About This Festival
The award-wining promotion and EDM event company Iris Presents has long been known for its club presence and for fostering the growth of Atlanta’s electric music scene. So it was no surprise in 2014, when they tried their hand at a two-day festival, it was an all-around success.
From the top EDM acts to the playful atmosphere complete with Iris Girls in exotic costumes and an Imaginarium devoted to up-and-coming acts, IMF has asserted itself as an event that’s here to stay, even amid the sea of existing EDM festivals. The circus-style atmosphere and anything-goes arts scene make it a winner for those seeking a break from reality.
A diverse and lively lineup
During its first year, the festival hosted a range of well-known and little-known EDM crowd pleasers including Adventure Club, Fedde Le Grand, Destroid, Infected Mushroom, Beats Antique, Rusko, RJD2, and Shwayze.
There are multiple performing platforms, from the Amazonia Stage to Underwater World—the installations and backdrops are consistent with the high-quality production value that runs throughout the festival. The two main stages are close enough together that if you try, you can catch portions of two simultaneous sets. In contrast, the laid-back, amphitheater-style Imaginarium is tucked away in a quiet corner of the grounds. If you need a break, it offers a nice respite from the thumping bass lines, plus an opportunity to hear less-known acts on a more intimate scale.
When the official lineup is done for the day, IMF is actually just getting going. There’s a big afterparty culture here, meaning that attendance is staggered throughout the day and night, preventing bottlenecks at the entrance and exit. In 2014, when Wick-It the Instigator’s set ended after just 30 minutes due to lighting, he reappeared at an afterparty.
The Masquerade Music Hall, adjacent to the festival grounds, generally serves as the venue for these unofficial sets, so find out if your favorite act is scheduling an “unscheduled” performance.
All about organization
It’s clear throughout the festival that the focus of IMF is having a good time—wild costumes, playful and wild attitudes, and youthful uninhibitedness abound.
However, this laissez-faire attitude doesn’t mean that the festival isn’t run incredibly efficiently. The staff is very engaged, with vendors and organizers on hand and available to ensure that attendees have what they need. Festival veterans point out that when you attend IMF, it’s clear that it’s being put on by professionals who know what they’re doing when it comes to crowd management, making sure the grounds are in good repair, and providing sound systems that maximize enjoyment. Organizers received praise in the festival’s first year when they swiftly and efficiently responded to an unexpected downpour of rain, making sure it didn’t put a damper on the event. With so many festivals being ruined by inexperienced organizers—particularly at “rain or shine” events—it’s refreshing to know that Imagine has practicalities and contingency plans squarely in place.
When it’s not raining, organizers provide free water and mist cannons, providing much-needed cooling in the Georgia heat. However, shade covering isn’t as extensive as it could be, so come prepared with sunscreen or hats.
Keeping it clean
With a stated no-tolerance policy for banned substances and illegal activities, IMF has a less drug-infested atmosphere than a lot of EDM festivals. Though it undoubtedly still feels like a place to have a good time, you won’t have to worry about intoxicated idiots doing unsafe things or getting in your way.
Therein lies a big part of IMF’s beauty: It’s well-planned, well-executed, and thoughtful, an environment in which all you need to worry about is having a good time.
From the Organizer
Imagine Music Festival is held annually at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Doubling in attendance each year, the rapid growth made it necessary for Imagine to move from its former home in the Historic Fourth Ward Park, to the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Located on 887 acres and just 15 miles south of the airport, the landmark Atlanta site includes: capacity for over 100,000 per day; grass fields for the festival’s new camping options; onsite parking; over 100 RV spaces with full hook ups; premium RV spaces overlooking the festival grounds and more. In short, Atlanta Motor Speedway will provide Imagine Music Festival with the infrastructure and amenities yet to be seen by a music and camping festival of its size anywhere in the Southeast.