Imagine Music Festival opened its gates last weekend after a two-year hiatus. This electronic dance music (EDM) festival was held in Rome, Ga. from Sept. 15-18 and opened camping as early as Sept. 14. Georgia’s biggest EDM festival featured a stacked lineup with a diverse cast of dubstep, house, trance and melodic artists.
Attendees came from all over the country and even the world to experience the festival. Many opted to camp in tents, with cars, or RVs within steps of the festival gates. Imagine hosted four stages. Oceania and Amazonia were the two mainstages, Disco Inferno played house artists and many local Atlanta DJs played at Aeria.
There was entertainment at every turn with a silent disco raging until 6 a.m. daily, a stage to greet you at the gates at Shakedown Street, a daily pool party featuring A-list DJs like Adventure Club and tech-house legend Kaskade. A stage at the campgrounds let campers get up close and personal with DJs playing a second time after the main stages closed for the night. There were other activities like river tubing, arm marbling and bracelet making.
The weekend got a head start on Thursday with Seven Lions DJing the pre-party. Friday was stacked with heavy dubstep artists such as Blunts & Blondes, LEVEL UP, Liquid Stranger, Subtronics and Excision who all threw down at their sets.
Saturday offered groovy sets such as LSDREAM, Esseks and Kaskade to close out the night. Sunday featured a house-head’s dream setlist of Dombresky, Sidepiece and Dom Dolla while Illenium gave guests all the sappy, melodic vibes necessary to end the festival on a good note.
Imagine’s inaugural stay at its Kingston Down’s venue was not without bumps in the road. On Thursday, it was discovered that the water supply was contaminated and free water stations were shut off to attendees until Saturday. With sunny skies and temperatures soaring into the 90s, this forced everyone to purchase bottled water inside the festival that cost four dollars a bottle. When the stations opened, they were few and far between. By Sunday night, the stations began to run out of water. At festivals, reliable water for all should be imperative and this was not the case at Imagine.
Imagine also let down many attendees who were unable to use preloaded money on their wristbands. When purchasing a wristband for festival entry online, there was an option to preload money for use inside the festival for anything from merchandise to food and beverages. However, this money was never loaded onto the wristbands even though the payment was spent and confirmed. The only remedy Imagine suggested for this was to contact your credit card company and dispute the payment.
Despite the challenges and the heat, the crowd was full of peace, love, unity and respect (PLUR) the entire weekend. Attendees could be seen trading bracelets, making friends, dancing with strangers and spreading good vibes to the very end of the fest. Each set had high energy and people were excited to be alive and enjoy the music.
Imagine Festival began in 2014 as a two-day event in downtown Atlanta and is now a complete camping festival drawing attendees from all over the world. I can’t wait to see where this festival goes next.