Editorial: First person perspective into TomorrowWorld
While TomorrowWorld is having its fair share of fires to to put out, I was one of the 40,000 ravers that had the privilege of staying for all 3 days, and honestly, it was still pretty freakin’ sweet. I’ll touch on different topics throughout the article – it was a wild ride, and I’m not sure I remember it all in chronological order (damn you, fireball), but I’ll do my best.
I woke up and got on a bright and early 6AM plane out of Austin, TX, arriving in Atlanta International Airport at around 10AM. I thought that by being one of the first people there, my group and I would be able to catch one of the first shuttles out of there and get settled in early. Boy, was I wrong. We grabbed our baggage and headed out to the shuttle pickup area, where to our surprise, was jam packed with people already. Hundreds of anxious ravers standing around waiting for the first shuttle to come (which should have been there about an hour before we arrived). As it turns out, they’re running late, and so the wait begins.
We continue to stand around for another 30 minutes, making friends with our line neighbors, when the first shuttle bus arrives. The crowd chants and cheers in excitement, finally, we get a glimpse at the final stretch to the magical land of Tomorrow. Unfortunately, it really was just one bus. You’d figure those things would be lining up one after another, but that was certainly not the case. The buses were slow, about 20 minutes apart from each other, and we didn’t end up getting on to one for another 3 hours. We get on the shuttle and take off. It’s quiet, really quiet. No one seems to be conversing, so I call out for a vote to turn on my wireless speaker and play some EDM music to get us in the mood. Nobody seemed opposed to it, so I reached in to my bag and did my best to get the party started. The energy in the bus started rising higher and higher. I looked in front and behind me to see mostly everyone bobbing their head or conversing with neighbors. Hooray! To our surprise, the shuttle bus made a stop at a nearby liquor store that was prepped and ready for the influx of TW attendees, so naturally, we took advantage.
Once we grabbed our liquid goods, we got back to the bus and continued to make our way. Within about 20 minutes, we arrived at our destination. Pulling around a tree packed corner, only to reveal a vast green-land of tents and fantastic colorful structures. The bus explodes with excitement, everyone clapping and cheering. We park the bus, grab our luggage, and are sent off to walk in the sun-shined narnia that was TomorrowWorld. This was the first struggle. The shuttles parked a good half mile away from the entrance, and it was very, very hot outside. Maybe it’s my fault for packing heavy, but hauling a giant suitcase with a case of water attached to it through a grassy field was a pretty tough feat. All around me people were stopping to take breaks, re-organize their gear, and trading hauls with friends just to make it easier (RIP to the few people I saw drop cases of beer and spilling the cans everywhere). Once we arrived at the gates, we saw a massive line of people waiting to be let in to the Dreamville general camping area.
Thankfully, I opted for the Spectacular Easy Tent, a slight upgrade of the general pre-made easy tents, and had a fairly non-existent wait to get in. The check-in lobby was attached to The Montagoe, an incredibly well put together, and luxurious lounge area for people staying in Spectacular Easy Tents, Dream Lodges, and Cabanas – equipped with a private bar, and cafeteria.
We approached our home for the weekend, neatly lined up Easy Tents on a turf filled, raised, wooden platform, that were actually pretty darn decent. A front area to stand, change, and store luggage, and a back “room” that had an air mattress, pillows, and sleeping bags ready to go. I was pleasantly surprised, seeing as I’m not particularly one for roughing it out.
I settled in and took some time to relax and unwind. Fortunately for us, we had some incredible neighbors. Really, the easy tent community, more specifically my surrounding tent mates, made the entire weekend substantially better. Consider this my shout out, friends! It had been a little exhausting getting everything where it needed to go, so we opted for a small nap before hitting The Gathering party that was soon to come.
Upon waking up, I already hear the distant bass undertones from the party. My excitement builds as we get ready to go explore the general dreamville area, and catch some of the DJ’s rocking The Gathering stage for all of the campers. We set off on way, and prepare to rage. Upon arriving to dreamville, my jaw drops at the sheer amount of tents and camping space that I see before me. Thousands and thousands of tents getting set up as far as the eye can see. We make our way to The Gathering stage, and get the party started with Brian Cross.
There’s not much more to be said from this point. The stage gets more and more packed. The music pulsing through our veins, keeping our feet moving and head bobbing. Personally, the highlights of The Gathering party were Tujamo‘s high intensity set, and then wrapping up the evening with the one and only Headhunterz. For the record, no, he didn’t play a hardstyle set – but it was still a fantastic, rainy time nonetheless. We head back to the tent where I very quickly fall asleep from absolute exhaustion, and end the night.
I wake up around 10AM Friday morning and feel pretty rested. The first thing I notice upon sitting up, is the still active, treble filled sound of rain drops hitting the not so waterproof tent. “Uh Oh”, I think to myself as I quickly check to see if I left anything important outside of the tent. Luckily, everything is inside, but upon looking outside, I see a lot of unprepared neighbors, ourselves included, rain-proofing whatever it is they can, with what they have.
Despite the rain, I head to the showers to wash off the dirt and grime that came from the day before. On the way there, I run into our tent mates and we start talking about the rain and how in the world we’re going to try and combat it in some way. My group is essentially stranded, we took a shuttle in, so there’s no quick trips to the store to pick up some tarps and rain gear. Luckily, our neighbor drove in and agreed to take my girlfriend and I along for the ride to get some supplies.
The rain hasn’t let up, mind you. My shoes are absolutely soaked, so I put on a pair of shower sandals, shorts, and a trash bag poncho (Again, definitely not prepared.) Our neighbor had been placed with the misfortune of having to park in the east parking lot, when our site was at the west parking lot. This sparked a nearly 2 mile walk from one end of the event to the other. Upon finally arriving at the gate to the parking lot, the security lets us know that they’re charging a $20 re-entry fee for anyone leaving and coming back. Super.
Lets fast forward through our supplies mission, we’ll chalk it up as successful. We make our way back to the event and start rain-proofing our tents. As we’re setting up our tarps and putting on our rain gear, lo’ and behold, the rain starts to let up. Before getting ready to head in to the event for the night, we catch a beautiful sunset just in time to get the party started.
That was about as sunny as it got all weekend – shortly thereafter, clouds took over once again, but the rain appeared to have ceased for now.
We enter the event on Friday around 6PM, and head straight to main stage. It was the same stage from TomorrowLand, so nothing really new to see here.
We head over to see who’s on the decks, and to our pleasant surprise, it was none other than the legendary Benny Benassi. The main stage crowd wasn’t much to bear at all. That’s one thing I really enjoyed about the main stage this year. There was a TON of room. Even late night during peak party hours, there was always elbow room no matter where you wanted to plant your feet.
After catching some main stage action, we decide to go walk the lot and see the different sights. The grounds are absolutely massive. I honestly don’t believe I even had the chance to see everything that was available, but it was a great adventure nonetheless. As for the rest of our Friday night, it was more of a pain than anything to walk around between different stages, just due to the distance between them, so we opted to stay around the same area, revolving around the Mythical Frames and It’s a Trap stage.
One act I wanted to make a point to check it out, is of course none other than Kazaam himself, Shaq AKA DJ Diesel. When I first heard that he made the TomorrowWorld line-up, I’ll admit I was shocked, as well as skeptical. I didn’t get the chance to see him open up his set, however upon arriving to the stage, it was clear that he was absolutely slaying the crowd. He really was throwing down an above average mix of today’s trap & dubstep. I found myself jumping up and down, dancing, and overall having a really great time. He knew how to please the crowd, too. Mixing in the nostalgic hit “Space Jam”, and loudly shouting in to the mic “I AM KAZAAM!”.
Other highlights of my night include Andrew Bayer, Kennedy Jones, Steve Angello, Cosmic Gate, and Tiesto – playing a surprisingly refreshing set from what I’ve come to expect out of him.
Side Note: We were RAIN FREE, the entire time the festival was open on Friday. Maybe a slight mist at points, but no down pour at all. The rain didn’t begin until after we arrived back to the tents around 2AM. This doesn’t mean the grounds weren’t muddy though. They were very, very muddy.
Waking up on Saturday was pretty tough feat. A mild hangover, raindrops falling from above, and a decent wind chill made for a pretty rough morning. Today is where the mud really made an impact – walking just about anywhere called for rain boots or trash bags over your shoes. We head to the Montagoe for some grub, and grab a $14 breakfast sandwich consisting of a poorly cooked egg, and 2 microscopic slices of burnt bacon. “Whatever”, I think to myself. Food is food, and I’m pretty damn hungry. I look around and see plenty of people socializing, all appearing to be enjoying themselves. It lifts our group’s spirits up and we end up chatting at a table for a little over an hour. The rest of the early afternoon definitely called for a nap; and so it was.
We wake up a few hours later and begin to rally for day 2. The only acts I felt I could really muster up the energy to see were Seven Lions and Thomas Gold, however we ended up getting in to the festival earlier than anticipated, so I got the chance to check out some different stages and enjoy the music. Borgore played a surprisingly fun set, I’ve never been one to listen to him much, but I’ll be damned if the energy wasn’t there. He definitely got the Saturday party started. I ended up finding a more than comfortable spot to plant our butts on the hill of the main stage, so we ended up relaxing, catching both YVES V and Bingo Players tear it up on the main stage before heading way down yonder to see Seven Lions on the Mythical Frames stage.
Now, I don’t want to take too much time on this, but you all need to know just how abso-freakin-lutely mind blowing Seven Lion’s set was. Call me a fanboy or what have you, but after seeing him multiple times in different club settings, his TW set was on a higher plane entirely. Stone cold sober, I’ve never been so lifted by music before. As tired as my girlfriend and I was, we pushed to the front center of the stage and had the time of our lives. Feels were had, headbanging was involuntary, and fists were beating up the sky above us in a melodic rage.
After his set ended, being the old soul that I am, I needed sleep. The night was still young, but I just could not continue to muster up the energy to push forward and see anyone else. We head back to our tent and call it an early night – though my friends tell me both Afrojack and Bassnectar played a fantastic set.
ALRIGHT, IT’S GAME TIME! The final leg of the festival – and I’m rested and ready to tackle the day. The rain is still falling, but it’s tolerable. We begin to prep ourselves for an early day at the festival – definitely going to get our money’s worth today. Our friend staying in regular easy tents group chatted us and told us to check out the TW facebook page. This is when we find out they’ve unfortunately shut out the gates to every non-dreamviller. While I’m sympathetic for everyone who was not able to attend, as well as those who were left stranded on the roads, the idea of a more intimate TomorrowWorld experience was kind of enticing, to be honest.
As we’re getting ready, the rain stops and the sun shine’s through for a quick minute. The entire easy tent area explodes in a loud cheer of excitement and warmth. Looks like this is going to be a pretty good day after all! Clouds shortly thereafter take over, but rain is nowhere in sight. We start our trek to the festival grounds and set to make the most of our last day here.
Upon entering, we’re warned that multiple stages have been shut down in lieu of the festival’s misfortune. This confined the grounds to a much smaller space, shutting down the bridge that led to the Mythical Frames, Trap, and Tent stages. We start today’s festivities at the boat stage, where Oliver Nelson is shutting it down with some spectacular grooves. After about 30 minutes of that, we migrate back to the main stage to catch Tritonal. Having just seen Tritonal a couple weekends ago for their untouchable tour, I was mostly interested to see how they changed up their set for the big stage. Thankfully for us, they tore it up, and sent us to progressive heaven.
We progress through the day, catching the likes of The Chainsmokers, Party Favor, Laidback Luke, and Giraffage. All doing a spectacular job with their sets, respectively. Everyone appeared to be having a great time. The weather was cloudy and cool, perfect for big crowds, and the overall atmosphere of the festival was definitely on the up.
It’s safe to say that our entire group was most looking forward to Porter Robinson‘s closing set at the LIVE stage. Honestly, I could hardly contain my excitement. I’ve had the privilege of seeing his WORLDS production, however the majority of our group had not. I could not stop talking about how excited I was for them to experience that, and their excitement levels were peak as well. We get into the LIVE tent early, push our way up front and prepare our mind-holes to be blown. Porter opens up with Sad Machine, life is perfect, everyone begins to sing along…that is until the entire stage shuts down. The malfunction happens at 2:58 of this video:
Devastated, Porter comes back out a few minutes later to apologize profusely about the equipment disaster. He lets us know that it’s really hard to get his instruments and hardware set up for a WORLDS show in the little time that he had. He does, however, also tell us that he brought his DJ laptop, and he’s going to do his best to get that up and running ASAP so that he can still close out the show. While we couldn’t help but feel mildly disappointed, we were happy that he was committed to continuing the show. He comes back out within a few minutes and says “I’m so sorry for all of this, I’m going to start with a song that is really really special to me.” The stage lights up to an absolutely euphoric, edited version of Language that got the crowd right back to it’s peak. Overall, he performs a magical set with the little time he had left, and we’re left buzzing with energy and excitement for the final act of our journey.
In closing, while the weather made for less than desirable conditions, it’s almost as if because of that, we ended up bonding with the TomorrowWorld crowd even more. We all chalked up the weekend as a success, and will very likely be back again next year – this time way more prepared for whatever forecast takes place.
Photo Cred: Alyssa Peters