Imagine Music Festival, for the second year in a row, was an electronic oasis in the middle of Atlanta, Georgia.
Nestled between historic neighborhoods, brand new luxury lofts, a decaying concert hall, and those lovable highways, EDM reigned without judgement. Ok, maybe a little judgement from the moms shopping at Kroger across from the venue where some tutu and glitter-clad fans parked to walk to the fest. But once inside the venue of Imagine, a sense of freedom and immersion overcame all. There were many factors involved in creating this environment.
As ratchet as things can get at Atlanta events, you have to admit that the people do shine in a unique and quirky southern way. It helps that everyone at Imagine is simply happy to be there! Crews rolled deep and quickly expanded to include new friends. Summer means festivals and vacations, which can split everyone up. The festival being on the last weekend of August this year meant that everyone was back at home, gearing up for school…not too stressed with any exams or projects due. I also think it was wise of organizers to choose a weekend that did not have a big college football presence! Imagine is located in the heart of SEC territory after all. It was almost like the fest was a big reunion, where friends caught up on summer internships or festival experiences! Smiles and hugs all around ?.
IRIS Presents has a certain image in the community. They primarily host concerts and events out of a relatively small but intimate venue in north Atlanta called Rush Lounge. Despite the size of the venue, IRIS has a reputation of drawing some serious talent! Imagine Music Festival definitely benefited from the ties IRIS has made in the electronic community over their 19 years of existence. I have a feeling that with the continued success of Imagine, this boutique promotion company will become a serious contender in the southeast scene. The lineup proved Imagine is here to stay. And the production of the stages guaranteed success in ticket sales in the future. Although the two main stages were relatively close to each other, the sound bleed wasn’t too bad except on the outskirts of the crowd. Honestly, I was ok with a little sound bleed if that’s the price for being able to walk from one stage to the other in 5 minutes. With headlining acts like The Glitch Mob and Tipper playing at the same time, being able to get to the other stage in as little time as possible is key! But who am I kidding, Tipper had us all under mind control…there wasn’t a whole lot of movement from the Amazonia stage to the Oceania stage on Saturday night!
Unfortunately, Lil Jon had to cancel his set for Sunday that morning. Although organizers didn’t communicate that or the schedule changes very well, fans didn’t seem too disappointed when they got their dose of hip hop from a high energy performance from Ying Yang Twins and Pyramid Scheme! These home town artists stepped up to the plate and delivered. Sunday proved to be the heavier day of the two with 12th Planet and Datsik. However, one of my favorite sets of the weekend came from an unexpected DJ set by Chromeo (unexpected in that I wasn’t expecting to really care either way about the Chromeo DJ set). I don’t know if it was the sun setting over the high rise buildings or the Mike’s Hard Strawberry Lemonades…but that Chromeo set was magical! I have enjoyed an actual set from the pop-electronica duo in the past, but this Sunday funday dance party left my face sore from smiling. The lineup had a great blend of genres and included international and local artists. A highlight of the weekend was back at the Imaginarium stage where Athens’ own, Andy Bruh, performed his second set of the weekend. Only 24 hours earlier, he was called to open up for the Griz after party on Saturday night at the Masquerade! Andy clearly had a large following of supporters on Sunday. Fans mobbed the typically sparsely populated area. It was awesome to see his fans descend and get down to his skills. Proud friends make the best fans!
With good music and friends everywhere, the vibes had no choice but to be bright and shining! The ambiance of the venue definitely helped create a lovely flowing atmosphere. Dancers and actors were dressed in bright colors, many coordinated with the underwater themes. The venue was sprinkled with decorations that complemented the greenery and flow of the park. For two days, Historic Forth Ward Park, which was actually built by engineers to relieve flood emergencies in the area, was a magical world full of human beings enjoying the ride. A short walk to the Imaginarium stage at the small amphitheater, took patrons around and over a lily pad inhabited pond. I’m not sure if I imagined frogs ribbiting around the pond or if they were fake and a brilliant inspiration by the festival organizers…either way, they offered a pleasant fresh breath from the whomp!
All in all, Imagine was a great success for a community that is close to my heart. The EDM Gods were smiling down on Atlanta during Imagine. I was pleased to see a much larger crowd than last year – almost twice the size! As much criticism as the electronic community gets from the media, it’s nice to be part of an event that flat out denies such negativity, where friends take care of friends and strangers alike. So, cheers to you, Imagine! May you continue to provide happiness to the dancing, weird, and colorful youth of the southeast!
We are already counting down the days until next year!!! Make sure to get your tickets on the extra low at http://imaginefestival.com/
Oh, and as some of you may know…IMF will have to move locations in 2016 but I am confident in the relocation efforts. Honestly, the event would probably completely outgrow the current location. This move should be a win-win for everyone!