We got the chance to speak with the founders of Imagine Music Festival in Atlanta, Madeleine and Glenn Goodhand, about the festival’s roots, growth & challenges, the future, their favorite IMF moments and even their favorite artists on this year’s lineup. The electronic/funk camping music & arts festival is one of the few gems of the American festival scene that is still independently owned and operated. Happening September 22nd-24th, this is guaranteed to be an incredible year for the ATL team and for everyone who will be jamming at Atlanta Motor Speedway!
How did Imagine Festival get started?
Imagine had always been in the back of our heads, as we would see the momentum of our events as Iris Presents start to grow. While Imagine is a unique concept unto itself, the popularity of our club nights and the growth of the scene on the whole is why you have something like Imagine.
Atlanta is home for us. While we have had our hands in events up and down the east coast this is where we maintained our roots over the years. It is a cultural and creative goldmine, intersecting ideas and personalities from all over the country and world. While Imagine is showcasing Atlanta, we are very much using Atlanta to showcase Imagine. Not many cities out there that can rival what is going on here and now.
How has the festival grown in the past few years?
Besides expanding from a two-day, non-camping, city festival to a four-day, camping festival, that takes over an entire speedway? Ha. I guess you could say we’ve grown a touch. Seriously though- the biggest way in which we have grown is in our ability to evolve into a major festival, without losing touch with the fans who have been with us since the beginning. And we’ve done this, by listening and surrounding ourselves with a team that can support and nurture our growth.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced with operating Imagine Festival independently?
As with almost any independent- it is a matter of resources. That being said, we work with some of the best in the industry- from the team booking our monstrous lineup to the VIP crew to our safety team and our product managers. We are not only getting it done and done well, we are able to maintain that creative freedom that continues to attract fans.
Where do you see the future of Imagine Festival?
Imagine will be constantly be evolving. I think what you saw this past year when festivals were canceling was a lack of interest because a lack of diversity. Putting on a festival is hard work and it is easy for it to become formulaic, but it is those festivals who provide an experience and evolve much in the same way as music does that will succeed. We want Imagine to always be a work in progress, so to speak.
What is one of your favorite experiences with this festival?
It is super rare that we get a minute to do this, but we like stepping out into the crowd to try to experience Imagine as a fan does. See their reactions… what they are responding to and how we can make it even better. It is a true honest response to Imagine, when the fans don’t know it is you that put it on.
Who on the lineup are you most excited about?
I think we both have our favorites. Maddy loves Tiësto and Deadmau5, whereas I am pretty amped to see Pretty Lights and Tiësto. I would say as a piece of advice to not just go after the obvious players. Some of our best received sets last year came from artists that were just starting to come up. Go out and discover something you haven’t heard yet.
What inspired the aquatic theme?
Maddy’s love for mermaids, more than anything else. That and no one else was doing it. Music is such a fluid thing, you never know where it is going- whether it will go around you or blow you over. We want fans to immerse themselves in the experience of Imagine.
Can you describe Imagine Festival in five words or less?
Independent, Magical, Adventurous Genuine, Innovative… and Exciting!