The bar was raised for the latest Imagine Music Festival, a two-day EDM festival that took place August 30-31, 2014 in Atlanta’s Masquerade Music Park. The Music Park was combined with the freshly constructed Old Fourth Ward Park next door making it a truly exciting experience for those in attendance.
Imagine has been held both in 2013 and 2014 by IRIS Presents. The original IMF was a smaller undertaking a year ago in Birmingham, AL but like the footprint of Iris on the EDM scene here in Atlanta it has grown. The lineup now included headliners like Destroid, Adventure Club and Fedde Le Grand and the production value exceeded expectations by capitalizing on landscape.
The venue for 2014 was a massive upgrade and made this show something special. It is refreshing being seated in the city surrounded by buildings yet standing on nicely manicured green space with lasers overhead. There is no comparison of the re-purposed amphitheater to the transformed farm–it made the whole experience feel more organic and like the whole venue was created for this purpose. The layout included 3 outdoor stages which all had their individual charm. Instead of having the smaller side stage thrown in a parking lot or in a small tent, it was located at an outdoor amphitheater with a waterfall in the background. The multi-million dollar park was completed in 2011 and offered bridges over well landscaped ponds. These were the breath-taking views you had walking the paths that connected the stages. The park is also surrounded by new buildings which trapped the laser lighting at night and created a unique visual experience. This park served as the main venue during the day, but it was combined with the Masquerade Music Park which also has three additional stages inside and hosted after party events indoors late night. There are few festival venues in the country with this much variety and character and it definitely stands out as an Atlanta favorite.
The facility was well staffed and the vending and bathroom lines were never excessive. One nice touch were the misting domes that served as a cool off area right beside the water stations which are just smart given the Atlanta heat. The staff I encountered were also friendly. I never saw anything but good vibes all weekend. Despite a storm rolling in with lightening, they only shut down briefly and the sets were minimally impacted. Iris handled this the right way and minimized the impact to the experience by letting people into the Masquerade for shelter until it cleared.
The lineup was unique and it was the first time in Atlanta for Destroid. The headliners were well selected. Even though Saturday’s line-up did not disappoint with Fedde Le Grand closing it down I saw a lot of faces melting towards the end of Sunday night. The atmosphere really started peaking with Adventure Club. I have to say they did something magical by going hard enough to please the bassheads while keeping the trance addicts from leaving–and getting everyone ready for Destroid.
Many of the acts at IMF were good, Destroid was another level. They have stage presence. They don’t just sit behind the decks and play awesome visuals. There is something about a rock show that EDM isn’t able to pull off, a live experience. This void is filled with a Destroid show. They have live drumming, vocals with the vigor of Rage Against The Machine and the heaviest drops in the game. The live experience they produce is superior to listening to a record due to the crowd and the 100,000 Watt sound system. It also has that substance that rock shows have where you leave knowing they had enough talent to perform and improvise live. I left feeling I witnessed something special, not the exact same show the next city sees. Iris has elevated this festival to something special I welcome as a staple in my hometown.