This year, I was lucky enough to finally attend Imagine Music Festival this past weekend. I’ve been eyeing the lineup each year since I’ve been in Auburn, and finally making the trip was well-worth the wait. If you are a festival fanatic like I am, you’ll appreciate what you are about to read. I’m going to cover five of the major things I consider when looking for my next event and after the fact when I’m reminiscing on the weekend: logistics, food, vendors, production, and camping (if applicable.)
Logistics: I was a little nervous when we were on the way to the festival because we headed over to Hampton around noon, so I automatically assumed that we would be waiting in the will call and security lines for a while. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. Waiting in the will call line to get our tickets and media passes took maybe ten minutes. The security checks for the campsite were timely and throughout. Getting to our assigned camping spot from this line was quick as well. The lines to get into the actual venue were practically non-existent as well. Security for the venue was inconsistent through the weekend, but this did not personally affect me. However, I heard of several people getting turned away for bringing in vapes and disposable cameras in the latter part of the weekend when they were previously allowed. I never waited for a restroom or porta-potty at Imagine which was lovely. I will say that the porta-potties could have been serviced more often, but that goes with just about every porta-potty ever. I would like to see more water stations in the future. This was definitely the hottest event I’ve attended this year. There were volunteers mixed in the crowds that gave out free water, which was something unique to Imagine that I have not seen in the past. Overall, I would say that Imagine did a good job logistics-wise, but with everything in life, there is always room for improvement.
Food/Drink: I actually did not eat as much food from vendors as I usually do at events since it was so hot and I had the chance to eat a lot at our campsite before going in. From what I could tell, there were plenty of vendors. There was one main street of food stops, but they were also sprinkled around some of the larger stages. My personal favorite food at the fest was easily the $12 bucket of bacon cheese fries we got on Friday during The Glitch Mob and Galantis. If you’ve never raged with a bucket of fries in hand, I highly recommend it. Drinks were expensive, as they are at any event. Imagine did have a number of daiquiri and margarita stands that were enticing, regardless of the price tag. Overall, I enjoyed the food I had from the venue, but it was not a major highlight of my time.
Production: WOW. Imagine certainly outdid themselves in certain aspects of production. The Oceania, Amazonia, and Disco Inferno Stages all had unique tenants that made the stages each have their own vibe. The Oceania Stage reminded me of the Lost City of Atlantis. The middle part of the stage was a little difficult to determine what exactly it was, but I ultimately decided that it reminded me of the dragon egg from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This stage was the main stage, so it had a ton of lasers that covered the sky of the entire festival. This stage also had fire and multiple LED screens for visuals. The Disco Inferno Stage had minimal LED screens, but the rotating disco ball that occasionally shot fire obviously made up for that. This stage was a little small for my taste, and the fire that shot truly made the small space feel like an inferno. But I can put up with a little heat if it means a Boogie T B2B SQUNTO B2B Joker set or the absolute dance party that Walker and Royce brought to the table. The Amazonia stage was my personal favorite. This stage also had lot of lasers, but no fire. But honestly, I don’t think I would have loved it as much if it did! There was lots of greenery surrounding the stage and signage, and it definitely curated to the vibe that I loved about it. This stage was not open on Friday, so I only got to truly enjoy it for two days. However, seeing Shpongle’s DJ set, GRiZ, and ZHU here made up for lost time. While Imagine killed it in so many aspects of production, there were some things that I was left wanting. For example, the Aeria Stage was very small. It actually was only two tents facing each other with very small screens for visuals. There were some pretty major artists slotted for this stage so I was super shocked to see it when we walked in! I would have missed it honestly if someone did not point it out. I also would have liked to see more art installations. The ones I did see were nice, but they looked out of place because there weren’t very many.
Vendors: I was fortunate enough to be near lots of the vendors in the campsite over the weekend. Although I did not purchase anything, I enjoyed killing some time walking around to see what all was available. There were a lot of jewelry stands as well as apparel stands. I would have liked to see a general store (they had one but it was not central like the rest of the stands) where I could have picked up some last minute things, like sunscreen or flashlights. One unique thing about Imagine was that they had a truck driving up and down the camping aisles to sell ice. This came in handy Saturday and Sunday. The collaborations that Imagine did with some of the vendors were really cool, but not really my style. I also enjoyed that there was a small stage on this lane of vendors. The music never really stops and I love it! Camping: I was honestly super nervous for camping. I am always super prepared, but with being prepared comes setting up a lot of stuff and needing a good amount of room for said stuff. Our campsite was a good size and harbored my tent as well as two canopies. Like I said, Imagine is a hot one, so canopies are a must to get out of the heat during the day. We decorated our site with lights, tapestries, and other fun things. I was initially nervous because we seemed so far from the venue itself when we arrived, but it really was not a bad walk and it was super easy to navigate. The porta-potties were pretty disgusting by Sunday, so in the future, I would like to see more attention paid to those. Imagine had a silent disco (which I never made it to since music ended at 3 am and a girl has to sleep eventually,) but I heard it was a lot of fun and that it hosted a lot of local artists who are up-and-coming in Atlanta and Birmingham. There were a few other curated stages in camping as well, such as the Heady Made Weird Stage. I had the chance to catch some of Levitation Jones on Sunday on this stage and it was so great. I will say that since you don’t get to pick your site at Imagine, I would hate to be one of the sites near this stage if I were trying to sleep. But such is life! Enjoy the musc while you can. One fantastic thing about camping at Imagine was the free showers. There were so many! I was truly shocked. While there was no hot water, it really was not necessary because of the heat that we’d been in all day. More stations in the campsite would be nice as well. Even though I had more water than we ended up needing for the weekend, I still would hate to be the guy who needed some and didn’t want to pay for a bottle.
Overall, I really enjoyed Imagine! It was a nice break from game day weekends and I finally got to see what all the hype was about. While there are always things to improve on, I would say that Imagine seemed responsive to complaints from the past years so the festival can only get better from here. This event was thrilling, the lineup was absolutely incredible, and I had a great time kicking it with new friends and old. Overall, Imagine was a great time and definitely worth checking out!