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Disco Inferno Heats Up Imagine Music Festival

Imagine 2017 - Nora En Pure performs at Disco Inferno

Last month, Imagine Music Festival took over the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, GA, just outside of Atlanta, September 22-24, 2017. We gave a brief overview of the Imagine experience, which is hosted by IRIS Presents, Inc., the Atlanta-based dance music events and promotion company. This week, we dive deeper into the production and design of Imagine Music Festival, highlighting the iconic Disco Inferno Stage, a pyrotechnic work of art designed and built by the Incendia production team and their collaborators, led by Cory and Tyler Glenn.

Based out of Atlanta, Incendia has been heating things up lately on a national level as they utilize their artistic stage production talents at festivals across the country. The two brothers got their start in the Burning Man scene, where Cory frequently built art projects for regional Burns. After stumbling across the fire inversion technology that they now use in their stage designs and realizing they had a product that could appeal to a wide audience, they took it to the music festival scene, contributing to Imagine Music Festival from Day One. Tyler got an early start in the music business, running a club in Athens, GA at the ripe age of 20. It was this background in music business that gave him the opportunity to get involved with IRIS Presents just over four years ago, when he served as a talent buyer for the first year of Imagine, while also assisting the directors. While Tyler was focused on the music business, Cory was more involved in the artistic side of things. Together, they pulled Incendia into the first year of Imagine Music Festival, where they served a smaller role at the Historic Fourth Ward Park, Imagine’s original venue location. The first two years that Imagine was held at the Fourth Ward Park, Incendia setup misting systems for daytime cooling and fire lounges at night.

The lounges still make an appearance these days at Imagine, however, they are a small part of Incendia’s larger production. In 2016, Imagine moved to its current location, the Atlanta Motor Speedway, giving them a lot more area to work with. Disco Inferno made its first appearance at Imagine in 2016 and built upon its success this 2017. The 2017 stage featured a main half-dome decorated like a disco ball, where the DJs would perform from, as well as two small domes on either side of the stage. Each dome and the trusses above them sported various propane cannons for the pyrotechnic effects. In addition to the flames, the stage featured some more traditional productions like huge sound systems, LED walls, and other various lighting effects. The crew of 24 spent five days building the entire Disco Inferno Stage, working about 16-18 hours per day. It took about three days to break the stage down after the conclusion of Imagine. Of the 24, Cory’s team of about a dozen worked specifically on building the domes and pyrotechnic effects, as part of Incendia’s contribution.

Before the festival kicks off, the Incendia team goes through their safety check. Cory likens the detail and process to the pre-flight check that pilots conduct prior to flying an airplane. “We adjust everything to conform to all applicable standards. We do extensive system checks every day. We check for leaks. … We go around, we check the functionality of everything, make sure everything is dialed in correctly.” They do skin temperature readings with a laser thermometer to ensure that the pressure of the propane system is appropriately adjusted to the radius of the crowd. Once everything checks out, the crowd fills in and the flames start flying!

Imagine 2017 - The Funk Hunters perform at Disco Inferno

The Funk Hunters performing at the Disco Inferno Stage – Photo by Phil MacDonald

All of the fire controls are analogue. Cory expands: “We have like an arcade-style button box with different buttons representing different effects. We’ll sit there and try to anticipate the flow of the music,” adding that “it’s kind of crowd interactive as well; we can bring in friends, or other people in the industry … to play with the buttons and have fun with it.” There are a number of effects they can use, based on the build of the stage, but at Imagine this year, the main propane cannon behind the stage could shoot flames as high as about 100 feet in the air, a rough estimate, as Cory adds: “I’m not up there with a measuring tape, I like my eyebrows where they are.”

Imagine 2017 - The Funk Hunters perform at Disco Inferno

Flames go off at the Disco Inferno Stage as The Funk Hunters Perform – Photo by Phil MacDonald

Long before the festival starts, let alone is even built, Cory and Tyler plan the setup of Disco Inferno. Cory covers the pyrotechnic aspect of the build, while Tyler designs the stage and coordinates the logistics of LED walls, audio, truss towers, and crafting a budget.

When picking a stage location, Cory and his team have to be a little particular, as they have to take into consideration “flatness and proximity of flammable material.” The area must be flat for two reasons: 1) the dome structures they utilize do not have adjustable legs like many traditional stages do and 2) the inversion fuelings must remain flat to operate correctly.

Meanwhile, Tyler details his preparation, which includes a general high-level goal for him: “I really like to create a little bit more of the environment, a little bit more of an immersive experience.” He adds that a lot of bigger festivals tend to have two-dimensional stages. When he’s in charge of a stage, Tyler tries to “design something where people feel a little more comfortable,” so that that the attendants don’t “feel like they’re out and exposed in the middle of nowhere.” Tyler expands: “What I strive for is taking that out of there and getting people more of a space to feel surrounded and feel comfortable and therefore have a better overall experience.”

His process starts by creating a rough design in 3D format using Google SketchUp. His design is pretty close to the final product, but Tyler notes that his expertise only goes “so far in the realm of sound, video, lighting, and fire,” so he works with other people that specialize in those fields. Using Google SketchUp allows him to easily pass his 3D designs off to his specialists, as the SketchUp files are natively supported by Vectorworks, an industry standard product for stage design.

Imagine 2017 - Disco Inferno at Sunset

Sunset over the Disco Inferno Stage during Chris Lake’s set – Photo by Phil MacDonald

Tyler is able to bring his stage designs to life with the help of his industry specialists and collaborators: 4Life Entertainment provided lighting and video equipment and installation, while Liquid Lux Light Design and Adam Gray Lighting provided lighting design services, and Rhizome NYC took care of visuals. Meanwhile, Music Matters, a local audio company, provided the sound system for Disco Inferno, which included an array of Meyer Leopard speakers. He notes that this specific system was deliberately chosen for Disco Inferno due to its ability to project at a wide range. Tyler and his team wanted to make sure that, given the relatively large width and shallow depth of the stage, attendants would get the full range of audio frequencies regardless of where they were standing.

In addition to the main half-dome disco ball at the center of the layout were two truss systems that extended like wings on either side of the center stage, each hanging an array of speaker stacks and LED walls in ascending height. Further beyond the truss systems were two smaller pyro domes on either side of the stages—the smaller lounge-style setups that Incendia utilizes to fill smaller areas. The lounges feature misting systems during the day and flames at night. Two additional truss systems stood at the back of the dance floor, sporting additional lighting. The whole layout extends almost entirely 360 degrees around the dance floor, so that regardless of where attendants stand, they are able to look in any direction and feel immersed. The back lighting area served as the border of the Disco Infero dance floor, which featured live-painting on the first night from local artists, like Danny Sanzone, giving fans the opportunity to pull back from the main action, but still feel involved. The 360-degree layout was the brain-child of Tyler’s careful crafting and execution by his production team.

In spite of all of the planning, Disco Inferno did run into some issues this year. On night one of the event, the Disco Inferno Stage hosted a slew of bass and funk artists with a lineup that included Andy Bruh, Daily Bread, Squnto, Esseks, Yheti, Buku, ill.Gates, The Funk Hunters, Bleep Bloop, and Minnesota. It was then when issues with Disco Inferno’s power source became apparent. The stage briefly lost power several times on the first night, until the main generator was eventually swapped out with a backup one provided by the power production manager. It was later determined that the first generator had an issue with a loose cable connected to the engine control unit. Regarding the power issues, Tyler commented on the effect that Hurricane Irma, which made US landfall on September 10, had on Imagine:

“Being that we were just at the tail end of the hurricane coming through, our whole generator order that we already had in place got switched up, because everything gets dedicated down to disaster relief. As it should. So it was a little bit of a scramble there at the end to locate the power sources and everything like that. Thankfully, it was executed properly, and we did have a backup there to take care of that.”

Once Disco Inferno got the backup generator rolling, the rest of the weekend went off without issue. After the bass-heavy first night at Disco Inferno, things changed tempo, as nights two and three exhibited more House and Techno artists. Night 2 had performances from Alex Lucas, Ariel, Chris Lake, Nora En Pure, Claptone, and Gorgon City. Night 3 was dominated by the Dirtybird Players Stage. After a performance from Atlanta local, Wiggle Factor, Dirtybird artists took over the remainder of the night. Ciszak, Dateless, Will Clarke, Shiba San, and Claude VonStroke performed throughout the night at Disco Inferno, with Claude VonStroke closing out the festival. The Glenn brothers are both quick to point out that putting together something like Disco Inferno takes a lot of coordination from a large group of talented people. Tyler points to the serious focus from all of the individuals, “it was a very large group of friends that came together” to make the stage happen. Adding, “it wasn’t a whole bunch of hired help. Everybody that was a part of it was a part of it from the get-go and all the way through. We’re all part of a larger group of friends making an idea happen.”

The culmination of Disco Inferno 2017 was especially exciting for Tyler Glenn, as he got engaged at Imagine on Night 2. On Night 3, Glenn Goodhand, owner of Imagine and IRIS, gave a congratulatory shout out to Tyler during the closing ceremony of Imagine Music Festival, at Cory’s request. The two brothers plan to continue building Incendia and Disco Inferno, as Tyler notes, the goal is always “bigger, better, and larger.”

Editor’s Note: In 2017, even weeks after Hurricane Irma made landfall in the US, Imagine still felt the effects of the storm. Through the American Red Cross, they setup a donation campaign for the Hurricane Irma relief effort. In addition to Hurricane Irma, 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: 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 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.

Imagine Festival 2016: Artist Preview

Imagine Festival - 4 Days Away

Imagine Music Festival 2016 is just days away from kicking off at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta, GA. If you haven’t grabbed tickets yet, check out the options that are still available. The daily schedule has also been released, so make sure to take a look so you can plan out your weekend. With that in mind, we wanted to point out some artists that we’re looking forward to seeing. We picked out the following six artists (plus a bonus) by focusing on performers at Imagine that have a unique and original sound and are relatively removed from the mainstream. That’s not to say that we think mainstream music is necessarily better or worse, we just like to highlight artists that we think have a lot of growth potential. Additionally, we tried to have representation from each day, specifically focusing on artists that we think will perform particularly well in their given time slot.

Caspa B2B Rusko

While Caspa & Rusko likely have some of the best name recognition at Imagine, we still wanted to include them on this list given the circumstances. Both hailing from the UK, Caspa and Rusko have a long and storied history of working together. They are frequently cited as some of the earliest and most influential dubstep producers and often take credit in shaping and popularizing the genre. After spending seven years of DJing and producing solo, the two have come together again to rock the stage, and we couldn’t be more excited. The two were largely out of the limelight for the last couple of years, until they started making festival appearances this 2016. It will be really exciting to see what these veteran DJs and producers will show us this Friday at 10:30M, Day 1 of Imagine.

Minnesota

Christian Bauhofer, who goes by the stage name of Minnesota, has been kicking around for quite some time. He has dominated a corner of the bass music scene with his astral music that seems to shoot you through space. He has carved out a unique sound for himself; he knows how to bring the heavy bass when appropriate, but also pull back and present a softer, more emotional side of music. Performing on Day 2 at 8:15PM, his set time will coincide with sunset, which should make for a particularly spectacular setting as daylight gives way to night.

Phutureprimitive

Bay Area producer and songwriter Rain, better known as Phutureprimitive, describes his music as “dripping wet love drops of nasty mind melting sonic bliss.” Like many other artists at Imagine, Phutureprimitive occupies some of the more bass-heavy genres of music, crafting his own signature style of “lush melodies” and “fuzzy bass.” You can catch Phutureprimitive at 11PM of Day 2.

Lotus

This five-piece band has previously described their music as Rock, Electronic, Post-Rock, Jamband, Electro, Funk, and most recently, Dance Rock. Imagine Festival has its share of heavier and more electronic acts, as well as jam bands and instrumentals. Lotus is one of the groups that you can expect to bridge that gap, playing a style of music that is heavily instrumental, but very upbeat and easy to dance to. These guys are all around just tons of fun! You can look forward to their music and spectacular accompanying light design at 12AM on Day 2.

Opiuo

Broken-frog-stomping-funkadelic-hippo-hop-monkey-crunk-chunky-bouncy-stomach-morphing-bassdolloping-scrumptious-bowl-of-glitchy-bass-love. That’s what Oscar Davey-Wraight, AKA Opiuo refers to the genre of music he produces, not wanting to pigeonhole himself into a genre that might not fully encompass the sound of his music. Originally hailing from Ngatimoti, New Zealand, Opiuo has been crushing the bass scene for the last couple of years. If you’re a Bass or Glitch fan, definitely make sure to check out Opiuo and his chunky and scrumptious bowl of glitch sounds at 6:30PM on Day 3.

Thomas Jack

With a lot of representation of the bass, funk, and spacey realms of music, we wanted to make sure we got a little representation from the traditional club scene. Originally from Bemboka, Australia, Thomas Jack has been spending a lot of time recently making a name for himself in the US. While he may be most known for his Tropical House music, a style which he helped popularize, he also branches out into other styles frequently, making his sets dynamic. His music seems to take after his own persona, as he always appears to be having ton of fun on stage, dressed in his signature laidback tropical outfits. You’ll be able to catch Thomas Jack on Day 3 at 11PM.

Bonus Banger Set: Zeds Dead

Call it the fanboy in me, but I couldn’t resist giving a shout-out to Zeds Dead. As a fan, this lineup is particularly special for me because it features many of the original dubstep artists that sucked me into the scene around 2009-2010: Doctor P, Caspa & Rusko, Nero, Excision, Zeds Dead, and many others. Needless to say, if you’re a headbanger, Imagine must be looking pretty appetizing right about now! Zeds Dead have been such a dominant force in the Bass music world for years now. They consistently produce phenomenal bass and dubstep tracks, and venture into other genres when they feel like it, and their live shows are one of a kind. I had to make sure to include Zeds Dead, because one can only imagine how rowdy the main stage will be at 2AM on Day 2 with Zeds Dead closing out the night!

See you this weekend!

Meet the Founders of Imagine Music Festival

Imagine Music Festival 2015

(pictured above, The Glitch Mob perform at Imagine Music Festival 2015)

Summer is in full swing and for music fans that also means Imagine Music Festival is just around the corner. Imagine Music Festival will be taking over the Atlanta Motor Way in Atlanta, GA August 26-28. The final lineup has been released and includes some big names like Adventure Club, Benny Benassi, Borgore, Dillon Francis, Excision, Steve Angello, Zeds Dead, The Disco Biscuits, Gramatik, Caspa B2B Rusko, The Bloody Beetroots, and many more artists. If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, a range of options are available with General Admission tickets starting at $199 (plus taxes & fees).

Leading up to the festival, Dancebreak had the opportunity to talk to the founders of Iris Presents, Inc. and Imagine Music Festival, Glenn and Madeleine Goodhand. Continue reading below to get a look into what goes into planning Imagine Music Festival and what to expect at this year’s event. For clarity, Dancebreak comments are italicized, while responses from the founders are not.

You folks have been putting on events long before Imagine. How did you come to decide to create Imagine Music Festival?

We have been putting on events for over 20 years. The impetus behind creating Imagine started from a void of authenticity felt at other festivals. We felt that the experience was lacking and people were not being treated right.  For all of our events, our motto has always been “treat others as you would like them to treat you.” With this core value in mind, we sought to create a festival that was 100% customer-centric, maintained its integrity and had the thickest vibe possible.

Have either of you been involved with writing or creating music, or have you primarily been focused on putting on events?

Our primary focus is putting on events, however we also are passionate about helping develop local up and coming artists. By providing the highest quality production – our stage creates a platform like none other for local acts to practice and grow their fan base. We believe Atlanta has some of the best talent in the land and we are blessed to be able to showcase it.

What goes into creating something like Imagine? For patrons, it can seem like new festivals pop up rather quickly and without warning. What kind of work goes on behind the scenes leading up to a festival? How long was Imagine in the works before its debut?

A lot of blood, sweat, tears and more work than you can “imagine.”

What sets Imagine apart? Objectively speaking, it seems like you have gained quite a bit of recognition. But, at the ground level, what makes Imagine different? If you were to teleport someone to Imagine without telling them where they were, what sights and sounds would that person see that are unique to Imagine?

The biggest difference that you will feel is that we are one of the few remaining independent festivals. At Imagine you will experience a spectacle of aquatic themed performers; circus acts; transformational village; a colorful lineup with many gems to discover; and an incredibly positive vibe from both festival-goers and our staff.

Is IRIS primarily an Atlanta-based initiative? Are you involved with other events outside of the Atlanta area? If not, do you have aspirations to grow outside of the Atlanta area?

IRIS is currently based out of Atlanta, with most of our events happening in the area. We have been involved with almost every major EDM event to come through the city, since the nineties. It’s our home and therefore has been a great place for us to start. We are always looking for opportunities to expand and eventually would like to be an internationally recognized brand.

Are you primarily focused on dance music, or do you have other ventures unrelated to dance music that you’re involved in that you would like to share?

Our roots are in electronic music – it’s where we got our start and is what we know best. Music is always evolving however, and we will evolve with the music. That being said we have some other projects in the works that would open us up to experimenting with other genres and new experiences.

Dance music used to be more of a counterculture idea; the artists, patrons, and enthusiasts tended to be more on the fringe of what society considered “normal.” Yet these days, it’s everywhere. In your opinion, what caused that change? Did dance music become more “normal” or did society become more “weird?”

At its core, the scene was always about the music and gathering together for the music, the love, the party, and the knowledge. Dance music makes you feel good and creates an environment free of judgment where you could express yourself. I wouldn’t say that the participants were not normal, some were perhaps the most ordinary of people looking for an escape from their everyday lives. It’s hard not to like electronic music as it can be very uplifting. It was only a matter of time for the mass-market to catch on – we believe the internet and social media perhaps played the biggest role in lifting the music out of the underground. It simply became easier for more people to connect and share a common love for the music.

Has this changed the way you plan, promote, and throw events at all?

To keep some of our old school flavor, we still employ some traditional promotional methods, but Social Media sure has made getting the word out much easier.

What challenges has the commercialization of dance music presented for you guys? How have you benefited?

Most promoters will agree that skyrocketing DJ rates has created the biggest challenge for festivals. Now there is a larger market out there opening our events up to more people, but there is still a great deal of risk involved.

To wrap things up, can you comment on what patrons can expect for this year’s Imagine? What’s something that a returning Imagine fan can look forward to? What about someone who is coming to Imagine for the first time?

At the end of last year’s show, we took to the stage and promised everyone that things would only get bigger and better – and that still holds true. From a bigger lineup, more performers, more days, bigger venue with camping – there is a lot to look forward to this year. For someone coming to Imagine for the first time, we hope they feel the same energy and love that was felt by every first-timer before them.

Thank you for your time, we look forward to seeing you all at Imagine Music Festival this August!