With 3 main stages and 3 more smaller stages, you couldn’t possibly catch all the great acts that played over the weekend at Imagine Music Festival, however, with a lot of walking, dancing and hydrating, I caught my fair share.
Day one at a festival for me is mostly about figuring out logistics and locating stages. While there was some hold ups at will call and a long line to gain entrance, I was able to get in to see Leah Culver’s thrilling set of pop and edm on the main Oceania stage that packed more than a few surprises. Beginning with a string quartet and guitar and drums, Leah took the stage singing the first few songs. She told me later she will always think of herself as a singer first. She then moved behind the decks to perform with a youth choir. In total, she brought along 42 people to her set as she explained she wanted the set to be very special and it definitely was.
I moved over to the Shipwreck stage next where the DJs performed on the decks of a literal small ship. Lost Seekers played to a crowd that while sparse they made the best of the ground by dancing wildly to beats. Atlanta’s own Mantis took over command of the ship next and laid down some heavy rhythms as I moved back to the main stage.
Nothing could prepare the crowd or security for the mayhem that went on for NGHTMRE’s set. As soon as he started the first track the crowd broke out in a wild frenzy, shaking and banging against the barricades for the entire set. As I took photos of the stage, planks that held the barricades in place jumped and I had the feeling of being in eye of a storm of savages. I ended the night with Deorro who played an overall excellent dance heavy set.
Day Two, I went out exploring the far end of the festival for the Amazonia stage where another local DJ, Ployd was playing. Amazonia, the other large stage, had more of a chill and jam vibe. Ott, one of my favorite acts of the festival played next. Ott plays a very psychedelic dub mixture of electronic beats. He played as an aerialist performed above him. It was an amazing and beautiful set to both hear and see.
The Disco Inferno stage is in the middle of the festival and this is the stage that brought the best dancing music. The inferno part of the stage name refers to the large fire blasts that shoot out from the top of the stage, illuminating the crowd in a fiery glow of intense heat. Nora En Pure played an exhilarating set there that had the crowd calling out for an encore which she happily obliged. She told me playing up there was like playing a set in an oven but it was worth every second. Back at Amazonia, The Floozies jammed the stage with a horn section and their own trippy brand of funky disco. Flux Pavilion and Deadmau5 wrapped up the night with sets of up heavy dubstep and layered electronic music, respectively.
Day three, I could see the high energy of the past two days had some effect on the crowd as they looked a bit more haggard but still more than ready to give it a go. Rob Garza played an inspired set of techno and dance on the Amazonia stage. Then I ran over to catch 12th Planet bring the Oceania stage to life with his heavy blend of dubstep rhythms. Another one of my favorite sets followed as Illenium brought a wonderful and exciting set of electronic rhythms and melodic dubstep.
The Dirty Bird Players took over the Disco Inferno stage with Dateless and Will Clarke getting a good groove on. The finale of the festival for me and most others was Above and Beyond on the Oceania Stage. They brought their special “group therapy” to the crowd and they embraced it until the very end of the night. Overall, Imagine Festival proved to be the epically beautiful experience I was looking forward to ending my summer on.
Check out our photo gallery from the event here.