MOOGFEST: Freebies & Local Fun

Moogfest is here! The entire Durham Beat staff spent some time putting together some of the free options around town, so if you’re a local not attending the festival or a visitor looking to maximize your local experience, we’ve got your local funs covered. Moogfest itself offers a number of free and open events, many of which are locally-sourced. The festival also happens to coincide with Durham’s monthly free art event series, Third Friday, where many local businesses all around town offer free and open art events featuring the works of local creatives. We have put together a bunch of options here for you to have some fun and keep it cheap.


Raund Haus–Durham’s local beat collective
All Raund Haus sets at Parts & Labor.

3PM–Nay Fong
4PM–Gappa mighty, Kyoju, miniluv, Ebz., AXNT, Tony G
12AM–Chocolate Rice

4PM–Dogzamm, RGB, Sunset Palette, OG Senpaiii, Trandle, Oak City Slums

3PM–Jon Kirby
4PM–Marv Krown, HIFIIoRau, sl0wgl0w, CALAPSE, Footrocket, Treee City

Ralph Steadman
Thursday-Sunday, May 17-20, 10AM-6PM, American Tobacco Campus Bay 7

Thibault Dance
Thursday, May 17th, 12PM-4PM, The Snow Building
Friday-Sunday, May 18-20, 3PM-1AM, The Snow Building

“….these borders that hold me down…”
Friday, May 18th, 3PM, von der Hayden Theater (2020 Campus Drive)

Pop, Crackle, Crunch: Contact Mic 101
Friday, May 18th, 3:30PM-4:30PM, Art Institute

Moog Mandala: Music. Motion. Meditation.
Saturday, May 19th, 2:30PM-4PM, 21c Museum & Hotel
Sunday, May 20th, 11:30AM-1PM, 21c Museum & Hotel


Some of Durham’s local hangouts are hosting a number of free and low door entry events during Moogfest featuring tons of local acts. We recommend checking out…

An underground back alley bar & lounge with a witchy, speakeasy vibe. Great people, great vibe, great drinks.

8PM-11PM–Mamis & the Papis host Pachanga pa la Gente (suggested $5 at the door)

8PM-12AM–Jaguardini, Ships In The Night, and Peachelope (suggested $5-10 at the door)

8PM-2AM–Four on The Floor— 4 DJs, 1 night ($5 at the door)

Surf Club
A local favorite with a huge outdoor space: games, food trucks, indoor and outdoor bar. They will be hosting free DJ sets all weekend.

Thursday: 10PM-2AM
Friday: 6PM-2AM
Saturday: 6PM-2AM
Sunday: 4PM-whenever featuring Raund Haus member Hubble

The Durham Hotel
Cool downtown hotel with a sweet Rooftop bar and great views of the Bull City.

Thursday, 7PM: Jazz Jam Session with Al Strong & Friends
A weekly local jazz jam session at the Rooftop!

Durham’s Third Friday
A monthly event series featuring several free local art events at many of the areas local businesses, galleries, and hangouts. Here is the COMPREHENSIVE LISTING of this Friday’s events. We’ve selected a few highlights here for y’all…

The Bull Meets the Bayou
at The Carrack, 6PM-9PM

An art exhibition exchange between artists from Durham and New Orleans.

Art Museum Day 2018: Free Admission
at Nasher Museum of Art, 10AM-5PM

The Nasher Museum of Art is Duke University’s art museum. Home to a unique permanent collection, as well as numerous visiting exhibits and local displays, you can see it all for free this Friday!

If you’re coming from out of town, then Durham Beat contributors Stephen and Christine (members of local rock band The Wigg Report) recommend a few ideas…

The best way to see the most of a town or make the most of a festival is to connect with your inner “dirtbag” (living for free while doing what you love).

Here is how to make the most of your time and clear your head between events and shows.  

  • Check out all the murals in downtown. Civil rights murals (arts council), the super funky mural on the side of the Y (sponsored by Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art)
  • Go into the Durham Arts Council…free all the time!
  • Read the statues on Parish street, “Black Wall Street”. Free and you’ll walk away with some amazing knowledge of Durham’s place in history and the Civil Rights Movement.
  • 21c Museum & Hotel… hosting lots of Moogfest events, but don’t miss going downstairs into the vault either!
  • Get on top of the parking garages and party with friends while watching the sunset over D-Town.
  • Go to one of the many bike shops and ask a mechanic what he would do for free while downtown. The conversation is free and the people are kick ass.
  • Get a sharpie and leave your mark on our town!