TomorrowWorld 2015 is over and done with, and everyone is returning home. There’s no end to the stories to be shared, and we here at EDM Identity strive to share those experiences with our readers. I had the opportunity to interview one of the attendees, Jeffrey Decker, honestly flying back from Georgia during the interview. We discussed everything we could from the stages, the rain, the chaos and the beauty of it all. TomorrowWorld was his first multi-day festival, his first camping festival, and first event outside of California. Jeff is a good friend of mine that I had met very early in my EDM career. Speaking directly to people who experienced TomorrowWorld first-hand is the best way to find out what happened everywhere from the campgrounds to the venue to how the attendee truly felt. Read on to discover what really happened out in DreamVille, the festival grounds, and the woods surrounding it all!
EDMID: First off, thanks for taking the time for a meetup. I know you’ve had quite the eventful weekend. You’re on your way back from TomorrowWorld. I’m sure everyone wants to hear the good, the bad and everything you can share about your experience.
Jeffrey Decker: Not a problem. I’m more than happy to share!
EDMID: Before we go into the event itself, let’s hear a little about yourself. So the readers have some background on who you are.
Jeff: Well, I’m 23 years old. I’m originally from Maine but I now live in California and am stationed on Camp Pendleton. I started listening to different electronic artists my freshman year in high school, and when I moved to California in 2011 I was able to see more and more shows and it has really grown on me. TomorrowWorld was the largest event I have been to, and I have been very fortunate to have friends that know their way around and were able to show me a great time.
Haha… Never had an interview before so I don’t know what you want to know..
EDMID: Not a problem. Love the details. So what inspired you to go to TomorrowWorld in the first place?
Jeff: I’ve only been to small shows and Basscon was the largest event I’ve been to previously. The friends that I have met through the music have become close family to me and they had all suggested that I go to TomorrowWorld for my first festival, so my best friend John set it up and we went.
EDMID: Nice! TomorrowWorld is one of the biggest festivals for sure. Seeing as this was your first time camping at a festival, What was your first impressions when you got to the campgrounds on the first day?
Jeff: The Campground at first was great! The day we walked in it was really cool to walk down the boarded path and pass all the people who had set up their camp sites already. There was music playing and all the people who had gotten their stuff set up were out dancing, singing, giving away glows sticks , and just having a great time. The environment was alive and energetic.
EDMID: Awesome! So how was the first day of TomorrowWorld for you and your group?
Jeff: The first day was great! The weather cleared up in the late afternoon and as we made our way out of DreamVille towards the entrance of TomorrowWorld. It was just really exciting to be in this new environment. Something I’ve never seen before. It’s like as you pass through the gates into DreamVille you’re like, “YES!!! I made it!”… And that’s an experience in itself… And then when you get into the actual festival it’s like “wow.. This is incredible..” There’s so much going on and everyone is excited. It was a breath of fresh air for me, that’s for sure. Luckily, I was with people who had been there before, because the hired staff didn’t really seem to have any clue as to what was going on or where to go and had I been by myself I probably wouldn’t have been able to see the artists I wanted to.
EDMID: Who were you most excited to see? What was your favorite set? That day or between all three.
Jeff: I was super excited to see Excision, but unfortunately after hearing what happened Saturday night and seeing all the craziness we weren’t sure we would be able to get out and catch our flights if we had stayed all of day 3. So we left early and missed it. I did see Bassnectar though and he was the first artist that got me into the scene. But my favorite set had to be either Oliver’s set or Shiba San’s set at the Mythical Frames Stage. Deep house is something I hold near and dear to my heart.
EDMID: Oh man, Excision would have been awesome for you to see. Big fan of his myself. Speaking of the Mythical Frames Stage, how was the overall production of TomorrowWorld? The stages, the lights, sounds, atmosphere and the surrounding art and other installations?
Jeff: The stages were great! The lighting, sounds, artists, and the overall atmosphere complimented each other very well. The environment between stages and other areas I feel lacked a lot of planning and that in itself, at least for me, took a little bit away from the experience.
EDMID: What’s in between stages can totally be a big deal. Especially if there’s a trek between stages.
Jeff: Well the trek between stages is TOTALLY understandable. I mean, you need to have room for everyone on the dance floor and you don’t want each stage to interfere with one another because the speakers were so amazingly loud. But with the notice of possible rain a few weeks earlier, and with the millions and millions of dollars TW is bringing in, you would think they would lay down some more hard walkways so that the earth just wasn’t destroyed under the heavy foot traffic throughout the weekend. I feel as though they just said “screw it” and left everyone to deal with the mud, and the slippery hills and the trash.
Trash was another big problem. I understand that with so many people there’s going to be an incredible amount of trash each day, but they knew that too. They should have had people coming and going removing that trash and waste from the designated areas instead of just leaving piles all over the place. Yes, there’s always going to be those people who don’t care about anyone but themselves and they will leave trash wherever they please… But when you have a designated trash and waste area, and you just let it build up and continue to build up its very unsightly and very unsanitary. I literally saw piles of trash in DreamVille 10 feet wide and 3-4 feet high… Right in front of people’s tents. And those weren’t just places people decided to put trash.. Those were the designated spots the staff of TW put a barrel at to collect it.
It was disgusting.
EDMID: Wow, that’s crazy that it built up so high. Those kind of piles aren’t built up in a few hours. That’s not even believable that those were being cleaned more often.
Jeff: The neglect of the grounds was very apparent throughout my time there.
EDMID: And day 2 it rained in addition to all that too, right? How did the rain affect TW?
Jeff: It rained every day we were there, fortunately it rained in the morning until around 3-4 pm and then it cleared up when we were ready to go inside. It was actually sunny for a little while every late afternoon and it was awesome because everyone would just start cheering and clapping. When the sun would start to peek out of the clouds, it boosted everyone’s mood and everyone just went harder at the stages. I know that the rain kind of put a damper on the all around energy people had, but most people, including the group I was in, didn’t let it ruin the experience.
EDMID: Did anything get closed off or delayed because of the weather?
Jeff: On the 2nd night as you know, the transportation services were turned away and not welcomed into the festival grounds area; so hundreds and hundreds of people were left to walk and find their way out of the festival area, through the muddy roads in the dark until they reached their vehicles a few miles away or until they found someone willing to give them a ride. I wasn’t out there because I camped, but some very close friends of mine took pictures and saw many people sleeping on the sides of the muddy road in nothing but their rave attire and maybe a thin plastic poncho if they were lucky. My friends left at around 1:30am and didn’t get back to their hotel until around 7am.
But as far as things being closed down inside the festival, I don’t recall anything being shut down the first two days. We left the morning of the 3rd day and from what I heard there were a few stages shut down.
EDMID: So when you were going back to your camp after day 2: Anything stand out to your memory? What surprised you the most that day? From what you saw personally.
Jeff: Night 2 going back to our camp site was an adventure. A great journey. Because our camp site was almost completely at the opposite end of the TW entrance, we got to walk through the entire DreamVille and its was a mess. Everyone was slipping and falling into the deep mud. Some peoples tents were floating, as the water and mud was so bad. There was trash everywhere, (partially from inconsiderate people) but also from the buildup and wind blowing it around. When we finally got to our camp site it was a great relief to find that our tents and gear as well as our surrounding neighbors weren’t buried in the mud. The bad part about our camp site was that it was next to this little wooden staff hut. There were a bunch of them throughout DreamVille and every single one had loud speakers attached to them. They played a constant feed of music from the TW radio station and they only shut it off early in the morning at probably 3-4 am.. But they turned it on super early and the morning while everyone was trying to sleep. It personally made me very angry to be woken up to blaring music at 7-8 am after getting back to my tent at 3am. It pissed off a lot of people and they would just be louder because everyone would start yelling from their tents to turn the music off.
We’re ravers and we are camping, obviously we are going to be up late and sleep in late.
EDMID: So you kind of got let off easy in comparison, unfortunate as that is. So the next morning, you guys packed up and left early: Did you regret not staying for the third day even though you were able to still get in?
Jeff: We were definitely fortunate to not get stuck in the mud. And yes of course, we all wished that we hadn’t left but with everything that happened throughout weekend we felt it was best to leave before the craziness of everyone else leaving in order to ensure we made our flights on time.
EDMID: Very true. Safe than sorry, it was a smart choice for your group. Did you see anything unique on your way out?
Jeff: Haha, well I’m not sure if the TW staff came up with the idea or not.. But there was a tractor and what looked to be a farmer, pulling out people’s vehicles that were stuck in the mud. There were hundreds of cars stuck in the mud.
As we began to reach the end of the wooded drive exiting TW, there were a lot of people trying to get in but unfortunately nobody was being let in unless they had a Dreamville pass.
EDMID: Yeah, I saw some really good pictures of that. What was your first meal after leaving the event?
Jeff: When we finally reached the hotel we were exhausted and wanted to get some good southern BBQ but every place nearby was closed, so we settled for a local pizza place, some boxed wine, and called it a night.
EDMID: Do you think you’d go again to TW in the future? Or are you done with that festival?
Jeff: I definitely would love to give TomorrowWorld another go, and I will come more prepared, but it won’t be a priority next year.
EDMID: What was something you wish could have been different? Other than less rain of course.
Jeff: Just the preparedness of the festival as whole. Most of the staff, even from day one had no clue what was going on or where to go when you asked them questions. There are things we, as consumers, need to prepare for and there are things they need to have prepared for us. I understand that it is only the 3rd year, but there are many festivals that they could have learned from. I feel as though they kind of took advantage of us knowing that we would still come.
EDMID: Nice answer. Hopefully they one day see this and your voice be heard. So that’s all of my questions at this time.
Jeff: Alright thanks man!
EDMID: Once again, thank you so much for your time and sharing your story.
Jeff: No problem brother, any time.
(End of interview)
There you have it! What did you discover from Jeff’s experience? Did it change your view on what has transpired at TomorrowWorld 2015? While Jeffrey has just one opinion, each and every opinion matters. TomorrowWorld 2015 wasn’t an absolute disaster for everyone. There’s still people who overall had a positive experience.