[FESTIVAL COVERAGE] TomorrowWorld 2013, Raising The Bar For US Music Festivals
TomorrowWorld is one of those things that is near impossible to describe unless you’ve experienced it for yourself. Even then, to try and put into words the atmosphere, production, sound, and vibes emanating from the international fest is tough. You can’t really compare it to any other music festival in the US, because there isn’t another festival that even holds a candle up to the madness that took place over 3-days in Chattahoochee Hills, GA. Making it’s international debut in the US, TomorrowWorld boasted some of the world’s largest DJ talent in a lineup 300+ deep as well as catering to a crowd of more than 140,000 people from all over the globe. It’s a pop-up theme park for EDM lovers, sans mechanical rides. Instead, you can expect the mental roller coaster of your sonic life.
Any place that tries to pack in a crowd of 140,000 over the span of a weekend is bound to see conflicts, drama, and injuries, right? Well, no, not here. Not at TomorrowWorld. Throughout the course of the weekend there were no reports of any fights, no arrests and only 17 transports for medical reasons of any kind. Now, I’m not saying this is due to the fact that it was a 21+ festival, but it does make you wonder.
Ultimately, TomorrowWorld felt like a much more mature festival than most. I think it was largely due to the international influence that could be found at the fest. With dozens of countries represented, ranging from Belgium and Switzerland to Mexico, Japan and Israel, the presence of the international community at such a large festival was profound. It truly made you realize how significant a role Electronic Dance Music can play in bringing the world together.
STAGES & PRODUCTION
See our full TomorrowWorld photo coverage here
As one festival goer put it, “You know, I’ve been to Burning Man and that’s huge. But I’ve never seen anything like the stage setups they have here. It’s unreal.”
Few people realize the amount of effort and coordination that goes into pulling off an event as massive as TomorrowWorld. With major business deals riding on it’s success and it being the first major EDM festival after the tragic deaths at Electric Zoo, there was a lot at stake for the event to go off without a hitch. So my hats off to everyone involved in putting together and producing TomorrowWorld 2013 – it went off without a hitch.
To put things into perspective for you, workers began setting up the 500 acres of TomorrowWorld as much as 3 weeks before the event. Eighty large shipping containers with decoration, stage sets, and more were shipped from Europe to Chattahoochee Hills to set the stage for the EDM wonderland. In total, eight stages – almost all of which could have served as a main stage at any other festival – were built and decked out with it’s own unique personality, booming speakers and dazzling lights. The Main Stage alone was 420 feet long and 90 feet tall. If those numbers weren’t staggering enough, TomorrowWorld employed 3,500 staff to pull off the perfect weekend.
With more than 300 artists performing in the span of only 72 short hours, how do you even begin to choose who to see? You can choose the sets of your favorite artists and ride them all the way through. Or, there is always the option of trying to run around and get in as many artists as possible, leaving partway through one set to catch a little of everyone else’s. There is no right way to attack a festival of this size, and we use a bit of both tactics, and here were our top performances of the weekend:
LA-based Carnage was one of the first artists on day 1 to throw down a massive set worthy of mention. Performing on Laidback Luke’s Super You & Me Stage, Carnage rampaged through massive electro-house cuts and bass heavy beats that included a huge remix of One Republic’s “If I Lose Myself” and Flux Pavilion’s “I Can’t Stop.”
From the moment Treasure Fingers took off, I knew it was going to be one hell of a dancy, deep house journey. Rolling through a slew of slick original productions and remixes, the ATL producer/DJ amped the crowd with tracks such as the newly unleashed “My Body,” Francis Dillon and T.E.E.D.’s new single “Higher,” a lush remix of Phoenix’s “Trying To Be Cool,” and topping it off with a shout out to The Knocks’ new hit “Modern Hearts.”
This was the first time I had seen Skream since he decided to leave dubstep behind and take on a deep house vibe. Personally, I think that was a great decision as he murdered his set with groovy house beats and funky, canyon-deep rhythms. Stand out tracks included a banger remix of Marvin Gaye’s “Heard It Through The Bassline,” Skream’s personal take on Duke Dumont’s “Need U 100%,” and a brand new cut titled “Rollercoaster.”
I hadn’t originally planned to stay for Araab Muzik‘s performance on the Fool’s Gold Stage, however something inside me told me I should check out the Rhode Island producer/DJ. As it turned out, he laid down one of the more memorable sets of the weekend, pushing through hip-hop and trap heavy tracks such as Kanye’s “Mercy,” Skrillex’s “Make It Bun dem,” and Flux Pavilion’s “I Can’t Stop.”
Sander Van Doorn
Hands down one of the best performances of the weekend came from international superstar Sander Van Doorn. Sander has become reknown for his massive, anthemic sets and big room house sounds. It was only proper to listen from, well, as close as I could get. And the Dutch DJ did not disappoint, hammering through massive cuts of Kaskade’s “Atmosphere,” Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good,” and Don Diablo’s “Starlight.”
I’ve always been a fan of Kill Paris‘ nu-school funky electro/R&B sounds and it set at TomorrowWorld only stood to solidify my love for his music. Playing an earlier set on Skrillex’s OWSLA stage for Day 3, KP delivered a massive dose of sound for his afternoon audience. With big hitting tracks running deep in his reportiore, Kill PAris threw down his crowd pleasing “Baby Come Back” remix as well as his funky jam “Keep Your Secrets In Midnight City,” Meowski666’s cat-lovin’ banger “Meow Machine,” and a heavy-hitting throwback mix of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
One of my favorite stage lineups at TomorrowWorld came from the crazy cats at the Fool’s Gold Stage. And rounding out the night for Day 2 was captain of the Fool’s Gold ship, A-Trak. One of the best scratch DJs in the business, A-Trak’s set was the final culmination of a day long buildup of massive sounds coming from his lineup. Not one to disappoint, A-Trak spun pure gold with Ducks Sauce’s new dance hit “It’s You,” his now infamous party slaying remix of “Heads Will Roll,” Ace Hood’s “Bugatti,” “All The Way Turnt Up,” and a bouncy new track titled “Radio Stereo.”
Check out our video of A-Trak closing down Day 2 of TomorrowWorld on the Fool’s Gold Stage.
Other standout performances included:
Plastic Plates, The Knocks and Ghost Beach who performed back-to-back-to-back on the forested Kitsune stage to the rejoice of indie dance lovers everywhere. Borgore, who literally made it rain ending night one in the Dim Mak tent. Sound Remedy and Savoy, both of whom dropped massive sets to a packed house at the All Your Bass Are Belong To Us Tent (My favorite stage name of the festival). Bag Raiders, who rocked an amazing set atop the Fool’s Gold stage with crowd favorites “Castles In The Air” and “Shooting Stars.” Gramatik threw down a massive performance, rocking everything from electro-funk to bass-heavy trap bangers. And we took our notebooks out for famed BBC Radio host and legendary DJ, Pete Tong, as he spun to an energetic crowd. Finally, Seven Lions and Paper Diamond both dropped grimy, bass heavy sets that rattled bones and melted faces (Seven Lions doing an especially amazing job lighting the stage up despite having a broken hand).
There isn’t much more to say about TomorrowWorld 2013 that hasn’t already been said. The people were amazing, the stages and production were top notch, and the music…Well, it doesn’t get much better. We’ve compiled some of TomorrowWorld’s best performances in a Soundcloud set which you can stream below.
If you didn’t have the chance to make the show this year, sadly you missed out. Even if you were in attendance, there was no possible way to see and hear it all. But that’s why there’s always next year. So until then, take these words from TomorrowWorld home with you: “This is your life. Make every second legendary.”