Imagine festival continues to improve experience

Photo by Kaiser Salani, Student Publications

Imagine Music Festival was back for another crazy weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway this past weekend. This year’s lineup featured some familiar names for regular Imagine attendees as well as new artists. It is well known that Imagine’s lineup is revered year after year, a feat that is especially impressive for a smaller scale EDM festival. The size of Imagine now compares to festivals like EDC, but it is still niche compared to festivals as big as Bonaroo and Coachella.

Of course, this difference in size is reflected in the difference in price. To attend a festival like Coachella, an EDM-lover would have to shell out $500 for the ticket and then more for flights and overpriced food at the venue. Imagine has friendlier pricing with tickets around $200, and for an Atlantan, Imagine as a first choice is a no-brainer. Fanatics and baby-ravers can both enjoy the festival — one, two and three day passes are available, plus camping.

The first to arrive this weekend were the Thursday night campers, who enjoyed food trucks dedicated to the camping site, free showers, a silent disco and a blacklight room. Besides some trouble with attempted theft of cell phones and other personal effects by a couple individuals, campers were generally happy with the experience. For the people that have not camped at festivals before and really enjoy a wooded environment, Imagine likely is not the best place to start.

Unlike an environmental experience at Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, Michigan, Imagine is more like giant sleepover. More amenities and pastimes are added for the campers each year, and the number of campers continues to grow.

Friday night marked the first day of sets, which was supposed to be headlined by Diplo, until he pulled out earlier in the week. Imagine tweeted: “Diplo is sorry to report that due to unforeseen circumstances he is no longer able to perform at Imagine Festival.” Friday already had some big names like Matoma, but Imagine did not disappoint bringing in a replacement for Diplo.

DJ Diesel closed out Friday night. It might sound like the organizers went out and found some no-name artist to replace Diplo, until one learns that Diesel is actually Shaquille O’Neal. For a basketball player, he was a surprisingly good DJ and brought the hype factor Imagine wanted.

Saturday rolled around with bigger and more familiar names like Alison Wonderland. Headliners included Zeds Dead, Above and Beyond, Lane 8, GJones and Louis the Child. This year had more art, shade structures and dynamic installations that concert goers could walk through or sit in. As usual, there was a wide variety of restaurants and shops, including Island Noodles, a staple food of many festivals.

The Disco Inferno stage returned for another year with the ball of fire and some new accents. For the most part, concertgoers had little to complain about. A couple critiques on Reddit and Facebook noted that the portable toilets needed sanitation.

Altogether, Imagine does a good job considering the needs of attendees and a great job arranging acts and production. There were few to no errors in the audio or visuals, and acts generally stayed on schedule. Those who only got a one day pass found themselves wishing they were back at the speedway for another day. Imagine is a great way for someone getting to know EDM to try a low-risk festival and is a must-do for any EDM lover.