Examining What Went Wrong At TomorrowWorld 2015

At this stage in the media circus that’s still in full swing after last weekend, it’s safe to assume that TomorrowWorld will not be returning for a fourth edition. Even after firsthand accounts of the madness that enveloped Chattahoochee Hills this weekend bounced right out of the EDM blogosphere and into the national news, festival organizers still haven’t properly responded to claims that negligent contingency planning on their part led to the biggest transportation breakdown of any music festival this year.

Following the original statement on TomorrowWorld’s Facebook page on the morning that entry to the festival had been denied to attendees other than those camping in the Dreamville campgrounds, organizers revealed an official refund scheme that would apply those affected by the changes. Social media outcry suggests by and large that the majority of attendees felt that the apologetic posts on the event’s website failed to address the organizers’ shortcomings, and insensitive comments made by a Belgian PR representative for ID&T yesterday only fueled the outrage by shifting the blame to external factors – namely the torrential downpour that swept over the Atlanta area over the weekend.

ID&T is the company responsible for the Boom, Belgium festival Tomorrowland, which has taken place annually since 2005. Shortly after EDM conglomerate SFX Entertainment bought a commanding share of the company as part of its so-called “EDM Arms Race,” it injected enough seed capital into the company for it to expand into North America. TomorrowWorld (so rebranded because of a trademark held by disney for the name Tomorrowland in the U.S.) debuted in September of 2013 and immediately became a strong contender for the biggest annual EDM event stateside.

However, the success of TomorrowWorld didn’t turn out to be a good omen for SFX’s prosperity across the board. As we’ve quipped before, the company’s founder, Robert Sillerman, solidified his role as the unofficial Bond villain of EDM through a combination of eccentric behavior and cavalier decision making on the company’s behalf. Following the corporation’s gradual plummet in stock price since its 2013 IPO, Sillerman offered to take the company private once again this spring. As his call to action yielded zero bids the stock dropped to monumental lows, and shortly afterwards ID&T was forced to cancel its first SoCal venture, One Tribe Festival, which indicated that SFX was at its most financially insolvent state.

Given the background of the business climate surrounding TomorrowWorld, the festival organizers’ insistence that the unexpected weather conditions were the sole culprit of the transportation and customer service breakdowns seems suspect indeed – and when firsthand accounts from festival goers began to emerge, the inconsistencies became increasingly difficult to ignore….