Having been a staple in the Atlanta dance music scene since 1996, it was only a matter of time before the team at Iris Presents decided to try their hand at hosting an electronic dance music festival.
Their longstanding reputation for catalyzing the EDM movement earned the team at Iris Presents numerous awards in 2013 from Creative Loafing’s “Best of Atlanta” in the categories of Best Local Promoter, Best Weekly Club Night, Best Nightlife Event, Best Dance Music Club, Best After-Hours/Late-Night Spot in addition to INsite Magazine’s Best of EDM. These accolades are even more impressive in a city that hosts the internationally renowned TomorrowWorld festival, CounterPoint, and a burgeoning underground dance music scene.
After spending a weekend in Atlanta for the first year of the event, it is no question that Imagine Music Festival is here to stay.
Even when rain threatened to drastically shift the tone of the festival on the first day, the team of event organizers sprung in to action and did not let a little bit of bad weather deter from pushing forward with the event. It wasn’t just the organizers either.
The intimate atmosphere of the festival, with an estimated 15,000 attendees, unanimously turned up the energy as torrential downpours proceeded to blanket the Masquerade Music Park on Saturday. As Araabmuzik wrapped up his set on the Underwater World stage and Wick-it the Instigator began to turn up on the Amazonia stage, the tight knit community of those in attendance began to crank up the vibe, begging for Mother Nature to bring the rain and rejoicing in bellowing cheers as thunder boomed overhead.
When lightning forced the event to take a brief hiatus, the team with Iris Promotions sprung in to action, catering to the grounds so well that when the event resumed just an hour later you could hardly tell that rain event fell.
There have been many events where mud and poor maintenance have led to the music becoming overshadowed with poor conditions. This wasn’t the case with Imagine.
Once the festivities resumed, the rest of the weekend went off with a hitch.
I had heard stories leading up to Imagine of how tight knit the Iris Promotions and Atlanta EDM families were and it did not take long to realize why their reputation preceded them.
By the end of the weekend it felt as if we were more integrated in a part of something bigger; a family that was dedicated to helping the electronic dance music movement flourish.
No matter what direction your gaze was pulled to, there were visions of rave families dancing, smiling vendors, event staff more than willing to offer a helping hand, engaging art installations, and the beautiful and friendly Iris Girls adorned in magnificent costumes who were not satisfied unless everyone at the venue was having the best time of their lives.
Perhaps the best part of the entire production was the close proximity of the stages. While Imaginarium stage was tucked away in the far corner of the venue, offering a relaxing amphitheater style setting to take in extremely talented up-and-coming producers, the Underwater World and Amazonia stages were no more than a couple hundred yards away from each other. While we initially thought that this would present a problem with conflicting sounds, we should have known better than to second guess the event producers with Iris.
Whereas conflicting sets usually cause you to sprint to far corners of the festival grounds, the proximity of the two main stages allowed you to leisurely stroll from one set to the next in no more than a couple of minutes. Couldn’t decide between Adventure Club and Infected Mushroom? Debating between The Emancipator Ensemble and Fedde LeGrand? No time was wasted in making sure that you were able to catch a little bit of both ends of the musical spectrum whenever you chose to do so.
Perhaps the best part was that the lineup featured artists that were extremely dedicated to making the music about the fans.
When Wick-it the Instigator‘s set was cut short due to weather, it did not take long for him to get in touch with promoters and line up an after party performance at the adjacent Masquerade music hall. Such was the case with many of the artists on the ticket.
With such an amazing vibe built of from the days performances, many of the attendees opted to attend the after events and continue to take in amazing music. This meant that traffic in to and out of the venue was staggered and virtually non-existent. There was not a single instance where you were forced to stop, bumper to bumper, and wait to return home.
It is rare to find a first year event that is so flawlessly executed.