Everything We Saw at Imagine Music Festival 2022 & Why We Can’t Wait to Return
After a two-year hiatus, Imagine Music Festival roared back in a magical new home and brought out one of its best lineups to date.
Engaged in “A New World” theme, the promoters and fans were met with atypical challenges of any festival that explores a new site, but also forged the inaugural memories and excitement that should fuel this festival in the future.
Here are a few of the best things (and areas for improvement) we saw at Imagine Music Festival 2022:
Exploring a New Home
Imagine debuted in 2014 in Atlanta, before moving down Interstate 75 to Atlanta Motor Speedway for several successful years as one of the largest independent festival promotions in the country. The festival was forced to cancel in 2020 due to the pandemic and was called off a day before 2021’s event due to severe weather.
Despite the hurdles, the festival was determined to once again prove it is one of the best festival experiences in the South — hoping to amplify its annual themes and star curation by finding a sprawling new venue. Kingston Downs is a family-owned and operated 5,000+ acre property situated on the Etowah River, located 45 minutes from Atlanta.
While previously hosted on the surrounding property of a NASCAR speedway, Kingston Downs was in contrast a massive, natural host site. A sea of tents and RV’s were spread out amongst a low-lying valley between the grassy field of a vacated horse track. Situated above it on the hill was the festival itself, which created a magical view of the site and a reminder of what a spectacle of gathering Imagine was.
Growing into a new venue always provides a myriad of issues, especially when it’s accented by the arrival of tens of thousands of attendees. On Thursday, regional rainfall caused some of the nearby wells to become unsanitary. This led to water being shut off in certain areas around the festival, however, the problem was largely addressed by Friday morning.
Another thing that felt familiar to Imagine alumni was line queues. The festival offered one main entrance (a mistake they made in the past the Speedway) and one central shower area, so lines often built up during high volume periods of the day. Often unavoidable at mass-attended gatherings, but of note for hopes of more ample entrances in the future.
When it comes to memorable moments, Imagine was aplenty with takeaways that will sit with music lovers for years to come.
Some of the best? Subtronics headlining before Excision. Liquid Stranger hosting a WAKAAN Family set as well as his own headlining set at the Oceania main stage. ZHU closing out the festival with a live band. Ganja White Night leveling a sea of fans and bringing out LSDREAM.
All of these moments and more stuck out for sure.
Perhaps the best moment of the weekend was the epic renegade back-to-back fans witnessed on Friday night — when PEEKABOO raided the Ascend 360 renegade stage with friends like Champagne Drip, LUZCID, and more. The stage was packed with over a thousand people in minutes, with almost every attending artist making their way on stage to celebrate being together, including a very jovial John Summit.
Making a Statement
While many of the Southeast electronic events like Okeechobee, Ultra, and EDC are now parts of major promotion conglomerates, Imagine Music Festival remains one of the largest independently run events and one of the best of its kind.
Focused on its offering for electronic music lovers, they routinely recruit the best of the best and make attendees feel like they are experiencing something unique and special. Their new home enhances the experience in a way they haven’t nailed before — offering an expansive, far-away natural getaway to enjoy music, culture and community.
Catch MP3 MAG at IMF 2023 — find more info on tickets here.