Imagine Pulls Off a Weekend of Top-Notch Music, Despite Operational Letdowns
written by Connor McAuliffe
Imagine Festival at a glance
Music genre: Dubstep, Trap, Glitch-Hop, Jam Bands, Drum and Bass, Deep House
Camping: GA Tent Camping and VIP RV Camping or Tent Camping.
Capacity: Medium (About 30,000)
Crowd type: Kandi Kids and Ravers
Water stations: Yes, but tough to find due to lack of visibility.
For the first-timers
This year, Imagine relocated from the Historic Fourth Ward Park in Atlanta, Georgia to the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton. For those traveling by car, Atlanta Motor Speedway is pretty easy to reach, located just a few miles off Interstate 75. For anyone flying in, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is roughly 20 miles from the venue.
Camping was introduced to Imagine for the first time this year, and while I prefer camping for festivals that offer it, beware: Atlanta might be hotter than you expect (temperatures reached the 90s). General admission camping offers car and tent only camping. You are given a 20×20 spot for your campsite, plus access to showers and bathrooms with plumbing. There is also a silent disco for those who are up to dance until the sun comes up in the campgrounds.
VIP campers get larger spaces in closer proximity to the festival entrance and private VIP bathrooms and showers. RV camping and Sky View VIP Camping both include hookups for water and electricity, but the Sky View VIP includes the full hookup and a view of the festival from afar.
Each of the five stages (Oceania, Amazonia, Disco Inferno, Aeria, Atlantis) had their own unique design. Many were equipped with pyro features that generated an awe inspiring view during some sets.
Imagine Festival teamed up with AQUA this year on the Oceania stage, with 3D water holograms adding another special stage feature. The Oceania stage was the main attraction of the weekend, with performances by Adventure Club, Dillon Francis, Zeds Dead, 12th Planet, Nero, and Excision supported by lasers, strobe lights, and CO2/confetti cannons to attract large crowds.
The Amazonia stage saw performances by plenty of jam bands, funk, trap, and glitch-hop artists including Gramatik, The Disco Biscuits, Lotus, Opiuo, Break Science, Beats Antique, Minnesota, and G Jones. Although lasers and strobe lights were present, they also had some colorful awnings in front of the sound booth that provided some shade during the day.
Centered in the middle of the venue along the racetrack, the Disco Inferno stage welcomed the crowd with a wide open area. The disco ball onstage was open in the center, and numerous pillars around the stage lit up with fire visuals during different sets. DJ Hanzel headlined the stage on Saturday night with a large crowd and did not disappoint!
I was beyond pumped to see 12th Planet again, after seeing him for the first time last year at Imagine. He’s definitely what I was looking forward to most, but of course, there were plenty more memory-worth moments…
- Snails dropping Skrillex/Rick Ross collaboration “Purple Lamborghini” had the crowd going wild with trap arms.
- The smooth tunes and hard bass during Minnesota reminded me of his All Good Records Radio set. To listen, click here!
- Going “von deeper” with DJ Hanzel at the Disco Inferno stage.
- The grimy tracks Adventure Club dropped surpassed my expectations with more bangers than I could have ever expected.
- Riding the rail for Opiuo to catch the glitch-hop hype was well worth it!
- Gramatik closed down the Amazonia stage on Sunday, playing a handful of funky tunes that led into hard trap. My favorite moment was him playing the unreleased GRiZmatik track “Taking My Freedom”, watch the video here!
Things to do
- Cool off in the splash pool
- Participate in POI
- Attend workshops
- Meet and Greet with artists
- Ride the Ferris wheel, swing set, or water slide
- Browse vendors
- View live art
- Silent Disco
VIP or nah
VIP ticketholders were offered numerous amenities this year, which ranged from express entry into the festival, exclusive bars, and an elevated viewing deck/front row pit access at the stages. Unfortunately, Imagine struggled to deliver all of these perks. VIP areas were supposed to be set up at the Oceania and Amazonia stages, but there was only one area located at Oceania and no front row pit access at any stage. And, due to Fire Marshall orders, the elevated viewing was limited to Super VIP on Saturday and Sunday, which visibly upset many VIP ticketholders and caused some conflicts with security. I also did not see any complimentary champagne toasts, private security, or free giveaways that VIP was promised as well. Festival staff seems to be working diligently to resolve individual issues, but with varying ticketholder satisfaction. Hopefully in the future, VIP will be worth it to beat the Georgia summer heat!