Imagine Music Festival 2016 is just a short few weeks away and the anticipation is beginning to grow for what is to be one of the craziest weekends of the summer! Atlanta Motor Speedway will play host to what has been dubbed an “Aquatic Fairytale” on August 26-28. The theme is set, camping plans are under way, performers and dancers are preparing to immerse us into an underwater fairy tale kingdom and the speedway is about to undergo a major transformation to become a ravers ultimate playground. Yes, Imagine Music Festival is about to come to fruition once again, with every fantastic festival experience there must be an incredible lineup packed with the very best in the industry.
Click HERE to check out our interview with the founders of Imagine Music Festival, Glenn and Madeleine Goodhand!
Imagine Music Festival has pulled out all the stops to bring the creme de’ la creme of electronic music heavy hitters as well as some seriously talented local DJ’s and producers that are going to rock our socks off and send us home with memories we will never forget! To make it a little easier to decide which DJ’s to check out over the weekend I have compiled a list of my top 10 must sees. This list includes the DJ’s that I have fallen in love with throughout the years as well as a few that have had a personal impact on my life. Without further ado, let’s begin!
Maria’s Top 10 Must Sees at Imagine Music Festival 2016
Pyramid Scheme & Ying Yang Twins
Sterling Pike and new member William Blaine are two incredibly talented men that make up the Mad Decent DJ duo Pyramid Scheme. I had the pleasure of getting to know Sterling while he was touring with Styles & Complete just this past year. What I can say about Pyramid Scheme is that when they are on stage they put their everything into making their show explode with energy, crafting a set that has hip hop swag mixed with infectious electro beats. At Imagine Music Festival the boys will be partnering up with the Ying Yang Twins for a set that will without a doubt be one for the record books. If their track, “Thundercat” offers any inclination to the flavor of the set, then I am all in!
Check out Pyramid Scheme & Ying Yang Twins – “Thundercat” on YouTube:
My next choice is a guru of progressive house and trance who goes by the name of Arty. Arty has had an illustrious rise to fame and the world was his oyster when in 2009 Above & Beyond released his track “Rush” on their Anjunabeats label which was followed in 2001 by the release of “Trio” on Axwell‘s label, Axtone. With the stage set, Arty had arrived in all of his glory. Since then he has made his mark all over the world. EDC, Tomorrowland, Ushuaïa, XS Encore Las Vegas, Amnesia Ibiza and Creamfields are just a few of the festivals he has performed at and Imagine Music Festival is next in his sights. He is certainly a DJ worth catching as his sets are always packed full of passion. The perfect set to push all your “feels” buttons!
Swedish born Alexander Björklund and Sebastian Furrer are the creative genius artists that make up Cazzette. Their tracks “Beam Me Up” and “Sleepless” have helped to shoot them into super star status as fans have fallen in love with their unique identity and sound. Kicking off their career just a few short years ago in 2011 these guys were destined to make waves and since then they have become one of the most beloved acts in the festival scene. Is it because of their special persona, addressing their audience with cassette shaped helmets? Or is it because their music is so infectious and fun? My vote is a little bit of both! I personally can’t wait to see what these guys have in store for Imagine Music Festival 2016!
Let’s start of my next must see DJ by getting right to the point. Jeff Abel, better known as Excision plays the most filthy, grimy, ear-piercing, brain melting, earth shattering dubstep I have ever had the pleasure of hearing in my life. From experience it is safe to say that Excision stands far outside the box when it comes to what he delivers during his sets. He is a dubstep/electro maniac and if you like your beats full of chaos and insanity, then Excision has got you covered. Sure, this description might seem intimidating but do yourself a favor and check him out. Let the “Level X” master explain through music what I have attempted to describe through words. Prepare to enter a world of droid battles within a futuristic explosion of sound.
Stream Excision’s Shambhala 2015 Set on SoundCloud:
Borgore, founder of Buygore Records, has made his way into my top 10 for the simple fact that the dude is a monster behind the decks. His debut album #NEWGOREORDER was an unbelievable success and since then he has continued to rock the socks off of EDM fans all over the world. With the perfect bled of trap, dubstep, house, and electro, Borgore captures the attention of electronic dance music fans no matter what genre they are in to. He captured my heart the first time I saw him live at ‘Life In Color Atlanta‘. Being a trance fan at heart I really didn’t think that I would be into him at all. But, in true Borgore fashion he proved me wrong on so many different levels! He has such a genius way of piecing together a multi genre set that keeps you locked in for the duration. You simply cannot get bored during a Borgore set and that is why he is on my top 10 must sees for Imagine Music Festival 2016.
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
My first brush with Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs came just this past year during EDC20 in Las Vegas. Hanging out at Neon Garden getting my fill of that sweet techno kick, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs hit the decks alongside Jonas Rathsman to deliver a set that was groovy and funky yet refreshingly forward thinking. Classically trained and Djing since the age of 13, it’s no wonder that Orlando Tobias Edward Higginbottom (pretty awesome name if you ask me) was destined to be a techno magician. His DJ persona came along when he had the strong urge to oppose the often pretentious world of dance music and underground cool, and inject some fun into the club environment. And that is the best way to describe a “TEED” set. Full of fun and packed with good vibes.
Stellar Shores made a special impact on my life one fateful evening many years ago. I had made my way over to Opera Night Club in Atlanta, GA to check out one of my favorite DJ’s, Audien. Fate would have it that Stellar Shores, a local up and coming EDM producer/DJ, was on the ticket as support. Now, on most occasions the opening DJ will set up the evening with a gradual incline, paving the way and setting the tone for the headliner to melt our faces. But on this night, in my opinion, Stellar Shores brought the house down in a blaze of glory as he lit up the dance floor with one of the most memorable sets I have ever experienced. Stellar Shores is the dark horse on my list because he is an up and comer with all the right ingredients to make a huge breakthrough in the scene. I suggest you check out his set and show some love for a hometown hero.
Check out Stellar Shores’ Road To Imagine 2k16 Mix on SoundCloud:
Where to begin with my next choice on my must see list! Benny Benassi is a true OG of electro and one who has earned his name at the highest levels of super stardom in the scene to date. Born in Italy and oozing electro fire, Benny Benassi catapulted onto the scene with his insanely popular release, “Satisfaction“. Since then he has been widely referred to as the king of electro and with the release of his album ‘Electroman’ it was appropriate that fans around the world would dub him the “Electroman”. Just recently he released yet another ground breaking album called ‘Danceaholic’, adding yet another incredible piece of work to his impressive discography. His career has seen him brush elbow with superstars such as Madonna, Kelis, David Bowie, and Chris Brown as well as almost every top dog in the EDM industry. So, what does Benny have to offer us when he hits the decks live? Absolute electro insanity with Benny Benassi flavor. If he is on a lineup, I will always catch his set. Period.
1/3 of the Swedish House Mafia and paving his way these days as a solo act, Steve Angello is like lightning in a bottle. Release his talent behind the decks and you are in for a storm of pulse pounding bangers with an Angello stamp of creativity. He has his own sound and you know it when you hear it. The kingpin of Size Records, Steve Angello loves to use strong rhythms that pound deep down into your soul yet carry a message making for the perfect festival anthem. He also chooses tracks that are different from what everyone else is playing at MainStage. He always keeps his sets fresh yet current and always characteristic of who he is an artist. Yes, he is the king of the MainStage and you really should let him prove it to you at Imagine Music Festival!
And now for my #1 must see of the weekend, Cosmic Gate! What’s a festival weekend without a healthy dose of trance?! Well, Claus Terhoeven and Stefan Bossems, the brilliant duo behind Cosmic Gate will be our much-needed trance refreshment as we move through a weekend of heavy bass and booty shaking beats. The men who brought us “Be Your Sound”, “Fire Wire”, “Exploration of Space”, “Not Enough Time”, “Body of Conflict”, “The Theme”, “So Get Up” (which is my personal favorite) and “Falling Back” will be gracing the stage at Imagine Music Fest and dishing out everything trance! It can’t get much better than that! Will it be hard trance, pure trance, or progressive trance that Cosmic Gate will surprise us with? We will just have to wait and see! Their style has truly evolved throughout the years and although this has been an issue for some artists, Cosmic Gate has evolved gradually, appropriately, and respectfully. Cosmic Gate will always be a fan favorite and in just a few short weeks they will remind us once again why they are a force to be reckoned with.
Enjoy this full set by Cosmic Gate at ASOT 750, Utrecht, on SoundCloud:
Bonus Pick: Reliquary
This just in! Reliquary has just been added to the already incredible lineup and my day just got a whole lot more exciting! Chris Orosco otherwise known as Reliquary is an Atlanta-based DJ with a passion for all that is trance! He makes his passion resoundingly evident when he hits the decks, paying homage to the genre with sets that stay true to trance, are saturated with energy and emotion, and have the ability to get the crowd to connect and respond to every melody he ignites. Reliquary is truly captivating. The first time I had the honor of experiencing a Reliquary set was at TomorrowWorld, Atlanta 2014. He had won a contest and the prize was to open up the very popular and much anticipated Trance Addict stage! And that was one hell of a set he threw down! I remember rooting for him even though I hadn’t been familiar with him before that day. His set moved me and the crowd response was beautiful! So much love for this local producer/DJ! And I am thrilled that he will be playing at Imagine Music Festival 2016!! Take it from me and get to his set! Let him prove why he is the next big name in trance!
So there you have it. As long as there are no time conflicts (wishful thinking) these are 11 sets that you will most certainly find me at, dancing like a manic and getting lost in the good vibes and sick beats! Tickets are still on sale for this ground breaking festival but you are going to want to grab them fast as they are expected to sell out very soon!
Tickets are now starting at $229 for GA and $399 for VIP and can be purchased by clicking HERE and while you are at it don’t forget to grab your camping pass! See you soon festival family!