Tag - atlanta

Imagine Music Festival: A Little Relief

Black Tiger Sex Machine at Imagine 2017

Imagine Music Festival, one of the largest independent music festivals in the United States, returned to Georgia’s Atlanta Motor Speedway, September 22nd-24th to give over 30,000 music-lovers and fun-seekers an experience they will never forget.

Founded by IRIS Presents, Inc. in 2013, the festival continues to thrive and attract a dedicated fan base.  Musicians, artists, performers, and merchants came together to form a festival themed around fire and water, with main stages Oceania, Disco Inferno, and Amazonia. Giant jellyfish floated through the air rippling as if they drifted along an ocean current. Mermaids walked the Earth, towering 10-feet tall, high above the heads of the crowd. Fire spinners put on flaming displays of spinning light that illuminated the grounds. This dichotomy created an atmosphere of balance and beauty.

Nore En Pure at Disco Inferno; Imagine 2017

Nore En Pure at Disco Inferno, Photo by Victor Tranfield (continue below)

The production alone was worthy of mention and the performances by a diverse group of electronic and instrumental musicians was not to be overlooked. Imagine boasted a plethora of headliners such as Above & Beyond, Tiësto, Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Illenium, and many more. The crowd was surprised by unique sounds and unreleased tracks. Illenium wowed the crowd with a taste of his unreleased collaboration with Kill The Noise and tracks off his newest album, Awake. The Floozies played a newly released remix with Kendrick Lamar. The list goes on.

Illenium at Imagine 2017

All of the feels at Illenium at Imagine 2017, Photo by Victor Tranfield (continue below)

Imagine Music Festival kicked off just 12 days after Hurricane Irma struck the coast of Florida as a Category 4 storm, knocking out power to more than 12 million people in Florida. The destruction spanned from the Caribbean through the southeastern US, affecting millions and nearly every patron and participant at the festival. This however, did not stop Imagine Music Festival or its fans. Imagine was able to help provide support to the response and recovery efforts in communities devastated by this disaster by partnering with the American Red Cross with a donation campaign.

The Imagine Music Festival community is filled with a brilliant variety of freaks, geeks, nerds, and weirdos who all bring something special to the event. Running into long lost friends or brand new ones is not just possible, it is inevitable. The community buzzes with a sense of care and love. Stop and chat with an artist, dance with a performer, hangout with your favorite musician; it’s all possible with a sense of confidence, friendship, and a can-do attitude. It is this collective joy and compassion from one another that helps catapult the crowds of music lovers into a beautiful world of life, love, and music where all cares are easily forgotten.

In light of the recent darkness, patrons of Imagine Music Festival came together for a weekend of fun, love, laughter, and music. Another successful year for the Imagine team and another great experience for all those involved.

Stay tuned for additional Imagine coverage, detailing the experience of the Disco Inferno Stage, with commentary from Incendia owners Cory and Tyler Glenn. Scroll below the editor’s note for photos from Imagine.

Editor’s Note: Imagine Music Festival and its surrounding areas were directly affected by Hurricane Irma in the weeks leading up to Imagine. However, during the festival weekend, Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico since 1928. 3.4 million US Citizens were left without power and water, and limited access to food, gasoline, and other basic life necessities. It will take months to rebuild after the damage of Hurricane Maria. If you are interested in contributing to the relief effort in Puerto Rico, check this list of trusted organizations offering aid to Puerto Rico.

Imagine Music Festival 2017 Day 1 Photos

Imagine Music Festival 2017 Day 2 Photos

Imagine Music Festival 2017 Day 3 Photos

Imagine 2017 Schedule, Map, & App

Imagine 2017 Schedule

Imagine Music Festival is just days away, taking place this September 22-24 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia. In preparation for the event, IRIS Presents has released the official map of the venue and the full performance schedule, both of which are available from the Imagine Music Festival app, which is available for download from the iOS App Store and the Android Google Play Store.

In addition to the above festival information, Imagine has partnered up with the American Red Cross, which is now accepting donations for Hurricane Irma relief. Earlier this month, Hurricane Irma made its way through the Caribbean and the Southeast US, causing widespread destruction, especially in Imagine’s neighboring state of Florida. Donations will be used by the American Red Cross in its efforts to help bring relief to those affected by the hurricane.

Dirtybird Players Stage at Imagine 2017

IMF 2016 Disco Inferno

2016 marked the first year of Imagine Music Festival taking place at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The larger venue allowed for an impressive layout of stages catering to specific styles of music: the Oceania Stage hosted an assortment of big names and headliners, the Amazonia Stage trended towards live music, funk, and glitch, the Aeria Stage had a slew of heavier drum & bass and dubstep, and the Disco Inferno stage naturally showcased an assortment of disco, house, and techno artists. Imagine will be building upon the success of the curated stages, notably with the Disco Inferno Stage, which will feature Claude VonStroke and the Dirtybird Players Stage.

Barclay Crenshaw, AKA Claude VonStroke, has been building the Dirtybird Records brand since 2005, specializing in a brand of house music that he’s dubbed “tech funk.” Some of the quintessential characteristics of the Dirtybird brand seem to revolve around having fun, being chill, and just doing your own thing. This is immediately evident given the events that Dirtybird Records has been throwing lately, namely the Dirtybird BBQ series and Dirtybird Campout. If the event names don’t make it clear, a primary goal is to elicit a laid-back feel, with a funky soundtrack of course. After Mixmag voted Dirtybird Records as the number one record label of the decade, Claude VonStroke was surprised and humbled, commenting that “We’ve always done our own thing, even if it wasn’t popular. It definitely wasn’t popular for a while, and it might not even be popular now, but we’re still just doing our own thing.”

Much of the success of Dirtybird could be attributed to this laid-back style of focusing on what’s fun and unique, not necessarily what’s popular or trendy. This style of recruiting artists, running a label, and throwing events should make any house music fan excited to see what’s in store this year for the Disco Inferno Stage at Imagine Music Festival. This year’s Disco Inferno Stage has an impressive lineup, including Dirtybird artists: Claude VonStroke, Shiba San, Will Clarke, Ciszak, and Dateless, as well as Gorgon City, Chris Lake, Claptone, and Nora En Pure. The Dirtybird Players Stage will take place on Sunday, September 24, while the remaining artists will perform at the Disco Inferno Stage throughout the rest of the weekend.

In addition to the music, the festival producers are expanding the stage. Glen Goodhand, Co-Founder of Imagine Music Festival explains what’s in store for this year’s Disco Inferno Stage:

This year’s Disco Inferno Stage will feature a giant disco ball center piece that shoots a 100 foot flame out of the top of it. Along with many other disco domes sprinkled in the crowd that will have water misting during the day and fire roofs at night. These will all be tied together with an elaborate truss system and massive D&B Audiotechnik sound system so everyone can hear and feel the beautiful sounds. A true 360-degree immersive experience.

Between the music, atmosphere, and stage production, the Disco Inferno Stage at Imagine Music Festival should certainly heat up the dance floor and get the crowd groovin’ and we can’t wait! If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, GA and VIP tickets are still available through the ticketing website. We hope to see you there!

Imagine Music Festival 2017 Full Lineup

Imagine Music Festival 2017 Full Lineup

After dropping a first phase lineup that would exceed most other festival’s full rosters, the three-day music and camping festival is releasing the next round of performers for its 2017 event. Returning to Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia on September 22 through 24, 2017, Imagine has put an exclamation point on its performer lineup with a mix of new heavyweights, including:

Big Gigantic: Perennial fan favorites, Big G, has made a name for themselves by pairing electronic beats with their signature live saxophone and drums. Tracks from their latest release, last year’s Brighter Future that included a bevy of collaborators, is currently getting the remix treatment from acts like Luca Lush, Kasbo and Naderi.

STS9: Originally from Georgia and affectionately known to fans simply as “Tribe”, this tight knit group of electronic rock instrumentalists with a meteoric rise to fame, is now nearly 20 years into their illustrious career. Perfecting their self-described “post-rock dance music” through live rock instrumentation on one of their many tours, STS9 is one of the top-grossing live acts globally.

Claude VonStroke: A producer obsessed with the cross-pollination of genres, Claude VonStroke has made a name for himself as a house and techno pioneer with the chops to craft pristine, albeit laid-back remixes. This year, as the owner of Dirtybird Records, VonStroke will be joined by Shiba San, Will Clarke, Ciszak and Dateless on the label’s branded stage at Imagine.

G Jones: A favorite of the underground bass scene, G Jones has emerged as a staple on the festival circuit having played such notables as Bonnaroo, Euphoria, Camp Bisco and more. His unique blend of distorted bass and trip visuals make for one of the more energetic shows on the circuit.

Illenium: As a relative newbie to the game, Illenium has taken big strides since the release of his debut Ashes in 2016, having remixed Dawn Golden, ODESZA and Oh Wonder, amongst others.

NGHTMRE: Originally a trap and house producer, NGHTMRE released an eponymous EP in 2016- considered by many to be one of the top dance/electronic contributions of the year. The recently released “End of the Night” is a collaboration with Ghastly that is an epic example of what to expect at Imagine.

Additional artists new to the lineup include: Ciszak; Dateless; Hippie Sabotage; and The Funk Hunters, as well as local talent: Alex Lucas; Bandikook; Blunts & Blondes; Corey Von Waters; Daddydough; Daniels Jack; Deep Technicians; Devious; Domii; Exit 9; Flats Stanlie (theUntz Winner); Higher Learning; Jordan Gervais; Kevin Flum; Lucidea; LYFTD (theUntz Winner); Organik; Riven; Robbie Dude; Sejva; Space Kadet; Stranger Candy; Sylo; Teriyaki Noize; White Rhino; Yuki; and Zen Selekta. Additional music blocks will be provided by: Bass Family, Slow & Low and Trance Family.

Oceania Stage at IMF 2017

Oceania Stage at IMF 2017

Featuring over six stages, each with its own distinct musical focus and vibe, there will not be an inch of the festival grounds that will not be bathed in Imagine’s immersive aquatic fairytale. Previously announced artists on the 2017 performer lineup include: Headliners: Above & Beyond; Deadmau5; Tiësto; Pretty Lights Live and Gorgon City. Oceania Stage: Datsik; Deorro; Flux Pavilion; Seven Lions; Zomboy; 12th Planet; Black Tiger Sex Machine; Liquid Stranger; Marc Kitchen; Codeko; Fransis Derelle; Leah Culver; and Ying Yang Twins, with Pyramid Schemes. Amazonia Stage: The Floozies; Bleep Bloop; Minnesota; Rob Garza; Spag Heddy; Boogie T; Buku; Esseks; ill.Gates; Ott; Squnto; and Yeti. Disco Inferno Stage: Chris Lake; Claptone; Nora En Pure; Shiba San and Will Clarke. Aeria Stage: Netsky; Noisia; Planet of the Drums, featuring AK1200, Dara, Dieselboy and Messinian; Black Sun Empire; Andy Bruh; Bryson Taylor; Daily Bread; Eddie Gold; High Kalliber; Ployd; Ra & Adara; Sunday Service and music blocks by: Torch DNB and Wiggle Factor.

Disco Inferno Stage 2016

Disco Inferno Stage at IMF 2016

Imagine will be returning to Atlanta Motor Speedway this September 22-24, 2017 for the fourth edition of the festival. The return to the venue means fans can expect plenty of upgrades, based in large part on feedback from its 2016 attendees. Expanded water stations, camping upgrades, improved VIP areas, shade and charging stations, food options, dancers, art, workshops, the return of the Imagine splash pool and of course an even bigger and better lineup. As one of the country’s last remaining independent festivals, Imagine creates an all-encompassing, 360-degree sensory experience that blends music, circus troupes, performers, dancers, art, workshops, classes and more.

Tickets are available now starting at $163 for a 3-day pass. VIP passes, with front row pit access, an elevated viewing area, VIP (no line) access, air conditioned chill lounge, bottle service, cocktail service, complimentary champagne toasts, private security, clean trailer bathrooms with running water and air conditioning, giveaways, meet and greets, and more are available starting at $299 for a 3-day pass. Camping passes are also available to purchase as an add-on to the festival tickets with prices starting at $99. Four camping packages are available including GA Camping, VIP Camping, Easy Life Pre-Set Souvenir Tents, The Glamp Life Premium Tents, Geo-Dome Luxe Tents, GA RV Camping and VIP RV Camping. Tickets are available online at www.imaginefestival.com. Imagine Music Festival is an 18 and over event.

Imagine Music Festival is produced by Iris Presents. Visit www.imaginefestival.com for the most up-to-date information. Stay connected on Twitter at www.twitter.com/imaginemusicfes and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/imaginemusicfestival.

Shakey Knees 2017

Shaky Knees 2017 Lineup

Shaky Knees Music Festival is just around the corner and 1-Day General Admission Tickets ($99) and 1-Day VIP Tickets ($225) are currently available at www.shakykneesfestival.com. Shaky Knees will bring more than 60 bands across three stages to downtown Atlanta, GA in celebration of 5 years as a world-class festival. The stacked lineup includes The xx, LCD Soundsystem, Phoenix, Cage The Elephant, Pixies, The Shins, Nick Murphy, X Ambassadors, Third Eye Blind and Portugal. The Man, in addition to the recently added Ryan Adams and Saint Motel.

Friday will bring fans performances from LCD Soundsystem, Cage The Elephant, Pixies, Portugal. The Man and more, while Saturday’s lineup deliver a diverse bill including The xx, Nick Murphy, X Ambassadors and Moon Taxi. Sunday will close with unforgettable performances from Phoenix, The Shins and Ryan Adams. The entire listing of the Lineup by Day is available here: www.shakykneesfestival.com/lineup.

Fans can sign up for the Email List to be the first to get new information at www.shakykneesfestival.com/connect and follow social media to stay in the loop for all festival announcements.

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Shaky Knees Schedule 2017

Imagine Music Festival 2017 Phase 1 Lineup

Imagine Music Festival 2017 Phase 1

Following a transformative third year, which saw the region’s largest independent EDM camping festival host fans from across the country, Imagine has released the first phase of its lineup and it’s bigger than ever. Returning to Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia on September 22 through 24, 2017, Imagine is continuing its trend of attracting some of the biggest talent from around the globe. The first round of headliners for the highly-anticipated music and camping festival include: Above & Beyond; Deadmau5; Tiësto; Pretty Lights Live and Gorgon City.

Featuring over six stages, each with its own distinct musical focus and vibe, there will not be an inch of the festival grounds that will not be bathed in Imagine’s immersive aquatic fairytale. Additional artists on the 2017 performer lineup include: Oceania Stage: Datsik; Deorro; Flux Pavilion; Seven Lions; Zomboy; 12th Planet; Black Tiger Sex Machine; Liquid Stranger; Marc Kitchen; Codeko; Fransis Derelle; Leah Culver; and Ying Yang Twins, with Pyramid Schemes. Amazonia Stage: The Floozies; Jai Wolf; Bleep Bloop; Minnesota; Rob Garza; Spag Heddy; Boogie T; Buku; Esseks; ill.Gates; Ott; Squnto; and Heti. Disco Inferno Stage: Chris Lake; Claptone; Nora En Pure; Shiba San and Will Clarke. Aeria Stage: Noisia; Netsky; Planet of the Drums, featuring AK1200, Dara, Dieselboy and Messinian; Black Sun Empire; Andy Bruh; Bryson Taylor; Daily Bread; Eddie Gold; High Caliber; Ployd; Ra & Adara; Sunday Service and music blocks by: Torch DNB and Wiggle Factor. A second round of artists and additional stages will be announced in the coming weeks.

“The festival is a living and breathing representation of our guests wishes and imagination,” says Iris Presents founders Glenn and Madeleine Goodhand. “Each year we are challenged to not only top the lineup from the year before, but exceed expectations- this lineup is just the beginning of the magic that awaits.”

Earlier this year, Imagine announced it would be returning to Atlanta Motor Speedway this September 22-24, 2017 for the fourth edition of the immersive aquatic fairytale. The return to the venue means fans can expect plenty of upgrades, based in large part to feedback from its 2016 attendees. Expanded water stations, camping upgrades, improved VIP area, shade and charging stations, food options, dancers, art, workshops, the return of the Imagine pool and of course an even bigger and better lineup. As one of the country’s last remaining independent festivals, Imagine creates an all-encompassing, 360-degree sensory experience that blends music, circus troupes, performers, dancers, art, workshops, classes and more.

Tickets are available now starting at $125 for a 3-day pass. VIP passes, with front row pit access, an elevated viewing area, VIP (no line) access, air conditioned chill lounge, bottle service, cocktail service, complimentary champagne toasts, private security, clean trailer bathrooms with running water and air conditioning, giveaways, meet and greets, and more are available starting at $299 for a 3-day pass. Camping passes are now available to purchase as an add-on to the festival tickets with prices starting at $99. Four camping packages available including GA Camping, VIP Camping, Easy Life Pre-Set Souvenir Tents, The Glamp Life Premium Tents, Geo-Dome Luxe Tents, GA RV Camping and VIP RV Camping. Tickets are available online at www.imaginefestival.com. Imagine Music Festival is an 18 and over event.

Imagine Music Festival is produced by Iris Presents. Visit www.imaginefestival.com for the most up-to-date information. Stay connected on Twitter at www.twitter.com/imaginemusicfes and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/imaginemusicfestival.

Imagine Music Festival Releases Official 2016 4K After Movie

Imagine Music Festival 2016 Mainstage Pyrotechnics

Imagine Music Festival, the amazing three-day camping, electronic dance music festival held in Atlanta, Georgia, is excited to reveal the official after movie for 2016. Coming off of a great year, which saw the festival welcome over 25,000 attendees to its new home at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the movie is – in a word, MASSIVE. Opening with a sweeping shot across the Imagine campgrounds, this #ReImagined look at the festival is something one can only do by taking a step back to take it all in. From a carefree float in the Imagine pool to a spin on the ferris wheel, the bumping beats of DJ Hanzel and lasers tearing through the night sky and even a wedding proposal, the after movie will transport you back to last August and make you want to do it all over again.

2016 IMAGINE MUSIC FESTIVAL OFFICIAL 4K AFTER MOVIE

Earlier this year, Imagine announced it would be returning to Atlanta Motor Speedway this September 22-24, 2017 for the fourth edition of the immersive aquatic fairy tale. The return to the venue means fans can expect plenty of upgrades, based in large part to feedback from its 2016 attendees. Expanded water stations, camping upgrades, improved VIP area, shade and charging stations, food options, dancers, art, workshops, the return of the Imagine pool and of course an even bigger and better lineup. As one of the country’s last remaining independent festivals, Imagine creates an all-encompassing, 360-degree sensory experience that blends music, circus troupes, performers, dancers, art, workshops, classes and more.

“We are extremely grateful for the love and support we saw last year. The magnitude of growth we experienced in our first year at Atlanta Motor Speedway was humbling. There is endless potential and we look forward to growing as a festival,” says Iris Presents founders Glenn and Madeleine Goodhand.

Tickets are available now starting at $125 for a 3-day pass. VIP passes, with front row pit access, an elevated viewing area, VIP (no line) access, air conditioned chill lounge, bottle service, cocktail service, complimentary champagne toasts, private security, clean trailer bathrooms with running water and air conditioning, giveaways, meet and greets, and more are available starting at $299 for a 3-day pass. Camping passes are now available to purchase as an add-on to the festival tickets, with prices starting at $99. Four camping packages available including GA Camping, VIP Camping, Easy Life Pre-Set Souvenir Tents, The Glamp Life Premium Tents, Geo-Dome Luxe Tents, GA RV Camping and VIP RV Camping. Tickets are available online at www.imaginefestival.com. Imagine Music Festival is an 18 and over event.

Imagine Music Festival is produced by Iris Presents. Visit www.imaginefestival.com for the most up-to-date information. Stay connected on Twitter at www.twitter.com/imaginemusicfes and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/imaginemusicfestival.

Shaky Beats Music Festival

Shaky Beats 2017

After a successful inaugural year in Downtown Atlanta, GA, Shaky Beats Music Festival will return this May 5-7, 2017. This year’s event will see the likes of RL Grime, The Chainsmokers, Griz, Zeds Dead, Kaskade, Gramatik, Bonobo, Galantis, Alison Wonderland, Claude VonStroke, Mija, and more.

Tickets are available for this 18+ event with General Admission tickets going for $165 (not including fees) and VIP tickets going for $399 (not including fees). Single day tickets will be available closer to the event. For all ticket purchasing options, check the ticketing website. For those of you attending the festival, make sure to check the festival information to be properly prepared for the event.

Bassnectar Bucks the Trend with Basslanta

Bassnectar in Atlanta

It seems that lately the general trend with music festivals has been: bigger, flashier, more lights, flames, fireworks, costumes, dancers, confetti, lasers, LED panels, etc. Often times it feels like the main attraction has changed focus from the music to the stages, marketing, and overall spectacle of the event. All those aspects certainly hold an appropriate place in the live music world; they serve as a useful tool to transport fans into another universe and provide extra visual stimulation to complement the music. But at what point does it all become too much? Can you really have too many lights, lasers, and the like? Bassnectar’s two-night “gathering” in Atlanta, GA earlier this month seems to confirm that, yes, there is such a thing as too many visuals at live music events.

Bassnectar announced the Atlanta gathering earlier this year, in April. The Bassnectar team tried to maintain as much secrecy about the event as possible, revealing only a GPS drop pin on a map, and a short description about how the event would differ from other music events: “We are going back to our roots – the underground parties of the 1990s: one room, one floor, no seats, sweat dripping from the ceiling, secret location…” The goal was to put the focus on the music and the people, and remove attention from the artists and the stage.

Just days after Labor Day, thousands of Bassheads descended upon the secret location in Atlanta for the two-night gathering with Bassnectar, Hudson Mohawke, Lunice, Truth, Big Wild, Atliens, and Hustle Up. Although the event was not held in an actual warehouse (in 2016, the logistics of having an officially sanctioned event of this magnitude would make that quite difficult), it was clear that Bassnectar was trying to recreate the warehouse vibe of the old days.

As fans arrived at the location, they traveled down to the bottom floor of a dimly lit, wide open space. There were no gimmicks. No fireworks, costumes, dancers, or flames. Sure, there were lasers, lights, LED panels, and confetti, but all were used sparingly. Indeed, on the first night, Bassnectar played several songs with hardly any lighting at all for large swaths of time, occasionally illuminating a small array of lights to set the mood. At many points, there wasn’t much to see at all, but you could feel everything. With the focus on the environment and not the artist, the surroundings felt barebones and minimalistic, allowing the music to do the talking. A normal festival or concert is often tight and packed. This event felt looser; an emphasis on negative space with large open areas that echoed music off the walls and through your ears. The goal of the event was not to have a large group of people packed around a stage, but instead, a large group of people letting their senses run wild, roaming the dark space both physically and mentally—a paracosm.

Bassnectar is incredibly talented at creating a unique atmosphere for his events. It’s one of the reasons his fans remain so loyal and attend countless Bassnectar events across the country: each one is uniquely different. Much of this can be attributed to his obsession with sounds, samples, set and setting. He [thankfully] doesn’t spend much time on the mic, but when he does, Bassnectar is cool, calm, and collected. A stark difference from the crowd in front of him that is visibly going apeshit crazy for his performance. Basslanta is a quintessential example of Bassnectar’s passion for music, his fans, and being unique. It was a gathering that bucked the trend of bigger and flashier, and instead was an exhibit of how a properly balanced artistic event can foster a much more memorable experience.

Note: One of Bassnectar’s goals with this event was to maintain a sense of mystery, paying homage to the old days of underground parties that were secretive and revolved around the music, rather than the marketing. In writing this article, I wanted to highlight some of the positive aspects of the event, without revealing too much of the mystery. For the full experience, you should check out a Bassnectar event for yourself, if you haven’t already.

The 2016 Imagine Music Festival Experience

Imagine Music Festival 2016 Mainstage Pyrotechnics

Imagine Music Festival celebrated its third year, last month at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, in Atlanta, GA. Previously held at Atlanta’s Historic Fourth Ward Park in Downtown Atlanta, Imagine moved to the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time this year, in order to accommodate larger crowds, camping, and later noise ordinances. In previous years, Imagine had to end at 11PM (with after-parties going later in the night), while this year, performances were allowed to go until 3AM (with after-parties like the Silent Disco going later in the night). On top of the new venue, addition of camping, and later sets, Imagine also added an additional day, making the festival a three-day event.

Glenn and Madeleine Goodhand, the founders of Imagine and the Atlanta-based Iris Promotions LLC and Iris Presents Inc., told the Atlanta Business Chronicle that previous years saw an attendance of 25,000-27,000. They expected to host about 30,000-35,000 fans this year. They were thrilled when the festival ended up hosting about 45,000 attendants, saying: “The magnitude of growth we experienced this year is humbling.” The couple are looking to continue the festival’s growth, noting that “The Atlanta Motor Speedway has endless potential and we look forward to growing into the massive site.”

In order to enter the venue, patrons had to navigate through a pedestrian tunnel that led underneath the speedway and onto the center field, making the journey feel like a portal into another realm. As soon as fans made their exit from the tunnel and onto the center field, they were immersed in an aquatic music and art spectacle. Imagine teamed up with AQUA this year, a special effects company that enhances concerts and festivals. The production company started years ago, in an effort to put their own spin on music events. “By combining lights, lasers and projections we can create 3D visuals, water holograms and mezmerizing [sic] fountains that dance to the beat of the music.” In addition to the visual aspect, AQUA also makes it a point to give back. For every ticket that is sold to one of their events, they donate one month of clean water to a person in need. Complementing the AQUA production and the general theme of water was a large pool in the center of the venue, which was open to the patrons. Additionally, a water slide was available for patrons to use near the Amazonia stage.

Zeds Dead Fireworks at Imagine Music Festival 2016

Fireworks going off at the Oceania Stage

With seven stages at the event, there was no shortage of music. Imagine has an eclectic mix of music ranging from Jam Bands and funk, to Disco and Tropical House, and the heaviest Bass and Dubstep music you’ve heard. The national lineup included the likes of Adventure Club, Benny Benassi, Borgore, Dillon Francis (and his House alter ego, DJ Hanzel, his first performance under that name), The Disco Biscuits, Excision, Gramatik, Nero, Steve Angello, Zeds Dead, 3lau, Dirtyphonics, Lotus, Thomas Jack, SNBRN, Snails, Keys N Krates, and many more. Iris also enlisted the talents of local artists, including Midnite Panda, Daddydough, Alex Lucas, Ployd, Scales (a regular performer at Iris-sponsored events), and more.

While the music selection was great, make no mistake, Imagine fans are some of the most passionate and they come to dance and party. On day two, Chris Lyda, Director of Public Relations at Iris Presents had to politely ask the crowd to tone down the excitement a bit, so that fans at the front row didn’t move the front barrier forward. Apparently patrons were dancing a little too enthusiastically on day one. It must be an interesting problem to have for the festival. On the one hand, it’s a sure sign that the music selection is on point, but on the other hand, the festival has to look out for the safety and well-being of others.

Imagine Music Festival Main Stage 2016

Caspa & Rusko perform at the Oceania Stage

Day One of the Oceania Stage had a great performance by Liquid Stranger early in the day. Following Liquid Stranger, Black Tiger Sex Machine took the stage as the day gave way to night. After BTSM, The Bloody Beetroots got a bit of a late start, but wasted no time turning up the speed once he got going, throwing down heavier and faster-paced music. While The Bloody Beetroots kicked up the tempo to get the crowd going, Caspa & Rusko slowed it right back down, playing a set that paid homage to older Dubstep, a style much more reminiscent of ten years ago. The duo kicked off their set with a newer tune, Blouse An Skirt, but made sure to throw in many of the original Dubstep classics like Woo Boost, Jahova, Pro Nails (Rusko Remix), and California Love (Rusko ‘Da Cali Anthem’ Remix). Caspa & Rusko demonstrated their true performance abilities by utilizing negative space, creating an atmosphere of suspense and tension, making the whole set more cerebral than an average Dubstep performance. Steve Angello followed Caspa & Rusko, while Borgeous capped off the night.

#rusko throwing down the classics at #imf #imaginefestival #wooboost #dancebreak #youredoinggreat

A post shared by dancebreak.net (@dancebreakmusic) on

 

Day Two at the Oceania Stage experienced some heavy sets early in the day, with Funtcase B2B Cookie Monsta, followed by Doctor P. Over at the Amazonia stage, G Jones threw down some masterfully crafted bass tunes. Minnesota followed as the sun dipped low into the sky. He made sure to sync his music with the natural light around him; the later in the night he went, the heavier the music became. The live band Papadosio changed up the pace a bit as they played their funkier songs.

Over at the Disco Inferno Stage, Dillon Francis made his debut performance under the alias DJ Hanzel, his more House-y alter-ego. After DJ Hanzel, EDX adjusted the vibe when he got on and started playing his bubbly House tunes. The Amazonia stage continued the Jam Band/Funk theme with Lotus playing the midnight slot. In addition to the music, Lotus’ visual team does a great job complementing the mood of the music with their spectacular light shows. Back at the main stage Dillon Francis played for the second time of the night, this time as Dillon Francis. As he took the stage, he proclaimed “Fuck DJ Hanzel!” While most people in the crowd laughed, the joke was lost on some fans, not realizing that Dillon Francis and DJ Hanzel are the same person. While Dillon Francis has had mixed results in the past, he put on a good performance at Imagine as he warmed the crowd up for Zeds Dead to close out the night. Unsurprisingly, Zeds Dead put on a stellar show. Their years of experience as producers and DJs are evident in their performances, as they are able to smoothly transition between genres and keep the crowd engaged.

Zeds Dead at Imagine Music Festival 2016

Zeds Dead playing at the Oceania Stage

Day Three at the Amazonia stage saw rising star Opiuo play his multi-genre music, a style he describes as “Broken-frog-stomping-funkadelic-hippo-hop-monkey-crunk-chunky-bouncy-stomach-morphing-bassdolloping-scrumptious-bowl-of-glitchy-bass-love.” He was quite mobile on the stage as he bounced between drum pads, a MIDI controller, and interacting with the crowd. At the Disco Inferno Stage, local artist Alex Lucas played some fun tunes as his set gave way to SNBRN. SNBRN had an appropriately timed set that coincided with the sunset. Back at the Oceania Stage, pantyraid played their signature slow progressive bass music. The duo consists of Marty Party and Ooah (of The Glitch Mob), two producers who frequently work either solo or on other projects. Together, they make a powerhouse of a music team that puts out unique music and performances.

SNBRN at Disco Inferno Stage, Imagine Music Festival 2016

SNBRN at sunset at the Disco Inferno Stage

Over at the Amazonia Stage, Break Science showcased their fusion of styles as they moved between live instruments and DJing. Thomas Jack closed out the Disco Inferno Stage with an 11PM set time. His music matched his tropical attire, playing a relaxed House set continuously through the night.

Confetti at Borgore, Imagine Music Festival 2016

Confetti shooting off at Borgore at the Oceania Stage

Back at the main stage, Borgore demonstrated his technical abilities as he kept the crowd dancing through the night. His performance was quite a sight, as confetti blasted through the air and giant beach balls bounced above the crowd. After Borgore, Nero played a more theatrical set, reminiscent of a movie soundtrack. Nero made sure to include many classic Nero songs like Me & You, Reaching Out, The Recluse, and Promises, while also including some newer material like Satisfy.

Although Imagine showcases a range of top-notch artists and a variety in genres across seven stages, the selection of Excision for the closing set of the weekend on the mainstage highlights Imagine’s most represented demographic: Bass heads. Unsurprisingly, Excision threw down a heavy and grimey Dubstep experience that had the whole crowd going nuts, with no shortage of headbanging. As the night came to a close, festival founders Glenn and Madeleine came on stage to give a special thank you to the fans, staff, and performers, and to announce a quick encore by 12th Planet to close the night out.

Who's a #headbanger? #excision closing out #imf #imaginefestival #youredoinggreat #dancebreak

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The closing ceremony with comments by Glenn and Madeleine highlighted a feeling that I had the whole weekend: Imagine Music Festival is a family affair. The comments were a nice gesture, but more important was the festival as a whole. Although the festival hosted 45,000 fans, the event felt like a smaller community coming together to celebrate the hard-work and effort that Iris and their team invested into the festival. There is certainly some room for improvement; however, the missed opportunities were not unique to Imagine. For example, the placement of free water stations and the general layout of the venue could be improved, as well as an increase in staff. The issues pale in comparison to the overall success of the festival, and fans should be optimistic that this independent festival is produced by a passionate team of locals who wish to see the festival and the Atlanta music scene grow and thrive.

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