milk Hotel, Half Japanese and Godspeed You! Black Emperor also performing, Mountain Oasis dishes up hearty servings of indie, punk, noise rock, drone and lo-fi weirdness. Even outsider-folk icon Daniel Johnston is scheduled to perform.
Not unlike most large-scale festivals, Mountain Oasis' most outré acts are to be discovered in the bill's fine print. Quite frankly, you'd be foolish to pass over Raime simply because they don't "move units." Reveling in dystopian murk and menacing low-lend, the British production team has played a pivotal role in the industrial techno movement currently sweeping across England and continental Europe. Equally exciting (and probing) are Actress, Laurel Halo, Ital and Mount Kimbie, all of whom in recent years have made bold forays into that fuzzy, quirky zone between electronic dance music, avant-garde tactics and synth-based experimentation.
And seriously, if you've never been to Asheville, it's everything every tourist rag in every airplane seat claims it to be. Since Mountain Oasis takes place in downtown, festival-goers have quick and easy access to the city's myriad restaurants and breweries, as well as its abundance of fall foliage. So be prepared for one special -- and possibly even decadent -- weekend.