Festival Experience

Imagine 2018 - The Experience


I did not know what to expect when I first arrived at Imagine Music Festival. I had heard great things about this aquatic adventure, but great stories only go so far until you experience it for yourself. I am a firm believer in attending a new music festival every year versus attending the same local events over and over which many people get locked into for various reasons. With that said, I chose to fly out from Las Vegas to spend my 2018 festival experience at Imagine Music Festival.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Imagine Music Festival is a 3-day camping festival which has been held every year (for the last 5 years) at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, in Georgia. Within that short period of time Imagine has established itself as a staple among the other major festivals on the east coast and within the US. I was very excited to be attending their 5th year anniversary as they launched a stacked lineup to include artists such as Armin Van Buuren, Kaskade, Bassnectar, Alesso, Galantis, RL Grime, Zhu, Green Velvet, The Glitch Mob, Paul Oakenfold, Cashmere Cat, and Griz to name a few.

The Speedway is conveniently close to the Atlanta Airport, so my commute to the festival was a smooth transition after my flight (an approx. 30-min drive). Upon arrival I had to first pick up my wristband at will-call which had little to no wait in line. The staff was very organized and friendly which made for an easy pickup. We arrived to the campground entry which had one of the most thorough car checks I have experienced at a camping festival. They asked us to pop the trunk and ruffled through our camping gear along with multiple passes of K9 inspections. Safety is of the utmost importance but be forewarned. We pulled into our designated camping plot and set up what would be our home away from home for the next three days. We quickly made friends with the other camp mates, had a few kickoff drinks to relax, and left towards the festival.

Photo Credit:  Imagine Music Festival

Photo Credit: Imagine Music Festival


DAY 1


We arrived in line to enter the speedway which did not take very long to get through the security pat downs and wristband scans. We walked into the speedway looking down at the Disco Inferno stage towards the center with main Oceana stage off to the far left. Amazonia is another one of the larger stages which is set off to the right but was not open/accessible until day two and three. I am not sure of the reason for this, but I think all stages should be active during all three days of the festival. We got inside a little late on the first day but made our way down the stairs and grooved at Disco Inferno for the end of Ployd’s set.

Photo Credit:  Imagine Music Festival

Photo Credit: Imagine Music Festival

We headed over to the pool for a bit to relax and went to Oceana for 12th Planet, The Glitch Mob, Galantis, and Armin Van Buuren who always delivers!

We decided to swing by the Silent Disco for a bit before heading back to camp. I was exhausted from all the travel as I took a red eye flight, but I ended up staying out a lot later than I initially planned. If you have never experienced a silent disco, the headsets had a dual channel feature with two DJ’s on stage so you could tune into the sound of your choice. The headsets would light up blue or green depending on the channel, so you could see who else was listening to the same music.

One thing I immediately noticed about Imagine Music Festival, is the amazing vibe people carry. It’s never guaranteed that a festival with so many people will create such a warm and welcoming aura… but the people of Imagine Music Festival do this seemingly better than many festivals I have attended. For such a young and independently owned music festival they have done very well to create a home for their attendees. Granted, this was my experience and the vibe you bring plays a major factor, but IMF gets my personal stamp of approval for the atmosphere they create, and the people they attract.


DAY 2


Camping at festivals can sometimes be hit or miss based on the weather. It is often freezing at night, and you wake up in the morning feeling like you’re being baked in the comfort of your own tent. I am not sure if September was perfect timing or if the weather just happened to be perfect, but I did not experience any excessive hot or cold weather throughout the weekend. It was chilly at night, but I did not feel the need to wear every article of clothing I packed. Waking up was just as nice and the perfect start for day two. If weather happens to be one of your camping festival fears… RV camping is also available.

Day two of Imagine Music Festival was perfect. There was no worry about travel, traffic, or setting up camp. Just wake up, cook breakfast, or eat a PB&J and relax into the second day of the festival. If you happened to not bring any food, they had plenty of great food options inside and outside of the speedway.

Luckily our camp was set relatively close to the showers where the Iris Team did a really good job of making sure the porta-potties were cleaned out each morning. After freshening up we made our way to the speedway. Although there were several other great artists I wanted to see at the Amazonia and Disco Inferno stage (Ekali, Cashmere Cat, Jai Wolf, Green Velvet, and Zhu), I decided to stay with my group to catch Bear Grillz, Liquid Stranger, Adventure Club (which brought back a lot of great memories), Bassnectar, and closed out the night with Alesso. Every time I have tried to see Alesso, something happens and I either miss his set or I can’t make it to the event. It was great to finally have the opportunity to see him live and break my curse.

Oceana Stage -  Liquid Stranger

Oceana Stage - Liquid Stranger

Although we were all sad to be flooded out from the speedway, the festivities in the campgrounds were in full effect, and we were not ready to go to sleep any time soon. The Silent Disco was overflowing with a long line to get in, but first, we decided to re-group at our campsite to grab a drink and head back out to the parties. We went to a stage that was set up close to our camp and a secret forest stage, which was going off!

IMF2018: Secret Forest Stage

IMF2018: Secret Forest Stage

After visiting both stages, we headed towards the Silent Disco, but were curious to see what the RV camp situation looked like and I am happy we did. We found ourselves at a private RV after party. It was equipped with a giant unicorn floaty ball pit, House DJs, and an eclectic group of people dancing into day three of Imagine Music Festival.

IMF2018: RV Camp After Party

IMF2018: RV Camp After Party

IMF2018: RV Camp After Party

IMF2018: RV Camp After Party

The vibe was great, and the music was better. We danced until sunrise but decided that 8am was time to go back to camp and sleep for a few hours. Luckily, it was a little overcast, so the sun gave us enough time to nap.


DAY 3


I felt like a zombie, but the after-parties were completely worth it. After a quick shower I felt refreshed and ready to regroup with my camp and the new friends I made over the weekend. Day three of any festival is always a little sad, as you know the adventure is coming to an end. Knowing the third day of Imagine ends three hours earlier (12am), we made sure to go inside relatively early. Half of my group split off to go to mainstage VIP, which was quite an experience within itself. The Oceana stage has the entire far left section available dedicated to VIP, which had a perfect view of the stage along with a large private bar, bathrooms, bottle service, and additional seating available. I preferred to be in the middle of the crowd, so I stayed with my new friends from camp and raged to Getter, RL Grime, and Zeds Dead at Oceana.

Although I wanted to see Kaskade, my friends urged me to go to see Griz instead. I am all about experiencing “new” artists and I had never seen Griz live. He blew my mind. He had live instruments (guitar & saxophone), a rapper came out, and the crowed was amazing. Griz’s set was full of positive subliminal messaging/propaganda that made for an amazing feel good atmosphere. Towards the end of the set, my friend looked at me and said, “I would like to welcome you to the Wook Society.” We both died laughing and enjoyed the fireworks set off from mainstage across the speedway, with the sounds of Griz playing past his set time.

Everyone began to head towards Disco Inferno, as Oliver Heldens was the final set of the night. It was nice to have one single performer close out of the festival as it brought all the attendees together. Although we were sad to end the night, we were all exhausted and ready for bed. Turn down for naps. We headed back to camp and checked out for the night. I decided to shower before bed, to make for a more efficient pack-out before heading back to the airport.

One thing to note, as not every festival has a “Leave No Trace” policy, EVERY camping festival attendee should make it a self-priority to pack in and pack out, to leave your camp as spotless as it was when you arrived. Many campers left a lot of trash at their campsites which I see happen more and more every year. Please do your part to keep the grounds clean so the Iris Team and others can continue to bring us these amazing events.


If you have never been to Imagine Music Festival, I wholeheartedly recommend attending in 2019. If you have, please let me know what year you attended and how your experience was in the comments below :)


Header Photo Credit: Imagine Music Festival

EDC Las Vegas - The 2018 Experience

Let me start off by saying that last year I said that I would be attending my last EDC Las Vegas... Well, I lied. I attended my 13th EDC this year, and I’m already planning out next years trip. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway has transformed into such a magical place, that I don’t ever see myself not attending. At least not anytime soon. Especially as each year seems to improve exponentially. The FOMO is real!

I arrived in Las Vegas from South Carolina on Wednesday night after having a hellish experience with the airline. Determined not to let anything damper my spirits, Thursday afternoon I attended the EDC Week Basscon Pool Party. I arrived a bit late since I had to find out where the airline had lost my luggage, then buy new clothes and a bathing suit. 

Cosmic Meadow  - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Cosmic Meadow - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

My group and I arrived to the speedway at 9pm. Traffic was killer, but we went straight to Basspod, then my favorite stage, Wasteland! We explored a bit and tried going to as many stages as possible, checked out the art installations, and had a few drinks. The mini cathedral which was designated as our meet up spot, was beautiful. One thing I noticed was the price difference depending on which stand you got beers from; prices varied by $2-4 dollars, which isn’t much, but can make a difference over the course of the weekend.

Wasteland  - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Wasteland - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Basspod - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Basspod - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

My favorite set on Friday, and possibly all weekend, was Avalon at Quantum Valley. The stage design made me reminisce of the 2011/2012 Main Stage EDC with all the LED panels. I do enjoy the Main Stage themes, however, I much prefer LED wall displays over everything. If you are not familiar with Avalon, he plays Psytrance and was absolutely amazing. I wish we had been able to watch his entire set, but I had to leave early in order to make it back to the meetup spot to leave with my group.

Quantum Valley  - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Quantum Valley - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Saturday and Sunday we went with our friend Kyle, whom we stayed with that weekend. Saturday was my favorite day as it had many of the sets I was looking forward to most (TNT, Excision Detox, Darren Styles, Armin Van Buuren, and Vini Vici to close out our night at Kinetic Field). We arrived a bit earlier Day 2 around 7:45pm and ran straight to Basspod to headbang to Space Jesus who always puts on a great show. Afterwards we all went to Wasteland with fists in the air for Darksiderz B2B Mekanikal, and TNT(Technoboy & Tuneboy).

We took a break to explore the different stages and noticed that this year there were VIP sections at the front of every stage, whereas before they were only located at Main Stage and Neon Garden. Super cool idea, but I do wish it had been announced beforehand(unless I missed the memo). I attained my EDC ticket through my Festival Passport so upgrading to VIP was not a possibility for me, but others decisions might have been swayed to VIP had I known this.

We headed over to Cosmic Meadow and made our way through the crowed to see Post Malone at 11:00pm. One thing that irked me was that he only had a 30min set, but we waited… and waited… and waited some more. By 11:20pm I was ready to leave. The stage was insanely  packed and people were getting restless. We made friends with the people standing near us, cracked jokes about how rappers are always late, and made the best of the situation. Post Malone finally came on shortly past 11:30pm, after his set was supposed to end, but Insomniac seemed to have predicted this and allowed for a 30min cushion before Malaa and Tchami came on. We more or less got to see his full set.

Cosmic Meadow  - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Cosmic Meadow - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

I opted to see the Malaa and Tchami No Redemption set which conflicted with Eric Prydz, but I have already seen him several times. No Redemption kept us groovin, but I wasn't too impressed considering the fact we passed up on Eric Prydz.

All in all, the vibes were fun, people were super nice, and the music was excellent. As always there were set conflicts which are totally unavoidable, but nothing too major. The pre-parties during EDC Week acted as such a great warm up, I do hope that next year we get a couple nightclub hardstyle shows in addition to the Basscon Pool Party... but I'm just being greedy. I'm very happy I went this year, and so happy I got to spend it with such beautiful souls.

EDC Headliners  - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

EDC Headliners - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

One more thing that I feel needs to be said… I’ve attended 5 EDCs in LA, and 8 in Las Vegas. I loved EDC when it was in LA, loved attending my favorite rave/festival in my backyard (25 minutes with minimal traffic) but it’s more from the nostalgia and all the good memories I made there than anything. The pool parties leading up to EDC and the EDC pre-parties are a good precursor for the festival itself. Las Vegas is a party town, and there's so much to do if you arrive earlier or stay after the festival. Be it gambling, watching a Cirque show, buffets, etc... I prefer it stays in Las Vegas. Also, moving it up a month to May was an EXCELLENT decision as the weather was so much better. I didn’t camp this year, but I'm sure the May weather fared much better for all the campers as well.

Camp EDC  - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Camp EDC - Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

One thing I will change, is that I will arrive to the speedway WAAAAY earlier, and continue to just go with the flow. Exploring new artists assuming there are no set conflicts.

See y’all next year!!


Who was your favorite set this year? Did you join Camp EDC? Let me know how your experience was in the comments section below!

Header photo source: Insomniac Events

EDC Orlando - 2017 Experience

This was my third year attending EDC Orlando, and I can say it has only improved from the first time I attended. The production, stages, and vibes in general were amazing! Our group arrived with eight people, four of whom had never attended a music festival before. I am happy they were able to have this first experience at EDC Orlando, and they loved every minute of it. Getting ready and attending an event is always the most fun when you’re surrounded by family and the people you love the most.

Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

The only thing that killed our mood a bit were the lines to get in... There needs to be a much better system in place. We were waiting in line up to an hour and a half each day. I know it has to do with how the venue is built, but having an additional entrance would help to alleviate this issue. Also, it is not held in the nicest part of town. We had a scary situation walking to get an Uber. Insomniac should add security outside of the event as a safety precaution for all Headliners.

The diversity in music was great (but still no Hardstyle, grrr), from grooving at Jamie Jones presents Paradise, to rail breaking with Snails, and headbanging to Excision, our music experience was great. Even the shows they put on in between sets kept us more than entertained. 

Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

My favorite set was definitely Green Velvet. Snails as always, was epic and so much fun to ride the rail to! We closed the night with Armin Van Buuren for day two. Although Trance isn’t really my thing, I have began to warm up to it as we watched him close. The fact that he played some Hardstyle made me happy.

Yet again, I did not go on any rides. As always, I got caught in the moment running from stage to stage, and making pit stops for misc. snacks, turkey legs, and the delicious arepas. They had ferris wheels, giant spinning swings and a zipline over the lake all of which looked like a lot of fun... Maybe next time.

Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Thankfully there weren’t many set conflicts, and even though we got in pretty late each day we made the most of it and saw 80% of the sets we wanted to see. I know I am a little biased, but I do wish Insomniac would start booking a couple Hardstyle DJ's for EDC Orlando. Even only if it is one or two DJ's. While Hardstyle is blowing up on the West Coast, it is seriously lacking on the East Coast. My fellow ravers shouldn't need to travel all the way to Cali to hear the music they love... Speaking of traveling for festivals, I attained the festival passport which included EDC Orlando. I didn’t have to worry about tickets selling out which took a lot of stress away knowing my wristband was waiting for me at the event. Festival Passport attendees were able to use the VIP will call line so my friends and family didn’t have to wait long for me to get my wristband... Side note, I LOVED this year’s wristband, so colorful, bright, and it glowed in the dark! 

The vibes... They are very different on the East Coast vs. West Coast. While people still dress up in interesting costumes and wear beautiful rave outfits, I didn’t see half as many kandi kids at EDCO as I have at events in Cali or EDC Las Vegas. I still felt the PLUR in the crowd and made a few new friends as well as reuniting with old ones. I love how we can go to different festivals and always run into people we know, or easily make new friends. All in all, I will continue to attend EDC Orlando again next year. It has not disappointed me in my 3 years attending.

Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

Photo Credit: Insomniac Events

If you do get the opportunity to attend EDC Orlando, my recommendation is to add this festival to your bucket list!


What do you feel was perfect or could use some improvement for the upcoming years?

Header photo source: Insomniac Events

Electric Forest - The Experience

This year, I attended my very first Electric Forest and it was nothing short from amazing.  I was there for weekend 2, due lineup preference and the ForeverFAMM’s attendance. Compared to any other festival I’ve been to, Electric Forest sets itself apart by far.  Between the people, the decor, and the vibes, it was truly unforgettable.

Photo Credit - Electric Forest : Entering the Forest.

Photo Credit - Electric Forest: Entering the Forest.

I worked as a volunteer this year, so I saw the festival from two different perspectives.  While I was working my shifts, I had several people come up to me and offer me food and water.  Some were other volunteers or had volunteered in the past. They told me “we have to look out for each other” then gave me cold water and fruit.  Others were just attendees looking out for one another and that is something all of us need to learn from. If we can spread this kind of love and positivity outside of the festival, it will bring us closer together and make the world a much better place to live in.

ForeverFAMM  -  When you see a nice rave booty   "Damn, guys... Dat ass tho!"

ForeverFAMM - When you see a nice rave booty "Damn, guys... Dat ass tho!"

The people of the forest were some of the most interesting people I have ever met.  So diverse, and each person was even more unique than the last. I met one girl who traveled to China to take pictures of pandas in the wild, and one man had spent his entire life just traveling the world.

I met a lovely group of girls on Sunday night that went around hugging everyone they saw.  "We just want everyone to be as happy as we are to be here."

Photo Credit - Electric Forest:  Sometimes a hug is all we need.

Photo Credit - Electric Forest: Sometimes a hug is all we need.

On top of everything, EForest had an unbelievable lineup this year and each of the 7 unique stages gave off their own vibes.  Whether you were sitting in the back at The Ranch, getting funky at the Jubilee Stage, or getting weird at Tripolee.  EForest had it all.  Located within the heart of the forest, The Forest Stage and the Observatory, were visually stunning in every way.  There was something at EForest for everyone, so if you have never been, bump this festival to the top of your bucket list and make it a point to experience it for yourself.

I woke up to the view of a Hot Air Balloon Today.

I woke up to the view of a Hot Air Balloon Today.

I'm a big fan of space bass, so I wasn't going to miss Space Jesus for anything.  He warped our minds and left us feeling spacey as always.  Thursday night after getting lost in the woods, I stumbled upon "The Russ Liquid Test".  If you are like me and have never heard of them before, do yourself a favor and check these guys out.  The lasers lured me in and the music held me captive until the end of the set.  They honestly had one of the best sets I've ever seen and I would love to see them again.  Very talented.  G Jones b2b Eprom fell nothing short of incredible.  They had one of my favorite sets of the weekend.  Jauz closed out Friday night going harder than ever.  I CANNOT wait to see what he puts together for Lost Lands this year.  Nobody ever believes me when I tell them Jauz goes hard!  They most definitely learned at Electric Forest.

The forest itself was something out of a fairy tale. 

Photo Credit - Electric Forest -  The Forest

Photo Credit - Electric Forest - The Forest

I had only seen pictures up until now, but they really don't do it any justice.  There was a "twerk off" in the wedding chapel, Silent Discos, and LED panels that projected images all night long.  All of the trees were lit up with different colored lights and there were lasers bouncing off of them in what seemed to be every direction.  They had huts and light up domes that you could sit in and vibe with the other festival goers. There was honestly so much to look at that I didn’t know what to look at first.  It’s something you have to see for yourself and I promise, you won’t regret it. I’ve never seen anything like it and at times, it was so spectacular that I had to pinch myself to make sure it was real.  I will 100% be back next year to get lost in the Electric Forest once again. I hope to see all of you there! For those of you who have yet to attend this one of a kind festival, I hope to get lost with you in the forest in 2019!  

Mother Nature has no chill...

As with all festivals there is always something that can be improved upon.... and Sunday was a little rough for a lot of us.  A storm came through and the festival made us all evacuate the grounds into the camping area.  About an hour later, they opened the gates to let us back in. However, a lot of us ended up waiting in line for 3 hours roughly and we missed the majority of the festival that day.  We were lucky enough to make it just in time for Bassnectar’s set, but did miss a lot of the DJ's we were looking forward to seeing. Attendees were not very happy about this (Myself included), but we have to remember that things do happen and the festival cannot control the weather.  They were simply trying to keep us safe. Maybe they could’ve been a little more prepared for such events, but hopefully they will have a stronger back up plan in the future.

See you next year!

See you next year!


Let me know how your experience was in the comments below!

Header photo source: Insomniac Events

Mom's First Rave

This year, I had the pleasure of attending Countdown NYE for the second time in a row. What made this year extra special was being able to share the experience with my mom! After attending Insomniac events for six years, she had never quite understood what keeps me coming back, or why I am so passionate about electronic music. My mom’s first rave was one to remember, as she had a firsthand experience to learn what raves are all about.

My Mom’s Views Prior To Her First Rave

Before attending, my mom had only heard what I had told her from my personal experiences going to previous festivals/events as well as how the media had portrayed them. Her prior views on raves had been shaped as being a fun but not an entirely safe or positive place to be. I had tried to place myself in her shoes, to understand her views as a parent. She had several concerns with me attending music festivals, especially after hearing the news about some of the unfortunate deaths of a few attendees; however, she also understands that I am a safe and responsible person. I have always come back with a positive story to tell about my festival adventures, and the great people I have met along the way. This is what led to her participation…

The Experience

My mom and I had the pleasure of going to Countdown NYE in style… VIP style!  I did not want her to have to deal with the long entry lines, so I made her entry process as smooth as possible. As we entered the NOS Center, my mom’s eyes lit up with excitement as she experienced the beautiful sights and sounds within the venue. As we arrived to the Resolution Stage, she was immediately in awe at the video production. We spent the majority of our evening at this stage, but not before exploring the entire venue, including Vendor Village and the many art installations. The highlight of her night was when Steve Aoki came onto the stage and played what she quoted as “The most energetic and exciting set of the night!”

Truly, she was amazed at how incredibly friendly and accepting the ravers were about her attending her first rave. Many people came up to us to say hello, trade, and even give us hugs. My mom’s immediately asked… “Do you know them?” My answer was “no”, but I continued to explain to her that raves are a place where you can be yourself, meet new people, make friends, and just express positive vibes. At the end of the evening, my mom had said, “There was not a single negative thing or person we came across the entire night, I now understand why you enjoy these events so much.”

Trading Kandi with My Mom - Countdown NYE 2016

Trading Kandi with My Mom - Countdown NYE 2016

Her Thoughts and Views After Attending

To be honest, my mom was EXHAUSTED. Once the event had concluded she asked me, “How do you do this for three days straight?” (Referring to the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas); however, despite being tired, she left with nothing but positive thoughts about raving. She may even attend another event during a warmer season. My mom enjoyed raging the night away with me and said that her views are no longer based on media bias, but on her own personal experience. She finds raves to be a constructive experience as well as sends a message that everyone should attend, at least once in their life.

My Takeaway

I have wanted to take my mom to a rave for quite a while, but until recently her work schedule has not allowed her the time to attend. I am very grateful that she had such a fantastic time and is now able to fully grasp why I am so passionate about being a part of the dance music community. As most ravers have never had the opportunity to attend an event with their parent, I am able to say that this has been one of the best festival experiences of my life. It was incredibly rewarding to share this adventure with her and I hope for many more to come!


Would you ever bring your parent to a rave?                                            

Let me know in the comments below!