TomorrowWorld coming to Chatt-Hills

by Bradley Hartsell

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A glimpse of the massive crowds and elaborate stage that make the Belgium TomorrowWorld festival so popular.    

Next weekend, from Sept. 27-29, Chattahoochee Hills in south Fulton County will host the first United States incarnation of TomorrowWorld, what is claimed to be the most popular electronic music festival in the world. It is typically held in Belgium every year.

TomorrowWorld, like most festivals, is a weekend experience aimed at 20-somethings (TomorrowWorld is 21 and up only) and designed to get a mass of people “lost” in a vacuum of live music, trippy scenery and lots of beer. Concert festivals Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza are the crown jewels of summer vacations for young people, but plenty of festivals are thriving underneath to build on a growing industry. This weekend, Atlanta’s Music Midtown is drawing thousands see bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Journey and Weezer.

There are critics who feel these are soulless and overdone corporate money grabs. In many cases, people are paying anywhere from $200-400 to sit in the hot sun, wait in long lines, go without showers or clean bathrooms, and listen to bands in not-very-ideal conditions. There’s certainly a lot to be cynical about, but people keep going and it’s a boon to artists who are looking for a good payday in a time where it’s getting harder to justify being a full-time band. With nobody buying music like they used to, the music industry seems to be held together with tape and wire.

TomorrowWorld Facebook commenter Martin Ryan defends and praises the festival.

“Stop the hate, spread the love. Best stage ever built, period!!!!!!! Might not be as busy as Belgium but the finer details will all be in place..... I got my tickets!!!”

TomorrowWorld claims 90 percent of its tickets are sold out, and with an outrageously elaborate set that brings “Alice in Wonderland” to mind, the festival seems just as bulletproof to the cynics as any other major music festival. Another Facebook commenter, Daniel Lacaba, says, “very few stages compare to TomorrowWorld…”

What’s interesting about TomorrowWorld is how well it’s appearing to do with just electronic music. Coachella and Bonnaroo bring headliners like Paul McCartney or The Police to appeal to a broad base of popular music fans. There’s a very likely chance you won’t recognize any of the performers at the festival. In Europe, electronic music is king and it’s led to TomorrowWorld winning numerous awards, including six last year — such as "Best Music Event Worldwide" and "Best major European Festival.”

Electronic music in the United States has become extremely popular, as it’s the basis for almost every popular song on the radio, but ultimately that’s just the identity of pop music now. TomorrowWorld is not pop music by any stretch. It’s DJs blasting dance music to thousands of people.

So, you may not have heard of Rusko or Gramatik, and the whole idea of a music festival may seem as foolish as their critics claim they are. But the fact is, 90 percent of tickets are sold and counting, and no matter how much the music festival format might not make sense, Chattahoochee Hills is coming alive with the upcoming event.



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