Our Aquatic Journey Through Imagine Festival

WRITTEN BY STEPHANIE PIEDRAHITA

From the expansive view atop the bleachers walking into the festival, to the aquatic play area (with a raver lifeguard of course) filled with attendees, Imagine Festival brought us into a magical underwater world where good music and vibes came in waves through out the three day event. The Atlanta Speedway, 30 minutes south of Atlanta, Georgia, is a massive space that was perfect for a festival of it’s kind due to successes with other brands like EDC in Las Vegas. It was a cool opportunity to see that logistical effort applied in the south eastern part of the country, the camping option gave fans an even bigger chance to be a part of the fun. The weather was a concern at some point but the festival was on point when it came to constantly moving free water refill lines, misters for days and ample shade installations if you haven’t already taken a dip in their wade pool. The most impressive thing I saw during my time at Imagine Music Festival is how hard fans go for artists, familiar and new. Over the course of a few hours, starting with Leah Culver’s set and ending with Datsik’s, the Oceania photo pit increasingly got smaller and smaller due to the powerful headbangers gripping and pushing forward the rail. Because this area is also meant as a path for emergency response teams, Imagine staff quickly fixed the issue by restricting access to the then dangerous zone for the remainder of the night and by placing cements blocks to ensure a clear pathway the following day. It was a moment of amazement to see how fired up a crowd can get, the seamless responsiveness of the production team was even more so. Another moment that is burned in my head is the entire festival crowd moving from one end of the venue towards the main stage ten minutes before the beginning of NGHTMRE’s set. I’ve been to so many festivals who struggle with giving their audience an ample amount of space to walkthrough but that wasn’t the case here at all. The performances we saw were unique, with the artists making extra efforts to create a wonderful experience for fans. Leah Culver took over the Oceania stage for a sunset performance which included live elements, surprising attendees when rising producer Nitti Gritti joined her on stage as a guitarist and a local children’s choir. The Dirtybird Players came out in full force on Sunday at Disco Inferno, a stage with insanely dope pyrotechnics artists like Claude Von Stroke, Will Clarke and Shiba San were a part of.They definitely brought the heat that day, effectively finishing the weekend off strong as people begged to stay longer. Chris Lake was there the night before, drawing in a huge crowd and endless dance floor. We saw creative productions here too; a silent disco in the campground keeping the after hours going,  a shipwrecked rave site and nostalgic carnival rides were part of the welcoming, open atmosphere. What most don’t see are the enormous staff teams who make the event possible; medical, logistics, artist liasons, media teams and production crews are the back bone of all festivals. The people we met backstage that weekend were quick to address any issues that arose and kept their ears open on ways to improve for next year. Getting to speak to the very people who built the stages was humbling, as they worked hours on end in scorching heat to make sure the production was safe and beautiful for everyone. The facts are that no event is perfect and the only thing that can be controlled is how we react; Given it’s in it’s fifth year and has gotten better and better as time passes, Imagine Festival showed us that they’re dedicated to it’s growth and bringing dance music closer to you. Can’t wait to dance with mermaids again next year! ]]>