What You’re Forgetting About TomorrowWorld

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Yes yes yes,TomorrowWorld was a mud fest this year. People were stranded for miles without service, people slept in the streets after waiting hours for shuttles that never came, people were not allowed in for their Sunday day passes — even media people were not allowed back. We’ve all heard the horror stories and the negative hashtags. But, the festival still went on. Music continued the entire weekend and even after 3 stages were closed,  5 stages raged on into the final hours of the weekend. It’s in our nature to focus on the negative parts of an event or experience. People are more likely to talk about a poor experience over a great one. It also takes a lot of great experiences to make up for a poor one. So with that in mind, let’s take a moment to remember what didn’t go wrong at this year’s TomorrowWorld. Maybe we can remember for a moment why we spent the time and money to even attend in the first place.

The TomorrowWorld Lineup

What brings people to most festivals is the music. TomorrowWorld has continued to bring the biggest DJs from across the world all to one place so that you can dance your fanny off. This year’s lineup brought everything you could imagine from the electronic dance world. Rotating stages allowed for each day to focus on a different genre. Trance, dubstep, house, future house, EDM, hardstyle, tropical, disco, the list goes on, there was something for everyone at this year’s festival. Headliners included Armin van Buuren, Pete Tong,  Paul Van Dyk, Jack Ü, Tiesto, Kaskade, Snails, Thomas Jack, Klingande, Big Gigantic, Bassnectar, Rudimental, and let’s not forget that Shaquille O’Neal played a set! Each DJ/Producer got up there and gave it their all. These guys and girls work their asses off for the love of the music, so let’s give them some props for making it out there for everyone’s entertainment. It’s easy to forget all the music you actually see at a festival until you look back at the schedule and see the multitude of artists that you stopped at, even if only for a moment. Adding up all those names really makes a difference when you think about how much time and money it would have been to see each of those artists individually, it truly puts things into perspective and allows you to appreciate the fact that these things even exist. That someone thought to put all these great artists in one place for a weekend dedicated to music that is designed to make you euphoric, it’s pretty sweet.

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The Stages/Production

Its undeniable that TomorrowWorld is one of the coolest-looking festivals you’ve ever attended. Let’s be honest, how often do you see a stage that’s 100 feet tall and 400 feet wide? Probably not that often. That’s the expanse of just the main stage, which had a fountain and several moving gears, not to mention a beautiful face that stares at you all day looking super content about life. There were 8 stages at this year’s TomorrowWorld. 9 if you include the one plopped in the middle of Dreamville, the Gathering stage, used for the opening party Thursday night in the campground. Each stage – except for the main one – rotated between themes, genres, and music labels. While navigating and planning were a little confusing (once you got the hang of the stages for a day you’d have to completely reassess for the next) it all made sense when you were simply following the music. Each stage had it’s own feel and theme to it.

The main stage screamed the word EPIC from a mile away, the fireworks shooting from the top of it could be seen from the opposite side of the grounds. Seeing them at a distance made you wonder “What ridiculous beat just dropped over there?!”

The stage which held the Q-Dance name day 1 (#6 when looking at the festival map) had a platform with several moat-like pools. Don’t worry, the water wasn’t deep, but it was a pretty cool touch and helped to break up the crowd a bit for ultimate dancing room.

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Stage #8 was the smallest at the festival, tucked back close to the woods it held the Theater feel and some of the hardest working DJs.

The giant purple tent (#5) was one of the larger yet more intimate stages. Undeniably epic, its height was unmatched. But underneath the tent, the stage held the friendliest people. Maybe because it was more enclosed, maybe because it held the most trance music, something about being under the tent made you feel welcome. The shelter from the rain was also pretty nice.

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The Boat stage (#4) was this year’s latest stage upgrade. It jutted out from the festival into the river, making it appear as if it’s about to embark on an awesome adventure. Even though this ship never sailed, the music that came from it was just as magical as the colors that surrounded it. The boat looked like something out of Munchkinland, vibrant and whimsical. One downside was that this stage was more enclosed, so only a certain amount of people could fit, but that didn’t stop people from lining the river just to hear the music.

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Stage #3 was the rage stage. If you wanted to Trap out and get a little grimy, this was the stage to head to. Just on the other side of the river, a small yet beautiful walk across the water, the music from this stage helped you re-enter after hearing the soothing sounds of the fountains. This is where Shaq threw down, and he was not afraid to be himself. Unfortunately, this stage was one that closed down on day 3, but its artists spread out among the remaining 5 stages on Sunday.

Mythical Frames (#1) has been a staple of the TomorrowWorld festival since it began, and Bassnectar has held it down for the past two years. It’s unique take on LED screens, the frames are artistic and simply really cool looking both during the day and after the sun goes down. Turning into a mud slide by day 2, this was also a stage that closed down on day 3.

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The farthest stage from Dreamville, and at times the middle sibling that gets forgotten, stage #2 was a destination for those who love trance and that kind of music that makes you happy. Another tented stage the feel was the same as its larger counterpart, nothing but love. But the love couldn’t keep it alive as it was the final stage to shut down day 3, but all was not lost as main headliners simply moved closer to their fans.

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The Culture

TomorrowWorld is truly a world event. English is the lesser spoken language at TomorrowWorld. People from all across the world, not just the country, travel to this festival. The Atlanta International Airport held TomorrowWorld advertisements and welcome banners for those who flew in from all parts of the world. A welcome banner inside the festival had more languages than this writer even knew existed for the purpose of making everyone feel at home. It seemed everywhere you turned, there was another group from a different country. Flags from all over waved tirelessly at each stage, showing true pride for home. Although the Chicago flag waved in higher numbers than any other (they represent harder than most), people from Brazil, France, England, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, Holland, again the list goes on brought a little bit of home with them to TomorrowWorld. Each group, each country, brought something unique to the table. We never really think about our cultural differences until we’re faced with them. At TomorrowWorld, even though everyone was unique, we were all there for the same reason. We all have a desire to let go of “real life” and escape to a place where language barriers don’t matter. The music is so loud, words aren’t even heard and we’re all forced to speak in other ways. In the end we all end up speaking the same language of love and bass, plus the occasional “do you have a cigarette?” motion.

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Through the mud and all the frustration, the music and the vibe inside Dreamville and TomorrowWorld can’t be forgotten. People were willing to help each other trudge through the woods and while inside the festival, the gripes from outside seemed to fall away. While organizers may have been unprepared for the weather, they were prepared to entertain and help everyone have a memorable time. Take a step back and try to remember what went right at TomorrowWorld, because that’s what makes the whole trip worth it in the first place.

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Guest Photographer: Frank Giambrone

Posted by Sensible Reason on Friday, October 9, 2015

Ashley Cizek

Went to school at UW-Madison, graduating with a BA in psychology. I hula-hoop, I write, I enjoy sunlight.

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