Imagine Music Festival, hosted by Iris Presents at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, went all out for their 5th anniversary this past September 21-23, 2018, featuring some of the most popular artists in the electronic music world. The Oceania Stage featured a slew of artists like Bassnectar, RL Grime, Zeds Dead, Kaskade, Galantis, Adventure Club, The Glitch Mob. The Amazonia Stage stayed true to its roots, hosting a variety of electronic fusion and jam bands like Griz, Zhu, Jai Wolf, Cashmere Cat, Shpongle, Eoto, and Lotus. Meanwhile, the Disco Inferno Stage featured some heavy-hitting bass artists on the first night, like Joker, Koan Sound, Shlump, Noisia, Boogie T B2B Squnto, before switching up to primarily House music on Saturday and Sunday nights. Disco Inferno played host to Green Velvet’s Lalaland on Saturday night, joined by Tiga, Walker & Royce, and Latmun. Sunday night was witness to Oliver Helden’s Heldeep Records takeover accompanied by Chocolate Puma, EDX, and Wax Motif. A slew of other artists filled in the gaps throughout the weekend, ranging from all sorts of genres like Trance, House, Dubstep, Freeform Bass, Drum & Bass, Electro Funk, and everything in between, including a silent disco that hosted artists late into the night when the main stages ended for the night.
In its fifth year, Imagine made some noteworthy changes to the stage and visual design. The Oceania Stage got a significant facelift with the help of Algorhythm Designs. The new design featured a wide footprint with an aquatic theme, complete with sea-creature-themed dancers and performers, some of which performed from raised half-dome shaped pools on either ends of the stage. Because of the cost of the enormity of the 5th anniversary lineup, Imagine scaled back the scope of other stages, like Disco Inferno, Amazonia, and Aeria. The Disco Inferno Stage still featured stage design and pyrotechnics courtesy of Incendia, although on a smaller scale compared to last year. Similarly, the Amazonia Stage looked more like the design from 2016 than 2017, although still staying true to its Amazon-jungle theme with vines and foliage draped above the stage. Additionally, there was a smaller presence of live painters and artists that often painted in the vicinity of the various stages. While the toned-down scale of the stage design was a bit of an adjustment, many would argue that it was a worthwhile tradeoff, considering the depth of talent of musicians and artists booked for the weekend.
It looks like Imagine wanted to bring out the big guns for their fifth anniversary. From a music standpoint, they succeeded on that front. After that banger of a musical performance, it could be worthwhile to change things up and see what Imagine would look like in the future with a little less money spent on pricey headlining artists, while reinvesting that money into unique stage designs, art installations, and up-and-coming musicians and artists.