MP3 TAKES: Imagine Music Festival 2023 — It Doesn’t Get Better Than This
This year’s Imagine Music Festival was a top notch demonstration of dance music culture across the board. From the performances and the wonderful crowd to John Summit afterparties and the beautiful Amazonia Stage, Imagine ran a tight ship that never faltered off its course toward festival bliss. Here are four reasons Imagine Music Festival 2023 was one of the best festivals this year.
DIESEL b2b NGHTMRE
Usually, when DJs shout on the mic throughout their entire set, it’s more annoying than anything else. But hearing the 7’1” Shaquille O’Neal (AKA DIESEL) scream “Where’s my mosh pit” every few minutes was honestly a highlight of the weekend. And, thankfully, his music is as big as he is — aggressive, loud and ridiculous in all the best ways.
Of course, having NGHTMRE on stage added a great element of surprise, throwing in tons of bangers both new and old across the wide range of sounds that make up the dubstep genre. They matched each other’s energy perfectly, but not because they both delivered the same kind of performance. Instead, it was more of a balancing act; a friendly competition between peers, seeing who could get the biggest crowd reaction during a given drop. Oh yeah, and there was fire. LOTS of fire.
Sofi Tukker Delivers Deep Techno Hybrid Set
If you caught Sofi Tukker’s Wet Tennis tour, which was an immaculate display of live, dynamic house music infused with Latin rhythms and animated on-stage antics, you only experienced one-half of what Sofi Tukker has to offer. The other half of the Sofi Tukker experience is a much heavier exploration of deep house and techno music designed for Ibiza clubs and, apparently, the Imagine Music Festival.
Frankly, it was shocking to see Sofi Tukker spin deep house and techno music for an hour straight. They were billed as a “hybrid set,” but there was very little “hybrid” about their performance aside from some live vocals and their stripped-back Bobs Dance Crew performers. Mostly, it was a DJ set through-and-through. And the crowd loved every second.
We need a petition for Sofi Tukker to play more techno. Just tell us where to sign.
The Friendliest Festival Crowd Around
The music was great all weekend long, but the Imagine Music Festival crowd was what set the festival apart from the competition.
All weekend long, there was nothing but smiles and great energy. No one was so intoxicated that they were infringing on their neighbors’ experience. No one was taking up too much space on the dance floor. It was pure vibes from day one to day four. Everyone danced, and everyone had a great time (as far as we could tell). Also, congrats on the couple who tied the knot! May your future be filled with love and wubs.
It helped that Imagine nailed the campground logistics too — the line to enter the festival was never too long, the stages always had plenty of room to find a good spot for your whole crew, and there were plenty of food vendors and water stations to accommodate the 30,000ish crowd.
The only complaint people had was that there was some pretty obvious sound bleed from the main stage that rang out on the Disco Inferno stage, which occasionally took the crowd out of the moment during otherwise amazing sets by John Summit and Elderbrook.
The Amazonia Stage Stole the Show
Sure, the main stage had most of the big acts you’d expect: REZZ, Subtronics b2b Ganja White Night, Slander, Chris Lake, etc.. But the Amazonia stage proved the highlight of the weekend for bass heads, hands down.
Take Saturday’s lineup, for example: Meduso, A Hundred Drums, Tripp St., Detox Unit, Jade Cicada, taking the stage one after another. And every single performance was a highlight. But, if we had to choose, Meduso and Detox Unit definitely stood out for their insane energy and hypnotizing bass-heavy grooves.
Plus, the Amazonia stage was absolutely beautiful. Nestled at the bottom of a grassy hill and large stone steps, lush green forest peeked through the background and to the left of the stage, creating a completely immersive experience.
On top of that, the stage itself provided a truly unique visual display that centered around a diamond-shaped panel of LED screens floating above the performers. Artists like Mersiv and SVDDEN DEATH took special advantage of that.
Imagine Music Festival 2023: It Doesn’t Get Better
All-in-all, the Imagine Music Festival was a clear standout during this turbulent year of poorly executed festivals and dismayed festival experiences. The list of disappointing festivals in 2023 is a long one, from Electric Zoo and Blue Ridge Music Festival to Okeechobee and Made in America (which was actually canceled weeks before showtime). But, we’re happy to report that the Imagine Music Festival was a great reminder of how amazing these experiences can be, if executed properly. We’ll definitely be back next year.