The bar was raised again for the latest Imagine Music Festival, a two-day EDM festival that returned to Atlanta. The event again took place August 29-30, 2015 in Atlanta’s Masquerade Music Park. The Masquerade Music Park was combined with the recently constructed Old Fourth Ward Park next door making a unique, centrally-located experience in Atlanta for those in attendance.
Imagine Music Festival has been held since 2013 by IRIS Presents known as simply Iris in Atlanta. The original Imagine Music Festival was a smaller undertaking two years ago in Birmingham, AL. Just like footprint of Iris on the EDM scene here in Atlanta it has grown year over year. The lineup was more diverse this year and now included headliners Datsik, Dada Life and Tipper. The production value exceeded expectations by capitalizing on the parks’ landscape.
The venue for 2014 was a massive upgrade and made this show something special, and thankfully it remained the same for 2015. This is the best festival venue in or anywhere near Atlanta. 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 to the typical re-purposed amphitheater or transformed farm. It made the whole experience feel more organic and felt like the whole venue was created for this purpose not like the stage was setup yesterday. It was setup with 4 outdoor stages which all had their own 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 and past waterfalls. These were the 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 geodomes 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 and I felt nothing but good vibes from everyone all weekend. Despite a storm Sunday morning, the venue did not turn into a mud pit and it did a great job with managing the rainfall. Iris handled this the right way and minimized the impact to the experience.
The lineup was unique and it was my first time seeing Tipper with Android Jones. The headliners were honestly well selected. It was really enjoyable to see a headier, jamtronica crowd mix with the bass addicts, and everyone get along together, checking out and respecting each other’s music.
Even though Saturday’s lineup did not disappoint with Tipper closing it down, I saw the most energy in the crowd towards the end of Sunday night. It really started peaking with Crizzly. Crizzly had stage presence and got the trap friendly ATL crowd ready for Datsik. The live experience produced by Datsik is a perfect finale for those who like to go a bit harder. It was the perfect schedule because those more concerned with work on Monday were not likely to be the same people at Datsik.
Overall, I left with the impression in which I witnessed something special, and not the exact same show or festival the next city sees. This capped off the Imagine Music Fest and Iris has elevated this festival to something special I welcome as a staple in my hometown.