In order for EDM news to reach the more mainstream publications, someone has to break their neck off a 50-foot statue or get trampled to death. This time, it took extreme unpreparedness on behalf of the TomorrowWorld crew, and some 100,000 disappointed would-be festival-goers with twitter accounts. For scale, the New York Times caught the tsunami-sized wave of social media backlash and ran with it, and while the adage “any publicity is good publicity” holds true, we don’t expect to see TomorrowWorld retweeting anything for a while.
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Condolences go out to those stranded and rejected Sunday. Beyond the nasty weather, abandonment, and lack of accountability, the festival itself was a truly unique and beautiful experience. Thankfully, we were among the lucky to receive the full experience with no strings attached and got to enjoy a low-key and rain-free Sunday.
Happy Images From TomorrowWorld 2015
Let’s get to it, what was the good, bad, and the ugly?
The Good: Everything you’d expect from TomorrowWorld beforehand: stages, ground layout, access to information, sound, lighting, organization, and dedication to a perfect viewing experience. Chattahoochee hills proved again that it has the capacity (barely) to hold the crowd, and whose layout is intuitive even to the most far-gone festie. There was also a distinct lack of schedule conflicts. Organizing a roster of 200+ artists in an 8,000-acre lot (and having to RE-organize them Sunday) must have been insanely difficult. The lights were spectacular, fireworks were unique and perfectly coordinated, and the stage designs themselves were flawless. The sound was undoubtedly above the 110 dB legal limit, but what's wrong with a little tinnitus, right?
The Bad: Mud. Getting from A to B meant at least a half-mile walk through sometimes 4 or 5 inches of mud. While it meant whatever shoes you brought were now muddy door-stops, it’s amazing how little the mud got people down. Rain. It rained each day, lessening from start to finish, which meant those unprepared were dealing with some serious mildew. After the second day, enough hay was laid out to band-aid the eviscerated landscape, which did make it easier to get around. Accountability. The lack of even a “yeah we fucked up” is unconscionable. While dealing with an emergency situation at the biggest festival in America has to be its own corner of hell, a single post on social media could’ve made the difference for thousands.
The Ugly: Aside from the weather, there were only a few things that were “ugly” about TomorrowWorld: The “Wind” Stage, despite having two 8-foot wind turbines and 10 other fans, would sometimes be inert for entire sets at a time. The line-up was jam-packed with talent-less trust fund kids looking to ride the wave of apathy that is eroding the art of mixing. Nexuz was a prime example. We’ve all seen it before, the melodramatic twists, slides, and button pressing exhibited by the above (seriously what even is this), but these guys were even worse than that! Anyone with eyes and ears could tell no audible difference in the spastic failings we now accept as mega-festival-worthy performances.
Okay, breathe… let’s talk about who killed it. Keep in mind, we tried our best to hit every stage and see as many artists possible.
Borgore: Playing one of the biggest sets of his idling career, Borgore brought us back to when Dubstep was still filthy, experimental, and dynamic. He drew a surprisingly big crowd, even for the mainstage, and forced the crowd of 10,000+ to get filthy(er).
Reso: Arguably the most talented artist on the grounds, Reso played deeply intricate and nuanced tracks and held the (disappointingly small) crowd’s attention for the full hour. While he usually delves in and out of genres, he played on the D&B stage, so that’s what we got. Generally regarded as the grand master of his craft, this highly respected man gave no fucks about being accessible, and let his prowess as a DJ take over, which we wouldn’t see again for the entire festival.
Snails: Call it being out of the loop, but when Snails came on instead of Flux Pavilion due to scheduling conflicts, I found myself asking people who the trashy fat guy was on stage. Before the words left my mouth, I was surrounded by sound and found myself raging to vomit-step for the next hour. My body moved independent of my thoughts, his set was pure filth!
Gramatik: If you were there to see Gramatik, you were among the luckiest people at TomorrowWorld. The legendary soloist/composer held you by your ears and shook you from start to finish without missing a beat. The melodies, breakdowns, and mashups were other-worldly in their presentation. Anyone who’s been to a festival knows of the breakthrough you can experience when the music is just that fuckin’ good, Gramatik was no exception. Personally, it was the highlight of the entire event.
Reeps One: Where do we even start… Having never heard of this bloke before, seeing him scheduled for a five minute set between Gramatik and Bassnectar was an obvious omen. The prophecy was fulfilled when he came on stage and proceeded to spit the greatest dubstep beat boxing known to man. Nobody ever expected to get down and dirty to someone with a microphone, but it happened. Check the full performance below (seriously).
Alright, bottom line, the experience was unbelievable, and everything within the grounds was handled, I’m sure, to the best abilities of the staff and others involved. There is no excuse for the lack of accountability on their behalf, but the show must go on, even at the extreme detriment of their clientele. After some intense backlash and threats of litigation, TomorrowWorld’s nightmare has only just begun. Respect to the crew for putting on a hell of a show, and the best of luck to all involved in getting everything back to normal, that we might have an even better show next year!