As I sit here on this Thursday night and write this, some of us (a lot of us) would have been in Chattahoochie Hills, Georgia for none other than Tomorrowworld USA. Right now we would be heading into the massive rainbow gates, setting up shop in Dreamville, or already pre-gaming for a wonderful, campers-only first night at The Gathering. The now well-known sister festival to Tomorrowland was first brought stateside in 2013, and as of 2016 is no more.
For some of us it was home. Known for it’s incredible lay of the land, amazing vibes we personally encountered and shared. Over-the-top production that you couldn’t help but be awestruck and mesmerized by. Amazing lineups, first-time-but-long-time friends, high-fiving every person you came across on the bridge, and so much more. Sadly, Tomorrowworld was also known to some of us as a beautiful disaster. People flooded out and soaking wet, cold and unable to dry off. Some of us filthy and covered in mud due to poor planning and reaction time by the curators. Some stranded miles from the festival altogether, waiting on a shuttle that should have showed up hours ago, being rained on and again freezing in the middle of nowhere. Myself included. I slept in a half wet onesie all 4 nights because everything else was soaked and I couldn’t get warm. But I took the good with the bad. Tomorrowworld was, and still is a lot of things, to a lot of people.
I happen to be one of those people who still love and cherish TW for what it was and the memories and happiness it brought me. I was fortunate enough to have made it all three years. Year one, I was also lucky enough to win two free passes. I brought my best friend and before I knew it we were hooked. It was my first festival. I had no idea what to expect, or how to act. At this time, I’d been around the scene for about 3-4 years, and had never been to much outside of a few shows. At this time in my life, I had prided myself on being a bit of an A-hole. And I knew walking into something at this scale, that had to change. I knew about PLUR, what it meant, and the basis of it. I also knew I looked like, and honestly was at the time, a “Bro.” So going into TW, something compelled me to break the stereotype of what I was and what I looked like, and I set out to try and blow people away with kindness and happiness. I surprised so many, who were in shock that I wasn’t this exact stereotype I fit so well. It became addicting. Because of TW, I had completely adopted that lifestyle and brought it into my everyday life. I have ever since. Tomorroworld, and winning free passes to this thing I never thought I could afford, changed me for the better, forever.
I went every year since. I added every single Facebook fan page or group that had those words in it. I would find myself posting on the also infamous Tomorrowworld USA page every other day and commenting on posts every 10 minutes. It was something incredibly special to me, it took me into this other world. Just like any other person’s first festival. Keeping my luck going, I was approached by RaverRafting.com, asking me if I’d like to write for them. I was blown away. I’d always been interested and thought I was decent at writing, so of course, I said yes. (it was something more like “OH BOY, WOULD I! F YEAH!) After 3 years of waiting and planning for Tomorrowworld, and posting on the page like no one’s business, I had arrived at something that would immerse me even deeper into this scene that I had fallen so deeply in love with.
I don’t get paid for what I do, nor do I care that I don’t. Yet, I write and write and write, and when a festival comes along that I’d like to cover, I can get approved and I go. I attend and take notes and bring it all in, on top of meeting incredible new people, and meet up with festy friends I’ve made along the way. It’s an incredible experience that I have been extremely fortunate enough to be a part of. I’ve met some of my favorite artists and attended festivals that I never thought would ever be obtainable.
The only negative to the Tomorrowworld saga I can think of is Robert Sillerman, the wolf who came in and bankrupt the company. Bashing him however, will prove nothing. It won’t have us trekking back to Georgia right now, and it won’t set me at my favorite stage, Mythical Frames. It won’t have me partying in Dreamville after the festival is over every night. It won’t have me back to a 200-something person onesie-meetup in the market. It won’t have me closing out my night with Tiesto, or Bassnectar, or Yellow Claw, or Aly & Fila (whichever you’re into). He burnt this festival that half of us hold dearly, and the other half now thoroughly loathe, to the ground. I don’t want my money back for previous years, and I don’t feel like he owes me anything, except one thing. He owes me my home festival back. I know some of you haven’t had the experience I’ve had, and may not feel anywhere near what I do, and for that, I am sorry. I wish you could feel what TW made my friends and I feel.
Now I know some of this may sound like a humble brag, but it is so far from that. At the end of the day, it’s me giving thanks. This all stems from Tomorrowworld, and winning tickets in the first place. It’s me giving thanks to an incredible scene that took in an “a-hole bro,” embracing PLUR and kindness and love from the start, and it took me a long way. It’s me giving thanks to every single one of you I have met and made friends with that I still talk to today, or traded kandi with, or gave water to, or just showed me love and taught me about the amazing music and this ever growing scene.