It was an action packed weekend for festival goers on both coasts as September came to a close. Insomniac invaded the Bay Area with Beyond Wonderland, while I, alongside 160,000 (ish) people from all over the nation occupied the Chattahoochee Hills in Atlanta, Georgia, for my first ever TomorrowWorld, hosted by SFX Entertainment.
The Music of Tomorrow
With the EDM scene consistently evolving to stay current with the growing trends, TomorrowWorld reassured trance fans that there is still a place for euphoric melodies. Ferry Corsten hosted his Full On Ferry with a stacked lineup of trance DJs from a young Andrew Rayel to trance legends such as Cosmic Gate and M.I.K.E. Push.
M.I.K.E. Push took the decks after an energetic performance by Jacob Van Hage that got all the early, trance-hungry fans jumping. He came out swinging with a series of drums and horns, accompanied by his deep, thumping beats and powerful melodies that were carefully blended together with smooth transitions. M.I.K.E. Push was able to shift the progressive house thirst of the crowd to a trance quencher. Even with Markus Schulz on the other side of the coast, TomorrowWorld got a taste of Coldharbour as M.I.K.E. Push dropped some of his latest tracks including “Juno”, on which he collaborated with Rank 1. Strangers became friends as the familiar synths of Fisherman & Hawkins “Apache” roared throughout the tent, which shook from the jumping fans.
When the sun finally settled and the People of Tomorrow journeyed deep into the night, Ferry Corsten took the stage. Coming off the rebirth of his Gouryella project, Corsten was on “Fire”. He took the wheels of steel and gave fans a deep set that blended the genres of trance. He engulfed fans with hits like “Beautiful” and “Anahera”. Aside from his own productions, fans danced to his remix of “Gamma Gamma” and Prydz’s “Generate”. Corsten flawlessly pieced together each song with a pulsing beat and heavy basslines. He transported us to another world with lyrical visuals and a minimal use of various fluorescent lights the illuminated the darkness. He was unbelievably mind-blowing.
TomorrowWorld did a great job providing a wide array of music. Q-Dance even held their own stage, Friday, with the hardstyle sounds of Darksiderz and Noisecontrollers. Then, there were DJs like Seven Lions who broke through the genre boundaries. The California native rocked fans as he played his style of dubstep that was enhanced with a little bit of hardcore and psy-trance, some Above and Beyond and a little bit of everything else! Not even the rain that was slowly drizzling down on the hot and steamy ravers could stop attendees from raging to the electrifying set.
The Production of Tomorrow
TomorrowWorld did an amazing job with their productions. Each stage had a sense of individuality. The Mythical Frames stage was a sight to see as enormous mirrors surrounded the domain. At night, lasers would reflect off the smooth glass to illuminate the forest of Chattahoochee Hills. The mainstage also captured hearts with its magical wanderlust. This was where the storybook opened and closed, where all the best fireworks rocketed to light up the rainy skies and where new friendships were forged.
The entire festival was quite spacious (8,000 acres). Even when a stage was filled to the brim with dirty, smelly festival goers (myself included), there was still room to dance and easily move around. There were a good amount of bathrooms in the venue. One did not have to travel too far to do the deed; having a water refill station at the bathrooms was a great idea!
TomorrowWorld had a good amount of attractions. Bacardi and Bud Light were some of the few corporate influences present. The venue even had a post office where homesick attendees could send post-cards to friends and family. SFX also presented a piece of Belgium with a Belgian Beer Cafe. My friends who were lucky enough to spend the extra cash for VIP were able to experience the festival from raised lofts away from the sweaty pit, and were catered to by Top Chef finalist, Kevin Gillespie.
The Darkside of Tomorrow
TomorrowWorld wasn’t without its faults. One of the big criticisms of TW was their lack of preparation for the rain that drenched not only the attendees, but the grounds of the Georgia hills. The new muddy roads and trails made it difficult for fans to walk from one side of the venue to another, not to mention the safety hazard of drunk attendees slipping.
Oh yeah, and a whole section of camping got flooded!
SFX made a few attempts to spread hay, wood and plastic walkways onto high traffic areas, but the fix was only temporary. TomorrowWorld also received some heat for the lack of transportation for attendees Saturday night, leaving people who weren’t camping to walk miles to their hotels. Some attendees gave up and slept on cars and on the side of the roads. Due to safety concerns, SFX was forced to cancel the third day for non-campers and closed three stages due to flooding. Despite offering refunds, fans were not impressed with SFX actions and expressed their frustration on social media.
Then there was the pearl system. It’s quite easy to spend all of your cash when everything is converted to a different currency.
The Experience of Tomorrow
All in all, TomorrowWorld was an amazing experience. This was my first camping festival and I enjoyed the sense of community. However, camping can be a whole post on its own. The vibe was amazing and people were friendly (except for some jerks on Saturday night who were just miserable), and strangers tried their best to befriend one-another. I know that some may have had a bad time, and I did have my fair share of those, but don’t let the few negatives overshadow the positives! TomorrowWorld made people feel a sense home in a magical Narnia as the People of Tomorrow invaded the hearts of former strangers. It was a great experience. Despite the rain and mud, I wouldn’t change anything about my first journey into the land of Tomorrow.
TomorrowWorld mainstage photo by @Philippe Wuyts Photography