Will TomorrowWorld recover from this year’s horrors?
The Day After Tomorrow(World). That might of well been the title of this year’s 3rd day of the American Tomorrowland. Chaos almost seems an understatement based on the scale of people affected by the disastrous final day and the horror stories that are staring to emerge.
With consistent heavy rain, the ground was far from suitable for tens of thousands of feet and the hundreds of vehicles for the 3rd day. Compounded by seemingly poor event management and preparation, it became a recipe for impending disaster.
Thousands of festival-goers were unable to get away from the 8,000-acre estate 30 miles from Atlanta because organizers stopped allowing cabs, Ubers and shuttles to get near pick-up spots, leaving people stood in the cold rain for hours in the early morning. Some eventually slept on wet grass or mud tired from the night earlier rave, while others walked up to 10 miles to find shelter or faraway transportation options. Non-campers were left without shelter, food and water as some waited over 3 hours for transport as the shuttles, buses and cars that were already onsite routinely got stuck in the mud upon exiting, and frustrated riders hopped out and joined forces to push the vehicles out.
Mounting concerns about a repeat scenario for Sunday influenced organizers to cancel day 3 of the electronic music event for commuters, meaning only the 40,000 campers still on the festival grounds got to watch the final day’s shows. Bare in mind the predicted attendance was 190,000, with the festival bringing in over $90 million to the local economy each year.
Take a look at the images below:
Many TomorrowWorld ticket holders walking sides of roads to get away from site. Thousands reported stranded overnight pic.twitter.com/oW5hAnjIvy
— Steve Gehlbach (@SteveGWSB) September 27, 2015
— Gary Alan (@gbro76) September 27, 2015
— Brian A. Hernandez (@BAHjournalist) September 27, 2015
“It was either take an Uber or be stranded,” Tony Nguyen, a festival-goer said. “Outside in the darkness, everything looked the same. It was a complete shit-show.”
Nguyen estimated there were 2,000-3,000 people waiting in line in the cold for transport. “No one told us where to go, so we wound up walking aimlessly following other stranded people. We wound up walking for 5 miles,” He recalled.
“Along the walk, I saw a girl in a cast who was being carried by two guys, people sleeping on the side of the road, and I pushed a guy in a wheelchair though the mud…I left the event at 12:30 and got home at 5:30,” Nguyen added. “I had a great time last year, but this was a nightmare.”
And while organizers have since announced that they will be offering a refund to some attendees, there is still a bitter taste in the mouths of thousands of fans left to fend for themselves.
In a post on its website, the festival wrote:
Today, Sunday September 27, TomorrowWorld will only be accessible to visitors currently camping at DreamVille. Continuous rainfall over the last three days has severely limited capacity of the parking lots, entrance roads and drop off locations in and around the festival site. The experience of the TomorrowWorld visitors is always TomorrowWorld’s number one priority, so TomorrowWorld was forced to close all daily parking lots and drop off locations. TomorrowWorld regrets that festivalgoers with day tickets, guest list tickets, and anyone not already camping at DreamVille will unfortunately not be able to access the festival. The last day of the festival will go on for the 40,000 visitors already situated in DreamVille, with David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, and Martin Garrix all on deck. More information and refund policy will be available soon..
Organizers said these Sunday tickets will be refunded entirely and automatically, including service, shipping and payment fees. However, the prospect of TomorrowWorld occurring next year is looking even less likely, with residents unhappy and a petition already going around asking for it’s ending. Leaving the question, can it survive and rediscover its magic again in 2016?