It’s safe to say another music festival can now be added to the record books.
The long awaited TomorrowWorld took over Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia this past weekend. Its parent festival, Tomorrowland, is one of the biggest music festivals in the world, which made fans wonder if this event could even compete in the United States. Nevertheless, thousands of ravers from all over the globe lined up last Thursday morning to move into their new homes in the woodland hills of Dreamville — TomorrowWorld’s very own camping town.
I was obviously meant to go on this journey, because a week before the event the EDM Gods released their magic and the Universe presented me with two free tickets. Having heard all the hype, I embarked upon what I believed to be one of the biggest music events of our generation. But was TomorrowWorld really worth all the hype? Did it actually embody the magical essence of its parent festival? Having experienced it first hand, I can honestly say that TomorrowWorld really delivered.
Though the festival didn’t officially start until Friday at noon, the fans who were dedicated to getting the full TomorrowWorld experience set up camp on Thursday. Dreamville was comprised of a wooden road (which soon took on the name of “the boardwalk”) with grass on either side which soon became filled with our tents. It had disgusting bathrooms, few showers, some information stations, and a vending area which housed some tents for booze, food, camping supplies, mandatory rave attire, a phone charging station, and even a hair salon. It was our new home, filled with people from all over the globe.
Tents were decorated with flags from different countries, funny signs, strange blow up animals and light-up toys, and were packed inches apart, forcing people to get to know their many neighbors. Come night, you could never find your tent, but neither could anyone else. Our very own newspaper was even distributed each morning. It was filled with pictures from the day before, heartwarming stories, highlights of the day to come, and a music lineup of the DJ awaiting us.
It was a magical place where everyone bonded over their love for dance music, clean bathrooms, booze, and a good time. Night or day, the ravers would play. Your best bet for fun was to just take a walk down the boardwalk. You could wake up at any given time and find a strange dance crew assembled, meet intoxicated men on a blow up couch heckling you to catch their football, make new best friends with some guys who barely speak English and then hang out the with them the rest of the day, or see hundreds of the strangest costumes you’ve ever seen, but know they were some of the coolest people at the show.
We were all so incredibly different, yet not at all. To me, this was the most beautiful part of TomorrowWorld. For the first time in my life I got to meet and surround myself with tons of people who weren’t from America, didn’t speak English as their first language, and had very different cultural values and experiences than me. I thought maybe it would be more obvious that they were different from me, that I was teaching them some American words, that we were just “crazy Americans” to them, or that I would feel uncomfortable surrounded by people that were not from the states.
But none of these things even crossed my mind. Even with all these differences, we enjoyed the same DJ’s, danced just as hard, had the same sarcasm, laughed at the same strange people on the boardwalk, and did the same things for fun. I honestly felt like I had known these friends for years. The festival brought people with differences together and fostered a fun-loving environment that every single person enjoyed, together.
Though Dreamville as a whole improved the overall experience, there are always downsides to everything. If you’ve ever been camping, you’d know that sleeping outside on the dirty ground (and in some cases muddy) gets really old, really fast. Isolation in the woods meant no electricity, and no charged phones. Taking pictures, getting new phone numbers, and meeting up with friends was extremely limited. You either had to choose your usage wisely, or do like me, and get up early each morning to drive around and charge your phone in your car.
Airplane mode on, and location services off; that was the key.
The bathrooms were constantly filled with who knows what, the showers were…”meh,” and there was mud everywhere. The currency of TomorrowWorld was tokens, and the people agreed that the currency rate was entirely too high. Twenty bucks got you nine tokens, which could get you a beer and a mixed drink. Or two slices of pizza. Or a mixed drink and a shower. But some things were necessities, so we paid. Thank goodness we packed a cooler with sandwiches.
But the festival itself was everything I’d hoped it would be. I thought it was going to be magical, and it was. Strategically placed mushrooms filled the festival grounds, along with bubbles that seemed to always appear at just the right time. The lake in the middle of the festival housed electronic fish that spit fireballs and laser lights that appeared to change the color of the water spewing from the fountain in the middle. Huge green waves of light even showered over the grounds of Dreamville at all hours of the night.
There were multiple stages spread across the lands, each decorated differently and designated for certain typed of music each day. One stage had 3D screens that looked as if water was pouring out of it. One stage was covered by a huge tent that was connected to the VIP pool and bar area. A stage in the middle of the grounds was surrounded by pools of water, another stage was made of a huge metal scorpion, and the list goes on and on. They were all incredible, each decorated uniquely as their own. Many even had cannons that shot out streamers, fire, colored smoke, and fireworks.
DJ’s played all weekend from morning until night, so no one missed out. People were dancing all over the place; from the crowds, to the lines for food, to people dancing by themselves in the grass. One of the most unique (and what I think is one of the coolest) things about the crowds at each stage was that people were waving flags and poles tied to a variety of objects. You could find flags of countries from all over the world being waved, fraternity flags, poles that were connected to light-up dinosaurs, cut-out pictures of Mugatu from Zoolander, blow up animals, stuffed monkeys, people waving their best friend’s photo, basically anything you could imagine.
It was both fun and functional, because people used these markers as a way to find their way back to their friends. The variety of laughs was endless. The people had come to party, and the artists delivered. Some of the biggest DJ’s in the world killed the stage and had the people of TomorrowWorld completely entranced in the atmosphere. Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Calvin Harris, R3had, Sebastian Ingrosso, Porter Robinson, Hardwell, Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Alesso, Axwell, W&W, David Guetta, and Nickey Romero were just a few of the amazing performers that graced the main stage.
The main stage helped embody the magical, fairy-tale feel of the festival because the middle of the stage held a huge electronic story book. The story book announced the names of artists about to perform and told a story along with each of them. After Armin Van Buuren closed the show Sunday night, the book slowly closed, leaving us to long for the next time the magical book would open again.
It was our own little world. A small sample of people from around the globe, coming together to explore our love for electronic dance music together, and wishing to do so with new people. With zero fights and zero arrests taking place over the entire five days, we proved as a community that EDM music can really be a powerful source of peace, love, and unity. Being an active listener to electronic dance music and now having taken part in the inaugural TomorrowWorld, I can proudly say that this festival was everything it was hyped up to be, and some.