Thursday, September 29, 2016
IBMA's Wide Open Bluegrass Festival is in town and the weekend has an extensive lineup for free music at the Street Fest. With five stages and a dance tent, banjos will be playing through the streets of downtown Raleigh from 11 a.m. through 11 p.m. The best part? The Street Fest is free. Throughout Friday and Saturday, catch bluegrass greats such as Balsam Range, Flatt Lonesome, The Honey Dewdrops and more. Check out the extensive stage lineup here.
For those that really like to get moving, check out the full schedule for the dance tent. This stage will feature cloggers, square dancing, and open dancing all day until 11 each night. Closing out Friday will be the ever enchanting Ellis Dyson and the Shambles. This band knows how to get a tent rockin' with their unique mix of folk and swing. On Saturday, dance tent masters Scythian will close out the night with their barn-stomping Celtic folk-rock.
Don't forget that tickets can still be purchased for the Wide Open Bluegrass main stage. This stage features artists such as Ricky Skaggs, The Nitty Gritty Band, and The Steep Canyon Rangers. Take a look at the complete schedule and purchase tickets at the official IBMA website.
Sunday, September 4, 2016
The third annual Imagine Music Festival, presented by IRIS Presents, took place August 26-28 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Catering to 45,000 music fans, this innovative festival production wowed all who entered the space. Continuing with the magical aquatic theme, IMF meshed together several elements to create one unforgettable EDM playground. For the first time, IMF added camping as an option and moved to the incredibly spacious Atlanta Motor Speedway. Here are the top three things we loved about this year's Imagine Music Festival.
#1. The Magic
With the new spatial freedom provided by the Atlanta Motor Speedway, IMF added a brightly flashing ferris wheel and a swing ride carousel. Partaking in this fun could only send attendees back to their childhood, feeling young and free.
Also adding to the feeling of freedom, IMF provided a break from the extreme heat with an enticing and refreshing wading pool. Here, Imaginers could play ball, cool-off, and hang with friends between sets. Continuing with the water theme, a bouncy water slide was also widely used near the Amazonia stage. Each of these elements added both fun and much needed heat relief.
#2. The Essentials
Inside the Speedway, IMF also paid special attention to meeting peoples' essential needs. Misting tents were provided throughout the grounds and a chill room was available for cooling off at any time. These are small perks that mean a lot when sitting in the heat all day. Once again, well-done, Imagine.
#3. The Music
Save the best for last, right? No music festival is complete without a stellar lineup and IMF did not disappoint in this department either, bringing in headliners like Dillon Francis, Zed's Dead and Excision. No headliner can perform to his true potential without proper staging and Imagine really expanded on that this year, making the stages ornate, bright, and loud enough to be heard 30 miles away, literally. Fans had 7 stages to choose from, ranging in size and decoration, but each one brought a clean sound quality and visuals to make anyone's eyes and ears pop.
The Amazonia stage housed several jam bands and brought on the funk both Saturday and Sunday. While there were an abundance of notable artists to grace this stage, the strongest performances came from Break Science, OPIUO, and of course, Gramatik. Each of these artists combined just the right amount of bass, lights, and mind-blowing visuals to keep everyone enthralled and dancing.
After two successful years of being a smaller festival, there were some concerns about IMF growing up too much. Why mess with a formula that works? Clearly, the great minds behind Imagine new exactly what they were doing. From comfortable camping, to the stellar lineup, to the unforgettable stages, IMF '16 was definitely a success. So, what will IMF come up with for next year? We can only imagine.
*Photo credit for photos 1-5: