Imagine Music Festival has came and gone in its 4th annual water-wonderland experience at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. This year the festival was held later in the year to beat the heat, which definitely helped, as well as the gates opening later everyday to keep people out of the heat a little longer than before.
One of the major complaints of last year, lack of water fill stations. This year, as soon as you walked past security, there was water fill up stations. Anytime you needed water or to use the bathroom, there were some not to far away, and they were easily accessible. I don’t ever recall waiting to use the bathroom, and if I waited in line for water it was only behind 1 or 2 people. They also had staff at every water station helping people fill up their packs, something probably learned from Insomniac and their events.
One of my favorite things about Imagine, was the full 360 degree experience. It didn’t matter whether or not you were at the front rail, or if you were in the back laying down in the grass. You could see the lasers, you could feel the fire, one of those giant balloons came flying by you, confetti was landing near you, or you were being handed an LED foam stick by some of the lovely Imagine staff.
There were lots of shade canopies put up at both the Oceania and Amazonia stage, as well as lights and other stage production effects set up on the canopies. If the lights on the stage turned red, the lights on the canopies turned red, in turn turning almost the entire crowd red, and vice versa with any other colors. This type of feeling is something you don’t always see at outdoor festivals.
The other good thing about the canopies, is it restricted people from forcing themselves to the front of the crowd. With metal scaffolding every 20-50 feet, it really spaced the crowd out, so you never felt like you were too packed in. At almost any set I could walk from the side of the stage to the back without fighting through much of any crowd.
Now to the lineup/schedule. The way that Imagine layered the artists on the schedule was perfect in my opinion. Most days started out slow, and then the dubstep and more “hardcore” styles of EDM were played, and by midnight it would slow back down again to artists like Big Gigantic, Seven Lions, Pretty Lights, Deadmou5 or STS9. I think the energy levels of everyone were very well managed by the layout of the schedule in this way, and props to Imagine for that.
The Silent Disco after-hours in the campgrounds gave campers something to do before bed, as well as the Heady Made Weird amplified sound stage, hidden in the middle of the campgrounds.
My one major complaint for Imagine, the security lines on Friday and Saturday. Some people had to wait over an hour in the security line just to get in Friday and Saturday. By Sunday they opened up a second entrance, and those entrance times went down to about 5 minutes. This is a huge vibe killer after being at camp all day and then wandering over to the entrance just to have to wait in line, especially if you planned on seeing a DJ in 30 minutes. If you did you probably missed them.
All in all, the lines would not deter me from going to Imagine again, I think Imagine will learn from this year. Handling the entrance lines the right way from day 1 will be key for their future success.
Nothing beats being able to sit in the raceway stands and watch all the stages and people at once. I sat in awe as I watched the fireworks show and an entire crowd of lit up blue LED’s dancing around and having the time of their lives. It was nothing but beautiful.
If you didn’t make it this year, plan on it next year. They are only going to get better and better with each year.