Atlanta’s quiet, little EDM festival, Imagine Music Festival, isn’t so quiet and little anymore!
As we explained in our pre-fest article, IMF was moving from the small park behind Atlanta’s historic, Masquerade, to its new home at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. This was a huge feat for the local club promoters! With room to grow, IMF was poised for a great weekend in 2016. Overall, the weekend was definitely a success. Almost everyone we encountered at the festival, was having a great time and loving the accessibility, infrastructure, and layout of the new venue. From the high caliber of talent of the artists playing at IMF to the production at the new stages to the atmosphere in the campgrounds, this was a great South East festival!
As our crew pulled up to the gates, we were directed, along with the rest of the traffic, to a large field where the traffic snaked around to utilize the entire space for the line. As expected with a first festival at a venue, there were some delays at this point. The main reason for the back up was that we got in line at the prime time for campers to arrive on Friday, around noon. Staff members were kind and helpful through out the entrance process. Our line was directed past a group of campers already eagerly setting up their camp, all the way to the front of the GA camp section, near the Silent Disco tent. I’m not sure how we lucked out with such a great spot, right across from the entrance AND A PERMANENT BATHROOM BUILDING! As soon as we parked and realized how dope this camping area was, our parking-line-depleted energy quickly rebounded and we were ready to set up and get to the music.
Friday was the smallest day of music, which also meant there was a smaller crowd but we were condensed into a smaller area of the venue. In other words, there were fewer people at IMF on Friday but there was only two stages open, so it still felt nice and full of friends! The Oceania Stage hosted some heavy hitters like Liquid Stranger, Bloody Beatroots (DJ set by SBRC), and Steve Angello. My favorite set of the night was the epic B2B set with Caspa and Rusko, two legendary dubstep pioneers! They lived up to high expectations and gave the Atlanta crowd the heavy set it deserved. One thing, I did note from the earlier sets that day, this stage had some SERIOUS PRODUCTION! Probably some of the best production I’ve seen at any Georgia festival this year.
On to Saturday! Atlanta’s own heavy-hitters, Mantis, had a really early set. Devoted bass heads flocked to the main stage at 1:40pm. The middle day of the festival was all about running from stage to stage for me. Luckily, Imagine was set up really well for hitting multiple stages in one day! And I never experienced any kind of sound bleed. This really goes to show the organizers hired top level production experts! Some highlights from Day 2 included a highly anticipated Doctor P set, an old-school Minnesota set, and Zeds Dead closed out the night with some crowd favorites and absolute gems. My favorite set…possibly of the entire weekend…was the DJ Hanzel set (for those that don’t know, this is Dillon Francis’s pseudonym for his deep house mixes)! The weekend was full of great bass-heavy artists. So, this was a nice deep house hour to help us get grimy in a completely different way!
Sunday was just as terrific as the previous two dates! The weather was a little more mild and there were less people throughout the day. I took advantage of the giant, inflatable water slide by the Amazonia stage during the fantastic Ott + The All Seeing Eye set! The rest of the evening was spent in bliss by all who remained. The Polish Ambassador lived up to expectations with a joyful dance party! Nero, although possibly falsely advertised as a live performance, was an awesome DJ set. I’m not going to lie. At first, I was pretty mad to see only one member of the threesome on stage. But once he got into the mix, I realized it didn’t matter – I was still going to hear all of my favorites from Nero plus some other hits from artists like Porter Robinson!
I’m excited for Imagine to work through some growing pains this year. The organizers put on a great festival but there were some major concerns. The main issues dealt with safety, which for an experienced festival goer wasn’t much of a problem. However, I was worried a little for the younger, less experienced crowd. Next year, I’m sure the problems dealing with water, signage, venue lighting, trash and security will all be addressed. This is an awesome event for Georgia and I hope to continue to support it and the organizers! With the collapse of CounterPoint and TomorrowWorld in the past year, we need IMF to stick through the tribulations!!!