Monday, October 13, 2014

We survived TomorrowWorld 2014!

Shane found out about the TomorrowWorld electronic music festival in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, a few years ago and was immediately OBSESSED. The original Tomorrowland festival has been going strong in Belgium since 2005, and when they came to the US in 2013 he tried his hardest to convince me that we should go. With budget constraints and a host of other concerns, we decided it was best to stay home. 

He brought it up again at the beginning of this year when tickets were about to go on sale and asked could we please please please go this time? I was skeptical for several reasons: 

Neither of us had ever been to a music festival before. TW was billed to be a full three days (five days if you camp in DreamVille) of absolute madness. That's a lot to wrap your head around. 

I hate camping. Port-a-potties are a certain fate, as is the fact that showers would be few and far between (my hatred of camping stems from my hatred of being dirty).

Considering the show is at the end of September in Georgia, the weather could be freezing, absolutely scorching, or a mix of the two.

Tickets are expensive. To get the full experience, you really need to camp in DreamVille rather than stay at a hotel. DreamVille isn't terrible price-wise, but you have to bring all your own camping gear, and we don't own any. We looked into the DreamVille Easy Tent upgrade package which comes with a souvenir tent, air mattress, sleeping bags, and a lantern, all set up in a special Easy Tent area, but it was a good bit more expensive than the regular DreamVille.

Against my better judgment, I gave my thumbs-up and we pressed the "BUY NOW" button on that fateful February morning...


Saturday at the Main Stage
Shane is still washing pink powder out of his hair!

I'll admit, most all of my fears came true, but it didn't spoil the experience in the least.

1. We'd never been to a festival before: We met a lot of people who were shocked we chose such a large festival (in 2013 they reported nearly 130,000 in attendance and 30,000 camped in DreamVille) as our first, as it can be pretty overwhelming for most people, especially newbies. Thankfully neither of us are bothered by crowds, because boy were there crowds! People drove across continents (we heard one group drove from Brazil!) and flew around the world just to be there. The whole place had the best vibe of being one big, happy, global community...and we were all there to party!

Thursday / Night 1: DreamVille Gathering
We were also really lucky too because the whole time we were there, no one messed with our stuff. Our Easy Tent came with a lock but we made sure not to leave valuables in there anyways. Our festival bracelets had RFID chips in them which you could load with festival tokens, the currency of the realm, so we were able to leave our wallets, car keys, and cell phones in the $60 5-day festival locker we purchased. We only carried one phone between the two of us for pictures and left the other in the locker to charge. That's not to say there wasn't theft at the event (for example, one girl had a fanny pack but was wearing it turned around on her it was a bright red target and got unzipped while in the middle of the crowd).

2. Port-a-potties, showers, and general cleanliness: Being dirty makes me unhappy, so you can see where this might have been my downfall. We knew the Easy Tent package we splurged on had a separate bathroom area, we didn't know that it would have portable, air conditioned bathroom trailers that were cleaned constantly. While we were at the festival grounds, I was so happy to find some port-a-potties that even flushed! Even the few rare times I had to use a standard portable, you could tell they were cleaned as often as possible. I NEVER went into any toilet that didn't have toilet paper, which is a miracle unto itself. I'm not saying you could eat off the port-a-potty floor or anything, but the bathroom attendants did a fantastic job and I was always pleasantly surprised by the facilities. BONUS: The longest I ever waited to get into a toilet was 1-2 minutes, another miracle!

Freshen Up stations + short hair = clean hair 
The Easy Tent area also had it's own FREE showers (regular DreamVille had to pay 2 tokens / $4.44 per shower). The line for the showers was understandably really long during peak hours, but later in the evening you could walk right in. I'll let you in on a little secret though...the whole time we were there, I didn't shower! And I lived! Even though I hate being dirty, I'm also not very patient when it comes to waiting in line, so I did just fine by washing my newly-short hair (thanks Hannah!) in the sink at the Freshen Up station and using the giant pack of baby wipes I brought to scrub the dirt off my appendages several times daily.

Bandanas are a must, breathing dust is no fun! 
3. This is Georgia in September. How do you pack for that?: The weather was pretty much perfect the whole time we were there. It was overcast most of the time, and I was fine in shorts and a tank top for daytime + being in the crowd at a stage (it gets HOT when you get close to the front) and a light jacket + sweatpants for early morning / night. I saw a lot of people wearing long pants and long sleeves during the day who were absolutely roasting.

Thursday / Night 1: DreamVille Gathering
Also, our whole pack of glowsticks broke on the way in.

4. Tickets are expensive, especially if you go for DreamVille + upgrades: Okay, so the tickets were expensive, but seriously those fancy bathrooms were more than worth it. I really do feel like we got the best experience possible by choosing the Easy Tents. We could've done day passes + hotel, but then you don't get to make friends with your tent neighbors, plus once you arrive at the show you're stuck there for the day, there was no same day re-entry for those who weren't camping. Regular DreamVille had to lug all their camping gear for a mile or more to grab a first-come, first-serve, tightly packed camping spot, then set up all your gear. Our Easy Tent was already set up with the others into labeled, easy to navigate rows. We were able to enter and exit the festival as many times as we wanted, which meant we could come back to our tent to sit down, nap, grab a snack or meal from the food we'd brought, etc., then go back for more of the madness at our leisure.

Me with two of our tent neighbors. 
The tents were small, but we managed. 
DreamVille Easy Tents...just part of them.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Can you believe I've written this much and haven't even made it to the MUSIC yet?!

Between the seven, yes, SEVEN, different amazing stages, they had pretty much every type of electronic music you can imagine played by hundreds of DJs. Each stage had it's own awesome vibe. These stages are extremely elaborate too, each with a different theme.

Our favorite stage, the It's A Trap! stage
Mythical Frames stage
The MASSIVE Main Stage. See that white awning towards the middle?
That's the DJ booth.
Oh, and the stage is a volcano that shoots flames and smoke at every set change. 
We learned really quickly on the first day that it's easy to get caught up in in the environment and want to run around to every stage for hours and hours and hours and see every DJ whose name you might've heard before and dance and dance and dance and then go to the next stage, rinse, repeat. You get REALLY worn out this way though, and at the end of the first night, we were ready for bed, bodies aching at 10:00. We sat down on a hill and tried to hold out as long as we could, which was 10 minutes into that night's headliner, and then trudged back to our tent. After that, we made sure to sit down every chance we got, for as long as possible, and to go back to our tent several times a day to relax. And yeah, you're probably going to miss some good DJs this way, because they're all good, but then the ones you see, you'll actually have energy and will be able to enjoy it more.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Yesterday is history. Today is a gift. Tomorrow is mystery.
Might as well enjoy it while you can!!

All in all, we had an absolutely fantastic time. I am so glad Shane convinced me to go. We met some really cool people, saw some crazy costumes and outfits, ate some tasty festival food, and heard some awesome electronic music. We didn't take a ton of pictures or videos because we were too busy having fun, but I did manage to put together a short video to share a little bit of our experience. Enjoy! And if you want to join us at TomorrowWorld 2015, we'd be happy to carpool!