I attended Imagine Music Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, with SGTV's John Wagoner, not entirely knowing what we would be getting ourselves into. We have been to electronic dance music shows before and I have been to music festivals before as well. However, I've never been to a full-blown EDM festival, especially one with a campground for that matter.
This year marked the third year of Imagine. For the past two years, Imagine had been held in the Old Fourth Ward in Atlanta. Up until this year, Imagine had indirect competition with TomorrowWorld, but TomorrowWorld has been canceled for 2016 due to the “current environment.” This left Imagine as the major EDM festival in Atlanta.
Imagine Music Festival took the opportunity of being the sole EDM festival in Atlanta and made a behemoth of a festival. Newly relocated to Atlanta Motor Speedway, Imagine featured five stages, a pool, vendors and live circus acts. For an independent festival, it can be hard to fill each stage with compelling DJs. The way they attracted all types of people to each stage was by having a huge variety in the line-up.
And what a variety it was. With headliners like Adventure Club, Dillon Francis, Zeds Dead and other acts including Thomas Jack, Keys N Krates and Dirty South the list goes on and on. The point I’m trying to get here is this year’s lineup had depth — a surprising amount of it. With over 60 DJs sharing five stages, there was always something new to listen to. A great possibility when attending a music festival is the opportunity to listen to something new. A new DJ can be heard while walking around the festival or while waiting for another act to go on.
Discovering new music at a festival is like trying new food. The uncertainty of whether you will like it looms until you take that first bite. If it is not for you, one bite is enough. But if you like it, you take a few bites more. You then begin to savor the flavor. To be satisfied with this new discovery. Once you have finished your plate, you are left hungry for more. This is how I felt leaving Imagine Music Festival; I wanted more.
As with most festivals, there are hiccups in execution, and Imagine was no exception. The five stages felt more like two main stages, leaving the other three to play second-fiddle to the main stages. The lack of clearly marked stages, vendors and bathrooms left many festival goers (including myself) in a constant state of confusion.
Logistically, the Atlanta Motor Speedway was a great location for this music festival. In relation to the city, the Atlanta Motor Speedway is only about a 40-minute drive from downtown Atlanta. Camping was strewn all along the outer edges of the parking lot, and there were ample lots to fill. When all of the headliners went on late at night, it made camping the best option to see the latest set. Believe me, you will want to stay for the last set.
Imagine has come a long way in its three short years. With its new location, it now has room to grow. Yes, there will be growing pains and kinks to work out. Some of those were apparent when I attended the festival. But as a whole, Imagine has the potential to become one of the premier festivals in Georgia and in the Southeast. Imagine does have a lot of growing to do, but it has the foundations of what makes a music festival worth attending. I cannot wait to see what it grows into.