Glenn and Madeleine Goodhand know that this is the year that their Imagine Music Festival could explode — in a completely positive manner.
As it heads into its third year this weekend, the event dedicated to electronic dance music is expanding tremendously , from its humble beginnings at Historic Fourth Ward Park to the home the Goodhands hope to occupy for years to come — Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“We liked our old space and it was beautiful, but we grew out of it,” Glenn said. “We looked all over the place for a space where we could grow into, and what won us over (at the Speedway) was the staff was very supportive and the infrastructure they have here is invaluable — it’s set to deal with and handle any kind of inclement weather.”
Ah, yes. The weather. The wrath of Mother Nature that sounded the death knell for the Chattahoochee Hills-based TomorrowWorld, the massive EDM fest imported from Belgium that suffered a muddy meltdown last September and opted not to return this year.
While the three-day Imagine Festival, produced by the Goodhands’ Iris Presents corporation, boasts a lineup of 60-plus acts that will appeal to casual followers of the genre as well as those deeply ingrained in its grooves — the Disco Biscuits, Steve Angello, Arty, Benny Benassi, Borgore, Dillon Francis, Excision, Nero, Showtek, Zeds Dead, Michal Menert & the Pretty Fantastics, to name a handful — the Goodhands still want to present an independent vibe at the event.
Many major festivals around the country have been snapped up by massive music promoters such as Live Nation and AEG, but for now, the Goodhands want to retain control.
“We have the opportunity to go really huge — and I think some people wanted us to do that — but because we are indie, we thought it would be better to grow organically and at a steady pace,” Madeleine said, adding that they expect about 30,000-40,000 attendees throughout the weekend. “We feel we curated an intelligent lineup. We tried to think about it from the perspective of who is hot right now … there are a lot of hidden gems in there that you maybe have to be a fan of this music to realize.”
The couple, who has lived in Atlanta for almost 15 years, professes a genuine enthusiasm for the EDM genre; Glenn began his career promoting electronic festivals in the ‘90s – “I guess back then it was a rave,” Madeleine joked – and she rattles off some of the artists she’s most proud of nabbing for the fest, such as Kris “Rain Man” Trindl (formerly of Krewella) and Michal Menert (an original member of Pretty Lights).
Performances will take place on seven stages — five primary and two pop-ups — and will spotlight plenty of local talent as well.
“Being independent and in Atlanta, we try to support our locals because they don’t get a lot of love from the other festivals,” Madeleine said.
In addition to the music and the vendors — which will accept cash and credit cards, old-school style — there is a distinctive visual element to the Imagine Music Festival.
Live art, a splash pool, a 24-foot water slide, high-altitude swings, cirque troupes and mermaids will all be on site, as well as effects from the Incendia company, which will turn the roof of a domed stage into a fireball (safely, we assume).
As well, the Goodhands partnered with AQUA, a nonprofit that produces effects such as 3-D waterfalls and video maps to create hologram experiences. The organization is dedicated to giving back to Third World countries to help provide clean drinking water.
While the Goodhands refrained from discussing the financials of the festival — “It’s an arm and a leg,” Madeleine said — it’s apparent that their motivation to stage a memorable event goes beyond a check.
“We would have people come up to us with heartfelt compliments about how the experience changed their lives,” Glenn said of Imagine Festivals past. “Those kinds of stories were the impetus for us to keep doing what we needed to do to provide those kinds of experiences for people. It’s just invaluable to us.”
Imagine Music Festival
When: Friday-Sunday (Aug. 26-28)
Festival hours: 3 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday; noon-3 a.m. Saturday; noon-3 a.m. Sunday. Box office hours are 10 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway, 1500 Tara Place, Hampton (about 26 miles south of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta).
Tickets: $99 (one-day Friday general admission pass); $119 (one-day Saturday OR Sunday general admission pass); $259 (three-day general admission pass). VIP ($199 for single-day pass or $399 for three-day pass). Festival is 18 and older.
Parking: $39 for three-day weekend pass or $20 per day.
Artists include: the Disco Biscuits; Steve Angello; Arty; Benny Benassi; Borgore; Dillon Francis; Excision; Nero; Showtek; Zeds Dead; 3LAU, 12th Planet; DJ Hanzel; Minnesota; Ott & the All-Seeing I; Papadosio; Rain Man; Robbie Rivera; Snails; SNBRN; Thomas Jack; Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (DJ set); Fyer; Leah Culver; Michal Menert & the Pretty Fantastics; Moon Hooch; Opiuo; Legion and Levitation Jones.