Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Full Recap of TomorrowWorld 2013 [PHOTOS]

My final moment on the Chattahoochee Hills grounds in Atlanta, Georgia perfectly sums up my four-day TomorrowWorld festival experience: It was early the morning after, the sun not yet out in full view and the grass and car windshields still moist with dew drops. Our bus driver starts driving the coach to the airport nestled with quiet, half-asleep, worn out festival goers, first backing out of the dirt parking lot. Sitting in the front seat next to Sean, I could still see the festival grounds--the large inflatable rainbow entrance, the cotton candy colored carnival tent and staggered white cone shapes sitting peacefully on the lush rolling hills against a purple-tinted sky. My eyes took one last mental picture of the majestic view when my ears heard the soft sounds:

If I should stay, 
I would only be in your way. 
So I'll go, but I know 
I'll think of you every step of the way. 

And I will always love you. 
I will always love you... 

Wait, is that Whitney Houston I'm hearing? It is Whitney Houston. The entire bus breaks out chuckling over how fitting the lyrics are as we say one last good bye to one of the most unique experiences we'll encounter in our lives. Plus, after four days of womp womp, utz utz and electronic sounds, the soothing R&B tune of the late and great Whitney Houston was a stark contrast but a welcomed treat to our ears. And, this moment on the bus was the cherry on top of the most magnificent festival 140,000 revelers and I shared. Each and every detail, song, laser, smile, sun ray felt purposefully perfect and I thank the planners of TomorrowWorld for pulling out all the stops to deliver on the first TomorrowWorld festival.
TomorrowWorld has restored some hope in me that the American electronic dance music scene is not doomed. Reflecting back on my Electric Zoo post, I realize I was being a bit dramatic and was generalizing an entire scene on just the tristate area crowd. TomorrowWorld, thankfully, did not report any deaths or major concerns. And in all honesty, none of the annoying nastiness I felt at EZOO was at TomorrowWorld but the fratty-ness still remained. I mean it's Americuh.

Sean and I arriving at DreamVille on our first day
Our easy tent camp grounds, we lived in Madrid!
TomorrowWorld ca$h money (each token was about $2, cheapest beer cost 3 tokens)
As for music, I wasn't dissatisfied by the variety but was a bit disappointed in how many DJs played the same six songs: Animals, Booyah, Boneless, If I Lose Myself, Reload, Tsunami. No joke, I could check off this list for every set but I still went nuts every time. I guess the joke is on me. My favorite sets were Tiësto (redeemed himself from EZOO), Dillon Francis, Gregori Klosman, Kill Paris, Fehrplay and The Chainsmokers. My least favorite or most "meh" set was Hardwell.

Main Stage
 Trap Stage or what I called the Buddha Stage
Kitsuné stage
 The Gathering, Fool's Gold and Mad Decent Stage
 OWSLA Stage

Smash the House vs. Dirty Dutch Stage
Sean and I ate most of our meals on the festival grounds and at the DreamVille marketplace since we weren't able to pack a ton of food in our luggage. My favorite was the fried chicken and ribs dinner plates which came with slaw and baked beans or a biscuit. Breakfast was usually at the Australian bakery for meat pies, breakfast pies or Ned Kelly pie (seen in pic).
One of my favorite parts of the festival was the Breckenridge Brewery Craft Beer stand that sold four types of craft beer, one which was a Belgian brew specific for TomorrowWorld.
The International crowd made for a fun atmosphere. I met people from Germany, Japan and Mexico and less foreign places like Chicago, North Carolina, Alaska and Ohio. One thing I noticed and confirmed is that electronic music festivals in America skew heavily male. Based on the bathroom lines, I want to say it was 70/30 male to female ratio, which I also felt was the case at EZOO. I'm not complaining, but where my ladies at?!
My absolutely favorite part and the part I will miss the most is the scenery. Chattahoochee Hills is breathtakingly gorgeous from dusk till dawn. The lakes, trees, hills and sky enhanced the fantasy feel of the otherwise cheesy Disneyland-esque sets.
And last but not least, it's not an electronic music festival with out ELECTRICITY AND LASERS! So many lasers and fireworks. 

Sean and I bought our tickets back in April when they first went on sale because we always wanted to go to TomorrowLand in Belgium but it was just too expensive. After we bought our tickets, I had this terrible feeling and low expectations that TomorrowWorld wasn't going to live up to the hype. Now that it's over, I can say that it did, and I think it did it in a way that was uniquely American in the best sense possible. While you can't ignore the bro-iness of the American "EDM" scene, I think foreigners quite enjoyed playing flip cup and everyone was free of judgement to enjoy the festival however they liked--raging up front or chilling back on the hill. 

In the words of whatever mythical TomorrowWorld wise man: "Yesterday is history. Today is a gift. Tomorrow is mystery." Oooooo, I love mystery. Can't wait to see what next year has in store.

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