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Imagine Music Festival 2018

Imagine Music Fest turns 5 - The Aquatic Fairytale returns with Bassnectar, Kaskade, Zeds Dead, and more

Bassnectar
Photo credit: Courtesy Bassnectar
BASS DROP: Bay Area DJ Lorin Ashton, aka Bassnectar, plays Imagine Fest Sept. 21-23.


Imagine Music Festival returns September 21-23, celebrating its five-year anniversary with headliners Bassnectar (pictured above), Kaskade, Armin Van Buuren, Alesso, Galantis, RL Grime, Zeds Dead, and dozens of other electronic music acts spread across four stages.

What started in 2014 as a modest music festival in Historic Fourth Ward Park is now one of the nation’s most anticipated EDM gatherings. These days, Imagine calls the Atlanta Motor Speedway near rural Hampton, Georgia its home. Over the years, the festival has more than doubled in attendance and scope, while remaining independent, which founders Glenn and Madeleine Goodhand say “allows for the creative freedom to build that vision of the Aquatic Fairytale each year.”

Of course, the infamous splash pool returns along with circus acts, transformational workshops, yoga, and art installations scattered throughout the festival grounds. But this is an anniversary — a milestone in the Imagine timeline — and Glenn and Madeleine want to go “bigger and better, and this will be no more apparent than with the stage designs,” Glenn says, “which will be unlike anything Atlanta has ever seen.”

This year, the festival hosts its most expansive lineup to date. Along with the artists, Imagine has partnered with the festival fundraising platform Give Surreal to create fan-based artist experiences at Imagine and other festivals: Fans can win a chance to meet Excision, Nghtmare, and Slander at Lost Lands Music Festival in Thornville, OH. Or they can meet Steve Aoki at Goldrush Music Festival in Phoenix. In Atlanta, fans can enter for a chance to hang out with Armin Van Buren, Kaskade, Alesso and more. For as little as five bucks, attendees can enter to win one of these experiences with some of the proceeds benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Unlike similarly minded festivals such as Music Midtown or Shaky Beats, Imagine is an immersive experience. The music and the underwater dreamscape known as the Imaginarium draw fans from across the globe 20 miles south of Atlanta. The majority of attendees opt to camp on-site and partake in the field games, silent disco, and after-parties that take place on the lot just outside the rattling, neon bleachers of the racetrack.

When asked what Imagine has to offer Atlanta, Glenn and Madeleine say: “We draw people in from around the world and are able to showcase Atlanta and help further fortify it as one of the truly great music cities.”

The founders then praised Atlanta for what it has given Imagine. “Building this festival over the past five years, in the place we call home has been nothing short of amazing,” they say. “Atlanta affords us the opportunity to grow organically, all while being recognized as a national entity.”

Imagine Music Festival. $139-$519. Sept. 21-23. Atlanta Motor Speedway, 1500 Tara Pl, Hampton, GA. www.imaginefestival.com.



More By This Writer

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Once inside, I strode to the golden elevator set for the heavens but was stopped short by a couple of blazers moonlighting as security. They mumbled something about “full capacity” and pointed me to the host stand. The hostess typed my information into a tablet and explained the electronic waitlist. She said I was 87th in line, and as I stepped away I received a text confirming that placement.
 
I did a walkabout the lobby and observed the furnishings. It was a virtual Pinterest board and fascinating sideshow of working-class appropriation. For decades, before closing its doors December 31, 2009 , the Clermont Hotel was on its last leg; a haven for the lower middle class, the down-and-out, and drifters amid the deteriorating landscape of the city’s main thoroughfare, Ponce de Leon Avenue. It was Atlanta’s counterpart to New York City’s Chelsea Hotel of the late ’70s, steeped in stories punctuated by prostitutes, desperate nightlife, and infamous former residents, such as punk rock provocateur GG Allin who called the Clermont home for a while.

But that was a long time ago, on a previous incarnation of Ponce.

Now, rebranded as Hotel Clermont, the interior looks like someone stole all my uncle’s belongings and turned them into furniture.
 
At this point it was barely tonight, almost tomorrow, and high time for a drink, so I piggybacked a line of post-grad Chad’s strutting into the lobby bar. They made it in, but I was stopped by another blazer with a velvet rope. He quarreled a bit with the chip on my shoulder before directing me back to the host stand to be placed on another electronic waitlist.

While I waited in two fake lines I bought two real drinks at the Clermont Lounge. The gloriously hellish basement hasn’t changed a bit, and me and my fellow waitlisters are allowed right in. Open since 1965, the Lounge has been in Atlanta longer than the Braves, and I’ve never left feeling disappointed. Originally christened as the Jungle Club, the Clermont Lounge is a Southern fever dream of deep mahogany and red tones, where oft-overlooked queens dance before a bar held together with duct tape, lined with paper shot cups and PBR tallboys. Most guests enter for a laugh, but leave with a sincere sense of place and a deep admiration for a lineup of experienced performers, led by Blondie Strange, a goddess-poet with a famously aluminum-can crushing rack.

There’s an arrangement afoot here. The hotel leans on the reputation of the Lounge to further their appeal to the weekend warriors of tourists and white suburbia, while the Lounge benefits from the deep pockets of the polos and top siders clamoring for an authentic experience. Of course, all are truly welcome at the Clermont Lounge, and that’s what separates them from the top.

After an hour or so, in the middle of my third drink and the second verse of Drivin’ N' Cryin’s “Straight to Hell,” I received a text congratulating me on my acceptance into the lobby bar. So I tucked my neckbeard into my Doc Martens, blew a kiss to the stage, and marched back upstairs with my electronic ticket to the funhouse. 
 
I lapped the lobby bar and bumped into a former employer and his wife enjoying a “staycation” at the hotel. I detailed the waitlist for them and presented the link on my phone. It said, “You’re waitlisted to Rooftop at Hotel Clermont as #29th in line.” They shared my perplexity and headed upstairs, while I admired the books, the Betty’s, and the boozy list of $11-$14 cocktails.
 
Back in the lobby, I watched a couple take pictures of the retro stylings while their drinks drew ring stains on a Bob Dylan book. My buzz was wearing when my old boss texted me. He said, “Not sure why they’re making folks wait. There MIGHT be 40 people up here. Hang tight, I’ll come get you.”
 
A minute later I was climbing the heights of the Clermont with a clique of Tyler’s in J. Crew sneakers and distressed band tees. Tyler number 2 was trying out his best tight five of elevator material. My favorite line was “I just hope they flipped the mattresses.”
 
Finally, the doors opened and I stepped out onto the faux grass of Valhalla. The intimate affair of 40 or so guests was scored by a house remix of the Smiths’ “This Charming Man.” The décor was mock repurposed, and, apart from my old friend and a dashing couple by the bar, the only people of color were on staff. It was a modern Luis Buñuel phantasm of the upper middle – a group appalled by the trappings of the elite yet hell-bent on the abduction of working-class adornment. Here they can order street food from a cocktail waitress and drink PBR for $5 a can by the Gatsby light of the Ponce City Market rooftop — a beacon which guides the reverse white flight of bird scooters and displacement down that long stretch of concrete. Under the influence of alcohol or a 15% tax rate, the rooftop looks like a cash carnival for those looking to boost likes with a bohemian chic backdrop.
 
As I laid down the chicken-scratch version of the above climax, an older Betty in half a skirt approached with an outstretched palm. “Do you work here?” she asked. I said, “Yes ma’am” and took the trash from her hand to toss on my way to the elevator. Downstairs, I saluted the poor souls trapped in the purgatorial waitlist, and exited the building. Outside, I opened my phone to find good news. I was only 10th in line to enjoy the Rooftop at Hotel Clermont."
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I did a walkabout the lobby and observed the furnishings. It was a virtual Pinterest board and fascinating sideshow of working-class appropriation. For decades, before closing its doors December 31, 2009 , the Clermont Hotel was on its last leg; a haven for the lower middle class, the down-and-out, and drifters amid the deteriorating landscape of the city’s main thoroughfare, Ponce de Leon Avenue. It was Atlanta’s counterpart to New York City’s Chelsea Hotel of the late ’70s, steeped in stories punctuated by prostitutes, desperate nightlife, and infamous former residents, such as punk rock provocateur GG Allin who called the Clermont home for a while.

But that was a long time ago, on a previous incarnation of Ponce.

Now, rebranded as Hotel Clermont, the interior looks like someone stole all my uncle’s belongings and turned them into furniture.
 
At this point it was barely tonight, almost tomorrow, and high time for a drink, so I piggybacked a line of post-grad Chad’s strutting into the lobby bar. They made it in, but I was stopped by another blazer with a velvet rope. He quarreled a bit with the chip on my shoulder before directing me back to the host stand to be placed on another electronic waitlist.

While I waited in two fake lines I bought two real drinks at the Clermont Lounge. The gloriously hellish basement hasn’t changed a bit, and me and my fellow waitlisters are allowed right in. Open since 1965, the Lounge has been in Atlanta longer than the Braves, and I’ve never left feeling disappointed. Originally christened as the Jungle Club, the Clermont Lounge is a Southern fever dream of deep mahogany and red tones, where oft-overlooked queens dance before a bar held together with duct tape, lined with paper shot cups and PBR tallboys. Most guests enter for a laugh, but leave with a sincere sense of place and a deep admiration for a lineup of experienced performers, led by Blondie Strange, a goddess-poet with a famously aluminum-can crushing rack.

There’s an arrangement afoot here. The hotel leans on the reputation of the Lounge to further their appeal to the weekend warriors of tourists and white suburbia, while the Lounge benefits from the deep pockets of the polos and top siders clamoring for an authentic experience. Of course, all are truly welcome at the Clermont Lounge, and that’s what separates them from the top.

After an hour or so, in the middle of my third drink and the second verse of Drivin’ N' Cryin’s “Straight to Hell,” I received a text congratulating me on my acceptance into the lobby bar. So I tucked my neckbeard into my Doc Martens, blew a kiss to the stage, and marched back upstairs with my electronic ticket to the funhouse. 
 
I lapped the lobby bar and bumped into a former employer and his wife enjoying a “staycation” at the hotel. I detailed the waitlist for them and presented the link on my phone. It said, “You’re waitlisted to Rooftop at Hotel Clermont as #29th in line.” They shared my perplexity and headed upstairs, while I admired the books, the Betty’s, and the boozy list of $11-$14 cocktails.
 
Back in the lobby, I watched a couple take pictures of the retro stylings while their drinks drew ring stains on a Bob Dylan book. My buzz was wearing when my old boss texted me. He said, “Not sure why they’re making folks wait. There MIGHT be 40 people up here. Hang tight, I’ll come get you.”
 
A minute later I was climbing the heights of the Clermont with a clique of Tyler’s in J. Crew sneakers and distressed band tees. Tyler number 2 was trying out his best tight five of elevator material. My favorite line was “I just hope they flipped the mattresses.”
 
Finally, the doors opened and I stepped out onto the faux grass of Valhalla. The intimate affair of 40 or so guests was scored by a house remix of the Smiths’ “This Charming Man.” The décor was mock repurposed, and, apart from my old friend and a dashing couple by the bar, the only people of color were on staff. It was a modern Luis Buñuel phantasm of the upper middle – a group appalled by the trappings of the elite yet hell-bent on the abduction of working-class adornment. Here they can order street food from a cocktail waitress and drink PBR for $5 a can by the Gatsby light of the Ponce City Market rooftop — a beacon which guides the reverse white flight of bird scooters and displacement down that long stretch of concrete. Under the influence of alcohol or a 15% tax rate, the rooftop looks like a cash carnival for those looking to boost likes with a bohemian chic backdrop.
 
As I laid down the chicken-scratch version of the above climax, an older Betty in half a skirt approached with an outstretched palm. “Do you work here?” she asked. I said, “Yes ma’am” and took the trash from her hand to toss on my way to the elevator. Downstairs, I saluted the poor souls trapped in the purgatorial waitlist, and exited the building. Outside, I opened my phone to find good news. I was only 10th in line to enjoy the Rooftop at Hotel Clermont.    Brandon English HOTEL LIFE: "...the interior looks like someone stole all my uncle’s belongings and turned them into furniture." — Brent Michal   Step inside the Clermont Hotel (itemId:185676 trackerid:11)   "clermont lounge"                             HOTEL CLERMONT: After hours in limbo "
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Thursday July 12, 2018 02:10 pm EDT
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