I'll admit, TomorrowWorld experienced an unexpected amount of rain this year, but that doesn't diminish the organizers' responsibility to keep festivalgoers safe. We're hearing all sorts of horror stories, and as more information surfaces, the levels of panic and confusion that happened during Saturday night are becoming more clear.
This video from Jorge Navarro allegedly taken at the shuttle pick-up point shows someone who appears to be staff telling people to walk further up the road. "It's a mile and a half, and I'm walking with you," he says. "There are Ubers there, and there are taxis there. Keep your receipt, whether it's a taxi or an Uber, keep your receipt and e-mail us, and we will pay it."
LessThan3 mapped out the walk that these attendees were subjected to, and it's ridiculous:
Bearing in mind that most of that walk is unlit and thick with trees, it's no wonder so many people got lost. Brian Anthony Hernandez of Mashable spoke to Valeria, who Tweeted the most iconic photograph from the situation yesterday (reposted below). "It was unfair for them to tell us to 'keep walking, there are shuttles a few miles down the road' when they already knew all of them had been canceled,'" she said.
All the while, the festival was not updating the situation, only adding to the chaos. Sure, most people didn't have cell service, but no one at TomorrowWorld even attempted to post on social media channels to inform people what to do? If even one person saw a post, it would have helped disseminate information. The only Tweet sent out by the festival on Sunday morning:
After making such a harsh trek home, it's a pretty callous message to send: not an apology for the unorganized mess, but rather sorry, you can't come today. Thousands of paying festivalgoers had the pleasure of watching a tightly-edited stream of the festival continuing while taking care of themselves at home or in hotel rooms. From the presentation of the live-stream yesterday, you could never have guessed how chaotic the night before had been. To me, the way that TomorrowWorld completely ignored its issues with how it portrayed itself shows a lack of compassion for its fan base and audience. It was a tone-deaf response: why the hell did it take until midday Sunday for TomorrowWorld to own up and apologize?
They failed to live up to festival standards by neglecting to get everyone home Saturday, both to shuttles and on-site parking, and as a result, TomorrowWorld has opened up a Saturday shuttle and parking refund in addition to their Sunday refunds. We'll have to wait and see what they end up doing before we can judge how accountable they will be.