While you were re-re-refreshing your SoundCloud stream Labor-day weekend, some 15,000 people gathered in Historic Fourth Ward Park, Atlanta for one of the greatests musical escapes imaginable. Imagine Festival was an oasis in the desert of smartphone drama and facebook trends. Here is a guide to Imagine Festival in all its crafty, sweaty, gnarly glory.
You don’t need a half-assed Yelp review to tell if a festival’s worth going to or not. Imagine had the right ideas: a mist-tent, after-parties at a classic music venue, a shaded mainstage, cold-wind cannons, and local pizza. While the mist-tents felt more like the 3rd session of a sweat-lodge, and the afterparty was a come-spend-more-money-party, IRIS threw down, and spared no expense to make sure Imagine went off without a hitch. Here are some photos I’ve put together to nutshell the experience for you.
First off… Who killed it?
Wick-it: Claiming “Rain or Shine,” is like going "all-in" with a 50% hand. During one of the best sets of the budding Dubstep DJ/Producer’s career, mother nature paid him tribute with thunderous applause. While “The Instigator” tried to keep the crowd going, it wasn’t long before lightning hit close enough to make the metal stage and enclosure look like a human microwave. All 30 minutes of his set were glorious, and as a self-made producer, we’re looking forward to hearing what he’s got for us in the future, and were bummed to see his set taken down prematurely.
Emancipator Ensemble: Known for their Explosions in the Sky style and hypnotic soundscapes, Emancipator lived up to the hype with one incredible set. Tranquil moods, smooth melodies, and that damned mandolin/violin player we can’t get enough of filled the venue and left us in a trance. If you haven’t been following these four, do yourself a favor.
RJD2: The one-man-band behind RJD2, Ramble John Krohn, brought out the big guns for us at Imagine. With three Technics-1200 decks, a custom MPC2000 (Akai), and a small mixer, he performed an (as of recently) forgotten artform. A classic scribble-style performer, RJD2 scratched, slipped, and mixed into each track flawlessly and topped it off with a remix of “Ghostwriter.”
Now the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:
The Good: Free water. Metallic, but refreshing and ensured your sweaty ass didn’t drop. The space was well laid-out, and small enough to where finding people wasn’t an issue. The front of the mainstage had CO2 cannons, which shot sweet salvation into the crowd of well-done party goers.
The Bad: Sky Blu of LMFAO. The man needs no intro… and I’m not pointing fingers, but Sky Blu was the show to miss at Imagine. Sans Mr. Blu, the only issues with the experience were the lack of shade/cover. It felt like searching for pockets of air in a slowly-sinking ship.
The Ugly: The Imaginarium must have been a figment. Were it not for the schedule, I could’ve gone the entire festival without it and not known the difference. It was tucked back in the corner with no worth-while acts and no presence. The stage itself was small, generated almost no sound and therefore no interest. The oh-so-imaginarium was a nice place for new talent to do their thing, but was otherwise inert.
Imagine was fun, safe, and had a certain gravity about it. Everyone seemed to lose and find each other as needed; it was beautiful. I met some of the best (two-day) friends I could’ve Imagined, and can’t wait to do it all again next year. See you there!