Wednesday, October 2, 2013

TomorrowWorld Festival - Sept 27th-29th, 2013 - Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia (Review)

TomorrowWorld's Official Facebook Banner Picture
A Review By: Kenny Emmer

For the past 10 years Dutch entertainment medium, ID&T, have molded the music festival into a fantasy world where adults can be children again for 3 days…with lots of alcohol and many other party favors – they call it Tomorrowland. This being my first major music festival ever attended I can safely say it was phucking phenomenal and exceeded my every expectation. And I had plenty of high expectations for it. For years the official YouTube Tomorrowland channel threw every bit of festival footage in my face that I found very hard to ignore. Well when I found out SFX Entertainment was partnering up with ID&T to bring the madness to the US for the very first time, I jumped on that. For 6 months I caved myself at home and saved every cent I could in preparation for the very first TomorrowWorld at Chattahoochee Hills, GA. No joke; I purposely avoided having a social life so to not tempt myself into spending any money like I usually do on other shows, birthdays, parties, barhopping, etc. On my minimum wage budget it was necessary. Between the ticket, shuttle pass, food/drink, and airfare, (our hotel was free thanks to a friend’s dad’s hookup with Hilton points) the trip in total came out to nearly 900$. But when I walked onto the festival grounds and slowly approached the 400 foot wide, “Book of Wisdom” themed main stage, I felt a sense of accomplishment and an excitement I haven’t felt since childhood. All financial issues, or as a matter of fact, all issues in general faded away during those 3 magical days.

 The lineup was stacked, with massive names gracing the main stage including Sebastian Ingrosso, Tiesto, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Nervo, Alesso, Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Afroki, Nicky Romero, Hardwell, David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, and more. Each artist was introduced through the giant Book of Wisdom facing the crowd by an epic narrator with one of those movie trailer voices you can’t get enough of. The stage first made its appearance at the 2012 Tomorrowland in Belgium, and was brought back for chapter 2 in Georgia. And it came with a heavy hitting sound system, amazing pyrotechnics, confetti cannons, beautiful fountains, trippy visuals, and of course an epic fireworks show at the end.When we weren’t raging at the main stage we found ourselves heading across the lake to spend plenty of time at the 3 other stages. Day by day, the stages would be appropriately named for the artists lined up at each stage.

On Friday a spiritual, Buddhist themed stage provided an amazing lineup of instrumental hip-hop producers welcoming fans to their “It’s a Trap!” stage. On Saturday the same stage becomes a zone for hard hitting electro house producers such as Shreddie Mercury and Mord Fustang. Just a bit further up from this stage you would find yourself at a stage known as the Fools Gold Clubhouse one day, and the Mad Decent Stage the next. It sat along the shore of a lake, with plenty of projection screens, smoke machines, and fountains to energize the crowd. I’d have to say that this stage, aside from the main one, was my favorite. AraabMuzik’s set gained a ton of attention, and I knew it was a Fool’s Gold Party when I approached the stage during RL Grime hearing a thunder of 808’s and a vocal chant “Welcome to our House Party.” And A-Trak closed the night brilliantly.You can’t help but feel a little exclusivity at a stage referred to as a clubhouse that’s so avid about their label. It was such a relief to know I didn’t just need to be at the main stage to have a hell of a time. And just a short walk from there was the Dim Mak/All Your Bass Are Belong To Us/Owsla tent. Here Steve Aoki had his usual party with plenty of cake-throwing, champagne showers, and crowd surfing. Sound Remedy had quite the surprise turnout opening up the Bass Tent the second day. And the same night Rusko absolutely melted the floor with his hilarious commentary, killer DnB, and throwbacks & new tracks alike. Although we didn’t catch much Owsla action the third day, I’m sure artists like Kill Paris, KOAN Sound, Jack Beats, Seven Lions, and more rocked the tent.

Other stages that we personally didn’t catch much of were the Trance Addict stage, Super You&Me, Q Dance (Hard Style), and Kitsune. (Keep in mind some of these stages changed their names each day) If there was one stage I regret not going to very much at all it would be the Super You and Me/All Gone Pete Tong stage. This tent was probably the next largest stage from the main stage. The theme was much like a mushroom forest with a giant projection screen in the background of the trees and the mushrooms. The first night all artists dressed as super heroes, and included performers such as Carnage, Laidback Luke, Benny Benassi and a special mystery performance by Superman, Spiderman, and Batman. (It turned out to be Steve Aoki, Dimitri Vegas, and Laidback Luke)

The experience was nothing short of amazing. The people were beautiful and overjoyed. Everyone was constantly smiling, laughing, and having the time of their lives. It’s such an escape from reality when you can turn to any one person and suddenly be best friends. Well in TomorrowWorld it’s very real. Even the staff seemed to be having an amazing time; you’d catch them dancing pretty often both from behind the booths and along the guard rails. They were also very caring about people and their safety. An organization known as Dance Safe could be found wandering the festival, offering conversation, ear plugs, and water to anyone and everyone. They sure saved my ears during the intense bass at Rusko.
And the flags…sooo many flags, me holding one of them. Representing for my home state was an amazing feeling. It was a beacon for other fellow Coloradans. I’d often find people who just wanted to educate themselves on where certain flags come from. And not only flags, but signs, pictures, and posters attached to poles; pictures of famous TV show characters, naughty inflatable items, signs that read “This is a good sign,” “Where’s Skrillex,” (specifically at the Owsla stage) “Turn up the *bass fish*,” “Hi Mom,” “I’m so so happy,” and “I want to be in the after movie!”. The best part of it all was the unity among so many countries. TomorrowWorld and TomorrowLand are definitely global festivals. I had lost count at how many people I saw from different countries around the world. The phrase “Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect” (PLUR) really takes a hold of you here when you see it existing in all different languages and colors.
The only thing that could bring people down was the heat during the day. It was 80+ degrees up until the evening hours. I can’t express the frustration that occurred when realizing we forgot sunscreen. And when it came to the music specifically, my only criticism would be that too many artists played too much of the same, especially at the main stage. I burst out laughing when reading a post on the tomorrowworld group page - “Can somebody please play Animals 4000 more times?” It seemed that every big name on the main stage shared each other’s huge hits, and rarely played different remixes or variations at all. That was the best part about leaving the main stage from time to time. I knew if I went to Fools Gold or All Your Bass I wouldn’t have to hear Wake Me Up, In My Mind, or Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat for the 50th time.

My only other complaint would be how expensive food, drink, and merch is there. You buy Tomorrowworld tokens; 9 tokens for 20$, 18 tokens for 40$, and I didn’t even bother going up from there. But when you’d be spending 5 tokens on your meal, and 5 tokens for a beer, or 8 tokens for a wells drink, it’s hard for a lot of people to realize that you’re basically spending 20 bucks for a beer and a sandwich, and 18 bucks for a slightly –larger-than-a dixie cup of coke and vodka. Yeah they rip your wallet a new one. But if you’re smart, brought plenty of spending $, and don’t splurge too much in short increments, then you can look past the ridiculousness in the pricing and still feel that every penny was worth this experience.

Heed my words. Tomorrowworld is going to become one of the most sought after festivals in America. The experience, the people, and the music was above par and exceeded all of my expectations. And it can only get better. I know I’ll be there next year. And I hope I’ll see you too. As the Tomorrowland motto goes; Yesterday is History, Today is a gift, and Tomorrow is a Mystery. All photos obtained via TomorrowWorld's official Facebook photo stream


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