Though it’s debatable, ID&T did their best to cope with the adverse conditions, and I personally witnessed onsite construction at all hours, laying down extra ramps, hay, and various other mechanisms to control erosion in highly trafficked areas. And while the decision to close stages across the bridges was tough, I support it wholeheartedly.
ADA transport would have been incredibly limited through the soupy ground surrounding the House of Books and Mythical Frames stages, not to mention any emergency response teams would’ve encountered an absolute nightmare if they were needed. The same goes for the decision to shut down access to the festival on Sunday.
Tough decision, but a good call in the end. Sure, they could have let everyone into the festival, but I guarantee cars would have gotten stuck on the way in, on the way out, and attendees would’ve been in an even worse situation than Saturday night. After closing down half the venue, what would have happened if the festival’s entire attendance were stuffed into the remaining space? Go ahead and hate, it’s completely understandable, but the choice to close the grounds was necessary.
Now on to the not-so-good. It’s sad that it had to be TomorrowWorld, but this disaster was bound to happen at some point. This year’s edition has shown us everything wrong with America’s electronic music culture, on both the part of attendees and the festival organizers. Check out the video below to gander at the miles of garbage and camping equipment left behind. It’s okay if people aren’t happy about how the weekend played out, but “getting back at them” by leaving behind copious amounts of garbage and pristine equipment is not alright.
It’s a showcase of the high-consumption nature of these events, and the poster child for an unsustainable event. Though the sight is rather deplorable, thankfully ID&T will be donating the abandoned tents and equipment to those in need. But the bad news doesn’t stop there.
Thanks to unbelievably lax security, some pretty obscene happenings went on inside the World of Tomorrow, the now infamous rimjob photo being a prime example. How wonderful of them to prove all the EDM stereotypes true… And to boot, GA attendees found their way into VIP areas while VIP were denied access to those same areas; it just depended on who was working the gate and if they even bothered to check wristbands. While it was certainly fun for those who didn’t pay for VIP treatment, that’s not how it works. Those attendees who forked out the extra cash have every right to be upset.
Not all can be blamed on the weather. The welfare of attendees is the responsibility of an event’s organizer, regardless of factors outside their control. ID&T did their best to manage the effects of the rain and resulting mud, but it’s a testament to the quality of their planning. This was the first time TomorrowWorld faced adverse conditions, and the Dutch organizers were likely unfamiliar with the terrain and how it would react in such conditions. This doesn’t absolve them of responsibility for the abhorrent venue conditions, though. Contingency plans are necessary. The Mayor of Chattahoochee Hills, GA, Tom Reed, has expressed extreme disappointment with ID&T, and will be demanding a dissection of what went wrong in addition to listing preventative measures for next year… That is, if there is to be another TomorrowWorld. Which brings us to one final factoid which merits discussion before leaving the subject.
It’s blatantly apparent that SFX is going under. SFX owns ID&T and they undoubtedly had a hand in the decision making of last weekend. The important question we should be asking is, did the atrocious organization result from an unwillingness to invest more capital into an already failing business? Was the ridiculous execution part of a plan to drive stock down so they could re-privatize? Regardless, with SFX exploring a fire sale of its assets, it remains to be determined if we can expect TomorrowWorld‘s return in 2016.