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Remembering the Imagine Festival 2017 Experience [Review, Interviews, Photos]

imagine festival 2017

See below for all our coverage of Imagine Music Festival 2017 including the review:

[Photos] Imagine Music Festival 2017

[Interview] Claude VonStroke vs. Barclay Crenshaw

[Interview] Leah Culver

[Interview] Will Clarke

[Interview] Exit 9

[Imagine Festival Preview] 12th Planet, ill Gates, Nora En Pure and more


The Imagine Music Festival 2017 experience is going in the books as a top-level weekend of music. I’m having a hard time listening to electronic music now without anticipating the heat of blazing fire during the drops. I need a Disco Inferno button on my car stereo.

It has been a couple of years since we first attended IMF, which was previously located at the old Masquerade venue in Atlanta, and I can say the expansion widely exceeded my expectations. Held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, IMF has plenty of space to separate stages far apart to eliminate sound bleed but close enough for comfortable walking distance.

me liz imagine

This year we helped out at the Bullet Music and Spin & Chill Radio Lounge located on the Main Street vendor row. The lounge was set up equidistance from the Oceania and Amazonia stages and directly behind the Disco Inferno stage. Being in the middle of everything all weekend had its advantages. I hardly missed any music. We met some super nice people and gained much appreciated supporters for the blog (if you haven’t done so yet, sign up for our e-newsletter here.) I have to give props to the crew of Bullet Music and Spin & Chill Radio – they did an amazing job of lining up interviews for the show. Some of the guest appearances at the booth included Nora En Pure, ill Gates, Minnesota, Codeko, Will Clarke, Leah Culver, and several others. We’ll be posting the interviews as they go up.

Related: [Interview] Will Clarke

ill Gates is an extremely personable and likeable guy and his live show has evolved tremendously since I first saw him play at IMF 2014. During his interview he brought up his mentor program where he teaches the music business ropes to the next generation of producers. Hearing this made me really want to support his set. Luckily, we packed up the booth about the time he got on stage and I ran over to catch a few minutes.

After ill Gates, The Funk Hunters took stage. When I was doing pre-research on the lineup, The Funk Hunters stood out not only because of their name, but also their sound. The Vancouver duo reminds me of The Floozies but with an old school twist on U.S. hip hop. I had a hunch they would be good and I was right.

Going back to Friday’s sunset players, SQUNTO brought the heavy bass to Disco Inferno while Leah Culver took over every inch of the Oceania stage with her live band and Atlanta kid’s choir. Leah is another act that has immensely evolved since the beginning of IMF. I was blown away by the detials of her visuals and stage tech. During our interview the following day, she and I conversed about her move to L.A., her new visual branding and her thoughts on the IMF family in our upcoming interview.

I closed out Friday night at Tiesto chilling by the splash pool with friends sipping champagne at the Denial Events hospitality lounge. IMF knows how to set up V.I.P. properly and if you’re on the fence about whether the cost is worth it, I’d say yes for Imagine Festival.

We slept a few hours, hit the Waffle House and were back at it when gates opened Saturday. The triple hash browns and veggies I ordered proved to be a bit excessive. After eating only half of the heavy southern dish, I needed to hit a dance floor to work it off a.s.a.p. so I headed over to Ployd who was playing at Amazonia stage.

The evening crowd energy made for some great photos (of the people who were able to get into the gates early enough). I stuck around and ran into Ployd where we chatted for a few about his upcoming shows. We’re looking forward to seeing him play at Zen Awakening Festival this November.

Speaking of Zen Awakening, we had Exit 9 stop by the Bullet & Spin lounge and drop a brief impromptu set. It was a different selection than he would normally play so we got to hear another dimension of his skillset. We interviewed Exit 9 and found out his father owns Cirque USA – the company responsible for IMF’s aerialists, dancers and costumed performers. They did an amazing job creating a one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

Related: [Interview] Exit 9 Talks Experimental Bass, Zen Awakening Festival and more

Ott. followed Ployd at the Amazonia stage, taking us into a sunset playlist of dark psy-dub. It was a more intense set than I was expecting for the timeslot – perfect to get us ready for the night ahead. The silk aerialists added an extra dimension to the show, courtesy of Cirque USA. It was a nice touch. Ott. will return to Atlanta for New Year’s Eve with Bassnectar, Phutureprimitive and What So Not at the Georgia World Congress Center.

ott imagine festival 2017

After wrapping up with Exit 9 at the chill lounge, I was anxious to get to Nora en Pure at Disco Inferno. Seeing her name on the IMF2017 lineup was the deciding factor in me attending. “Come with Me” was etched into my heart from the first time I heard it and the 2017 EP Conquer Yosemite rekindled my addiction to her deep house production. The entire live performance was flawless as the South African/Swiss musician gently mixed one hit after another into a seamless performance. I didn’t stop dancing once and I definitely cried twice.

After the show, we met her back at the Bullet and Chill tent where she gave a brief interview before being whisked away by her management. Nora is overseas the entire month of October before returning to the states in November. I researched her tour schedule and there isn’t another stop in our region on the books so I am grateful to IMF for bringing her down.

nora en pure imagine festival 2017
Nora en Pure and Cody of Spin and Chill Radio

Disco Inferno held my attention for the next couple of hours with Claptone and Gorgon City dosing me with plenty of house music. I caught a bit of The Floozies at the Amazonia stage before giving my feet a rest. My agenda called for catching the beginning of Pretty Lights and running over to the night’s finale with Deadmau5. I didn’t make it to Pretty Lights this time, but Deadmau5 was brilliant. If it’s dark and weird I’m all in and that’s exactly what Deadmau5 delivered. His hypnotic techno set was so left field from the commercialized product I erroneously expected him to play. Shame on me for being so judgmental. He also won me over with his snarky banter. I had no idea he was such a hilarious smartass. The set got mixed reviews from what I’ve read and heard so far – personally, I don’t think that show would appeal to the masses. It was more for a different kind of ear.

Saturday’s silent disco looked packed from the photos our photographer, Charlie Trester, posted. I didn’t get to go because my friends fell in a rabbit hole at Pretty Lights and I had to take them all home. Probably best anyway, I wanted to be fresh for the Dirty Bird Players stage on Sunday.

The DB’s know how to get down. I missed the 5pm opener with Wiggle Factor and started off catching Ciszak around dinner time. From there, Disco Inferno was non-stop up-tempo house for the most part as the stage hosted Dateless, Will Clarke, Shiba San and ended the night with the festival headliner, Claude VonStroke.

(Rumor is the Dirtybird Campout is coming to Florida in February. We’re expecting confirmation on this very soon!)

In between the DB performances, we also checked out STS9 and Big Gigantic at Amazonia. Over the last couple of years I’ve slightly lost interest in Big G. I had no intention of making it to their show but I could hear AND feel the energy calling me from across the speedway. My spider senses was right. Big G has momentarily been redeemed in my eyes. See for yourself:

After VonStroke was over, I was determined to get to a silent disco! Nothing was stopping me this time. Disco mission complete. We met Atlanta house DJ, Corey Von Waters, after he played an extended set for over an hour and a half. Corey is a jovial guy and his fun energy translates into the music he plays. We’re looking forward to meeting him again.

corey vonwaters

I had such a great time dancing, networking and chatting with friends I hadn’t even noticed the sun’s awakening. I reluctantly said goodbye to IMF2017 with a full heart of music and anticipation for next year’s event. Hopefully I can clone myself by 2018 so I can work in some of the transformational workshops and other stage activities.

Thanks to IRIS for having us out.

imagine festival customer appreciation

IMF customer appreciation tickets for #IMF2018, 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY are on sale now, starting at ONLY $99. (almost sold out)

Buy tickets HERE: http://imaginefestival.eventbrite.com/

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