Dear Like-Hearted Ravers,
Aghhhh! Soo many thoughts have been running through my head... I know many of you have asked me to hurry up and tell you about my trip so I figured I’ll just post my thoughts on my blog about TomorrowWorld 2014 in the Chattahoochee Hills just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve been wanting to spill my heart out but I really don’t know where to begin! On top of all that, I’m happy that you've being patient with me up till now because I’ve spent some time recuperating from post-festival blues and an infamous flu that TomorrowWorld-ites have named the T-Bola virus.. haha!
So let me begin with a quick re-cap: I travelled alone because many of my friends weren’t able to make it out on this trip. I calmly took this as a sign to dive into a festival on my own (which is something I’ve always secretly wanted). Going alone wouldn’t hold me back: I booked my flight, bought a ticket and was geared up for the trip of a lifetime! I joined a welcoming group of people to camp with who were also solo-travellers from Reddit.com. Doing this was a very enlightening experience because it gave me a chance to really immerse myself. I still partake in the group’s Facebook page and am very thankful to meeting such a mix of accommodating people.
I will be breaking down the days for you guys by highlighting things about each day and what I learned.
Now to begin!
Prior to leaving, I spent time connecting with followers of mine off of Instagram and other people that are prominent in the EDM community that were also planning to attend TomorrowWorld. I had taken their numbers and told them all that I would contact them once I was settled into the campgrounds. I also contacted EDM Maniac to hopefully connect and did receive a response that they will be attending but didn’t get to follow up with them in exchanging contact information (EDM Maniac is a news and media platform that I read regularly to keep up with EDM related information). I had kandi made for all my IG followers that I had planned on meeting and personalized each of them. Unfortunately due to having practically NO cell phone reception I wasn’t able to meet any of them. My text messages and calls just wouldn’t go through which was such a bummer and definitely put a damper on my trip… Hopefully we can make up for it some day! I love meeting up with others and getting to know those that support us.
Day 1 - September 24th - Wednesday was the day I landed in Atlanta (day before the festivities) just so Alex Z. from the Reddit group could easily pick me up from my hotel the next morning and take me to the camp grounds. This was a day spent travelling and mostly just gathering my thoughts for the little missions I made for myself for the upcoming days. I made sure to enjoy more than a few pre-celebratory drinks to myself on the plane ride ;)
Day 2 - September 25th - Thursday is called “The Gathering” - this is the day before the festival actually starts. On the day of The Gathering campers staying in “Dreamville” (campgrounds) get to set up camp, socialize with their neighbours in Dreamville and enjoy a line-up of acts on a stage specifically designated for Dreamville campers. This was definitely a perk of staying in Dreamville! Alex and James picked me up from the airport and the three of us connected right away even though we were strangers that had only had brief conversations on Facebook chat prior to meeting. The “hype” of TomorrowWorld was running through our veins and none of us were able to hold back the excitement. I got to meet all the other members of our group upon arrival and we set up camp and got to talk to a couple of other groups that were neighbouring our tent area. Aside from the long haul of our luggage and supplies from the parking lot to the camp grounds, everything was going smooth.
When I walked around the Dreamville stage and was taking in the vibes from all those around me, I couldn’t help but try and compare it to EDC Las Vegas and wanted to know which festival was “better”… I kept hearing comparisons and differences between the two from others but truly wanted to have an opinion for myself. The stage that was set up in Dreamville was very impressive considering it was used for only the day of The Gathering and for the entertainment of those camping.
I left the tent area and wandered off to the stage grounds in Dreamville to see if everyone was on their way to partying… which was in full effect by the time I got there! I missed Bixel Boys who I was hoping to see but got there in time to see Vaski, Dvbbs, Sultan & Ned Shepherd (who stole the show) and Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike VS Yves Vs. During one of the performances as I was recording a video of the stage I felt a tap on my shoulder from behind me and someone that I had never met leaned in to tell me that he liked the ASOT (a state of trance) perler on my arm. I asked him to hold on a second while I finished up recording and immediately grabbed his attention to make up for withdrawing from talking while I was recording. I explained that I was recording a video for a company that I am a part of, to which he asked "Which company?”
I responded with, “Edmpire Apparel”,
And he replied with “I’m EDM Maniac…”
My jaw dropped and ecstatically told him that I was trying to get a hold of him before coming to TomorrowWorld, to which he replied with, “I know!”
My heart sunk deep into my chest and a thousand thoughts ran through my head…
What were the chances that EDM Maniac would have tapped my shoulder out of the 40 000 people in Dreamville and happened to strike up conversation with me?! Neither of us knew what each other looked like and its hard for me to chalk this up to just ‘coincidence’… Edm Maniac (who’s name is Devin) and I struck up a great conversation related to our personal lives and EDM. I truly felt like I met someone who really understood my passion for this genre of music and it’s community. He and I are still in touch and I truly look forward to our friendship. I realized we had a lot in common and my hat tips-off to this individual who clearly worked HARD to get to where he is today. Can’t wait to reconnect with ya man! The Kandi you gave me which was the only one you were wearing read: “Dream Big”, and is one that is unforgettable to me.
After Devin and I parted for the night, I walked around and enjoyed my surroundings. I felt so alive.
I got to meet some people from Belgium that were part of ID&T, the company that puts on the TomorrowWorld event. They told me they were really enjoying watching me get down to the music… Lets just say, I wasn’t holding back when dancing haha! In retrospect, I should have asked them to reconnect for TomorrowWorld next year!
I managed to meet up with Jared Boynton (an individual I met in the line to get into Dreamville who had a striking resemblance to the late Fitness icon “Zyzz”). I was very humbled by how he carried himself; talk about being truly down to earth!
Once the show was over for us happy campers I stumbled down the boardwalk and took at least an hour or so to find the tent I was staying in. Finding a tent at night amongst a small village of tents was pretty difficult but I Finally made it…. Unzipped the tent and K.O'd for the night.
Day 3 - September 26th - Friday, the first day of the actual festival, I woke up to the beautiful sounds of Above and Beyond playing from a group of Chicagoans next to us. I got up pleasantly rested while the speakers were blasting, said Good Morning to the group that I was staying with and wandered over to where the music was coming from. I sat with our neighbours and took in the heavenly melodies, ate some pop tarts and made small talk with the group while they were making kandi. Throughout the weekend we would rise every day while we listened to some real soothing EDM in the morning. I would hear other people shouting from their tents “Turn it up!” during the sounds of Swedish House Mafia. It was beautiful. Out of this crew I want to give a shout out to Chicagoans: Mario and Alex, thanks for joining me when you guys saw me raging alone to Orjan with your crew… Can’t wait to do it again!
So I got dressed and wandered over to the festival grounds around 3:30pm. The walk over the river was something out of a movie! Water fountains with lighting and designs along the bridges we walked over, and props and signs laid out across the forest were absolutely surreal. Made us all feel like we were in our own world! I got to Oliver’s set and started to boogie along the dance floor on the grass. I was super stoked to hear that my friends saw me clearly enjoying the music on the live feed from TomorrowWorld during this set! After boogie'n around the concrete I wanted a soft spot to stomp on and found it! Shortly after I got invaded by a group of ravers from Tampa, Florida… The energy they brought was the best I have seen at an event to this day. When I told them that, they told me that they saw me from afar and noticed how much energy I was bringing to the dance floor and decided to join me! We all hit it off right off the bat! I spoke to one of their 'pack leaders' who told me which DJ’s they will be seeing over the weekend, and how and where I would find them. Throughout the entire weekend members of the group were puzzled by how I found them amongst the thousands of people… little did they know that Antonio (pack leader) gave me their itinerary and told me whereabouts I would find them ;) I would come and bombard them whenever they were seeing a DJ that I also planned on seeing. They didn’t seem to mind and by the third day we all developed a strong bond that makes me sad to think about now; knowing that I wouldn’t see such them for a long time to come makes my heart sink. I can’t wait to reunite with them and introduce them to my friends, who I know they’ll get along with, so we can leave our footprints in the ground together.
In between sets I got to see Nicky Romero, Lane 8, Party Favor, and particularly Zedd who ABSOLUTELY rattled me… I Never knew he was going to be as good as he was… sooo many new sounds when he played! I completely melted. I got to enjoy these sets with some people that took me in without me having to ask… they were very sweet. I stuck with them for a portion of the day because they had a good vibe to them and I got the impression that they enjoyed my company as well.
The group from earlier on in the day from Tampa Florida and I had split up after Tchami’s stellar performance but reunited later on at night to finish off with Bass God- Bassnectar who really stole the show on day 1. I couldn’t of ended it on a better note!
Day 4- September 27th - Saturday - Got my Energizer Bunny costume on and I was Not Holding Back! I was representing EDMPIRE and had an absolute blast with all the people I got to meet and take pictures with! This was the day that I wasn’t too focused on the line up but focused on meeting the beautiful people of TomorrowWorld, and all I gotta say is you guys are amazing, Inside and Out!
The one set that I made sure I did not not miss was Deorro at the MainStage because after seeing him at EDC LV earlier this year I decided I would never miss him! He is only touring this year because he wants to be closer to his family and there was no chance I was gonna let this final opportunity pass by. He has such an awesome sound that everyone knows is HIS… you’ll know a Deorro track when you hear one! I did get to see Claude Von Stroke, Dmitri Vegas & Like Mike and Skrillex as well but without a doubt in my mind Deorro stood out like a sore thumb of greatness! I also got to chat with the lovely Lady Casa and Steve Brew from Electric Family who were both super friendly. The days that I go to festivals and not restrict myself to a line up have ALWAYS been the best! :)
Day 5- September 28th - Sunday - The last day of the festival which I called this “Trance Day”… this was my day to allow myself to melt into a State of Trance… Ferry Corsten had his own stage set up so this day was truly all about the music for me. Even though it was all about the music I still happened to connect with some great people from New York, Seattle, Pittsburgh and Florida during the sets. This is what Trance Family is all about... In my humble opinion, trance fans can be some of the most passionate of fans I’ve met, they truly unite with nothing other than their love for Trance.
I caught house DJ Oliver Heldens early on in the day at main stage, walked over to the Full-On Ferry Stage and watched trance acts: Audien, Orjan Nilsen, Andrew Rayel, and the highly anticipated Cosmic Gate! I joined a couple gals from Seattle at the Full-On stage until the end of Cosmic Gate’s orgasmic set haha Thats when the three of us made a hike out of Full-On and over to MainStage where I lead them to the Tampa Florida ravers crew who I eventually dubbed the“40 Shades of Brown” because of their Columbian heritage. Haha, glad they had a good laugh from that name... When the three of us marched over to the larger group at MainStage to see Kaskade to shut down the festival we can tell that he did not hold back on ‘the feels’… Kaskade played one emotional track after another and when his set had ended everyone was standing there in awe. I stood there amongst all the soft voices speaking to one another after the music faded and listened to Antonio explain to me about how EDM has changed his life. I can’t explain how powerful it was to hear him express himself. I will never forget the conversation we had when the dust had settled. I felt honoured to get a picture with the 40 Shades of Brown at the Mainstage and we walked back to the campgrounds where I hung out with them for quite some time. Jeisson from NYC and I talked for a while, and it was very refreshing to share some words with someone who I barely got to talk to throughout the entire weekend. The whole weekend we just fed off each others energy and put a lashing on the dance floor! (wherever we were standing Bahaha!). Made me happy to hear about your bond and the experiences you get to share with your sister Jeisson! Its is obvious to me that each of you from the #40ShadesOfBrown represent EDM culture to the fullest! Stay Steady at it!
After parting from the group I realized that I had to prepare for my journey home… I had so many thoughts on my mind… almost somewhat confused. I was wondering what I would tell everyone when I got back home. I figured I would leave it until I was back and well rested. That final night my neighbour Alex from Chicago and I galavanted across Dreamville while the party kept going. Everyone was having their one last hurrah before they came to face with the fact that we would have to continue back to our everyday lives. I saw a lot of wild stuff happening on the boardwalk this night, and I’m sure other TomorrowWorld-ites can vouch for me on that! I didn’t bother sleeping, I milked every last minute of the madness and when everyone else fell asleep I packed my bags and made my way to the airport.
Now that I’m home I took some time to recollect myself… this blog post doesn’t nearly do justice what I got to experience. I am simply highlighting a few of my standout memories. And to answer the question I asked myself of whether EDC LV or TW experience was ‘better’… I have to come back to the answer of it being like comparing apples and oranges. It’s all in what you’re in the mood for and a matter of preference. EDC was great for certain reasons, PLUR culture is prominent at shows on the West coast compared to the east coast BUT TW allows you to really connect with people in a real meaningful way due to its camping aspect which EDC does not have. When Avicii cancelled his upcoming shows this year at ID&T's TomorrowWorld and Insomniac's Escape from Wonderland it was quite a disappointment for the many fans that were eager to see him. ID&T replaced him with Kygo (who was a name that many are not familiar with nor an act that seemed to appeal to a mainstage audience) and I felt as though they dropped the ball on this one... this was a golden opportunity for the foreign promotion company to bring another major act but didn't whereas Insomniac replaced Avicii with Armin Van Buuren for Beyond Wonderland. I truly feel like ID&T dropped the ball on this one because they could of showed fans that they truly cared about getting some sort of consensus from fans and trying to fill Avicii's spot with another big name. The lack of effort or lack thereof a press release of even them telling us that 'they tried' would show that they truly care about our hopes. My hat tips off to Insomniac for taking advantage of the opportunity to stand out by their response to their fans and getting Armin. They truly make attendees feel cared about. Aside from the mythical frames stage and the Volcano/mainstage at TomorrowWorld the other stages didn't have much of an awe factor. The Cathedral/mainstage at EDC this year was still the best stage I had seen this year by a long shot. One thing that knocked me off guard at this festival were how many attendees had told me how they had been to both TomorrowLand in Belgium (the granddaddy of all festivals) and TomorrowWorld (its grandchild) said how they enjoyed TomorrowWorld's vibe much more than TomorrowLand's. But the thing I can chalk that up to is perhaps because of the fact that TomorrowLand's european location won't have as many people speaking english throughout the grounds making it more difficult to communicate with another since english is most widely spoken at TomorrowWorld. I guess I'll need to go myself to see what the differences are to have a legitimate opinion. Dreamville in my humble opinion gives an edge to TomorrowWorld, the camping truly makes this festival what it is. I can go on and on about how EDC and TomorrowWorld are different but I can’t necessarily say EDC Vegas is better than TomorrowWorld or vice versa. I highly recommend both festivals and will be returning to them both every year for their own reasons. The one last thing I can warn you about TomorrowWorld are the port-a-potties in Dreamville though haha!... Now its up for you to decide which to pick! And when I go on my next adventure I welcome any of you to join me! :)
In reflection, EDC LV 2013 and 2014 showed me that the potential for my vision for EDMPIRE is there. TomorrowWorld is what solidified my confidence. I truly believe that I can make an influential change within our community after this trip. I realized this because of the type of people I drew to me on this trip. I met so many people, and each of them being very wholesome yet different. People can see that I love this community whole-heartedly and thats all I can ask for. This scene shouldn’t have anything to do with the 'who’s who' and has everything to do with treating each other equally. I am not interested in being a representative for just those considered ‘cool/popular’ people of this scene… personally I would love to be a representative for everyone... to at least whatever extent they wish. We all have our own reasons to love EDM and I hope people in our community never forget the reason they fell in love with this scene in the first place. I uphold the belief to stay connected with all of my supporters. Edmpire Apparel is on its way to being a genuine and humble ambassador of EDM culture and lifestyle and we welcome you to join us on this journey.
I have a long list of Special Thank You’s to people I’ve met that made this experience unforgettable so to begin in no particular order:
Tan, Alex, Patrick P, James, Patrick, Kelly, Hilary, Claire, Jenn, Steven… for looking out for me and welcoming me into your company in DreamVille.
Devin Lezama from Edm Manic, Los Angelos for sharing such an unforgettable, unique and unexpected experience.
Alex, Mario and the rest of the crew from Chicago for letting me hang out with you guys during the day while you guys got everyone warmed up with all the great selection of songs to wake up to every morning and lastly for raging with me during Orjan!
Leo from Winnipeg, Canada and all his friends for supporting Edmpire Apparel at the festival, hope you’re first massive experience changed your lives!
Everyone from: Jared Boynton from Atlanta, Kyle Batten in Florida, Omar Rujeedawa from Toronto (ASOT Champ from Ultra-Live Feed), Charley from New York, Julia & Lauren from Seattle and Jisun Kim from Pittsburgh for the great vibes that kept me on my feet and not on by butt!
All the shufflers who gave me tips! And the hoopers and glovers that gave me light shows :)
Last but not Least, the 40ShadesOfBrown Rave Family from Tampa that made my weekend incredible for words that don’t need to be said. Of all the events and festivals I have been to, I am still yet to meet a crew that brought their A-Game and didn’t leave anything behind, aside from my own. You guys Owned it and allowed me to be a part of your experience. I can never repay you guys for what you guys gave me and I sincerely can’t wait to see each and every one of you again!
This in a nutshell was my experience and what I wanted to share with all of you. I hope all of you reading have your own moments to be cherished at this festival and many others to come!
*(Before I finish, I added 3 screenshots/pics below of messages via text and social media that I received when I came back home to show you the reason that I am so passionate about this community. I am reciprocated with the same love I give... every time.)*
Peace, Love, Unity, Respect
One last one I'd like to add from Brett from Florida (Mogli is his rave name) which I received when I got back home :) This brought me to some real tears of joy :)