BY MELISSA RUGGIERI
Whether it’s the bass drops, reams of streamers pumped into the air or the possibility of bumping into someone randomly strolling around in a panda costume, TomorrowWorld offers plenty of visual and aural stimulation.
The massive electronic dance music festival returns to Chattahoochee Hills this weekend, with the first of nine main stages starting to pulse at noon Friday and running through midnight Sunday.
Last year’s event, the second for the Belgium import, saw an increase in attendance to 160,000 from 140,000 its inaugural year. The 2014 edition of TomorrowWorld spurred $93.9 million in economic activity across Georgia, including $71.8 million in the Atlanta area, during the three-day event, according to a study paid for by the event’s producers.
This year, organizers are anticipating a 20 percent increase in attendance.
While TomorrowWorld is renowned for its international reach, locals who attend will drive about 30 minutes from downtown Atlanta to south Fulton County to reach the grounds.
Here are 10 things to help you navigate the weekend.
1. Since May, TomorrowWorld organizers have slowly unveiled a lineup that will embrace a massive portion of the EDM community. Among the nearly 300 DJs and performers who will scatter across the 8,000 acres of Bouckaert Farm are Kaskade, Tiesto, David Guetta, Steve Angello, Bassnectar, Afrojack, Martin Garrix and newest additions DJ Snake, Tchami, Shaq aka DJ Diesel and Ansolo. For a full schedule, visit www.tomorrowworld.com.
2. Tickets are still available. Depending upon your budget, curiosity level and tolerance for rib-cage-rattling bass, you can go with single-day general access (for Friday, Saturday or Sunday) for $145; the Full Madness three-day general access pass for $357; or the Full Madness including DreamVille camping for four nights and access to three days of the festival for $417. To purchase, visit www.tomorrowworld.com/tickets.
3. Daily parking passes can be purchased in advance for $20 (per day) online at parking.tomorrowworld.com or on site (cash only). You are advised NOT to use your GPS but instead to follow the directions provided on the TomorrowWorld website (click on “Getting Here”). Ride-share and taxi riders must be dropped off at the Kiss & Ride spot, which is 2 miles from TomorrowWorld; complimentary shuttles will be available between Kiss & Ride and the festival 24 hours a day.
4. Attendees can also take shuttles from five Atlanta locations, including the airport ($50); the Westin Atlanta Airport hotel ($55); Aloft Downtown Atlanta ($65); Emory University ($25); and the Ivy Buckhead ($25). Check the TomorrowWorld website for shuttle schedules. Prices indicate one roundtrip.
5. In an effort to streamline the entry and concession-purchasing process, your TomorrowWorld bracelet is your weekend friend. Make sure to register the bracelet at www.tomorrowworld.com/my-bracelet to personalize it. Once registered, the bracelet will serve as your festival ticket and sole form of payment within TomorrowWorld and DreamVille. All bars and food vendors will accept only “Pearls,” the TomorrowWorld cashless currency that attendees can load onto the bracelet in advance or at “Top-Up” stations around the festival site.
6. TomorrowWorld is a giant in the social media world (it claims to be the most popular music festival on Facebook with more than 6.5 million “likes”). If you want to join the digital conversation, follow the fest on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tomorrowworld, on Instagram and Twitter @TomorrowWorld and with the hashtag #TomorrowWorld.
7. This year, the electronic-centric festival is experimenting with a live music stage. The Terminal West-branded stage will be staffed with bands only on Sunday. Haywyre (aka keyboardist Martin Vogt, who is based in Canada) will initiate the stage with a set at 2 p.m., followed by the M Machine, Zoogma, Bakermat, Rudimental and Porter Robinson.
8. Another first for TomorrowWorld is the Love Unites Parade, which will be hosted by Blake’s on the Park and feature drag queens performing a series of songs. The procession, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday, will begin at the DreamVille Marketplace and end at the ATL Stage with DJ Bill Berdeaux performing.
9. If you’re staying in DreamVille and want a break from the musical madness, a slew of activities including meditation sessions, yoga, speed dating, spinning classes from the Cyc Fitness pop-up studio, Pilates, dance competitions and lip-sync battles will be accessible.
10. With all of the dancing and spin-class-taking going on, attendees need to eat, right? Chef Kevin Gillespie and his Red Beard Restaurants will present the first sit-down dining option at TomorrowWorld with a different menu each weekend day offering cuisine from his restaurants Terminus City (Friday), Gunshow (Saturday) and Revival (Sunday). Atlanta will also be represented more informally with offerings from King of Pops, Grindhouse Killer Burgers, Australian Bakery Café, Sweet Hut Bakery & Café, Simply Seoul and food trucks from Nana G’s Chicken & Waffles, Mac the Cheese, the Loaded Burger and the Atlanta Burger Truck.