Never in my wildest dreams did this Southern girl think that techno would grace the rolling hills of Georgia, but TomorrowWorld changed all of that. This will be my third year attending TomorrowWorld (and there have only been three), therefore I am dubbing myself a TomorrowWorld veteran. With this status comes the responsibility of providing advice on how to have the best TomorrowWorld experience. I already made all the mistakes so you don’t have to!
If you’re camping, arrive together with your crew
The earlier you arrive to Dreamville (the name of the camping area), the better. If you arrive later you will get a camping spot far away from the entrances to the festival stages and also the security lines to enter Dreamville will be terribly long. If your crew is in multiple cars, make sure that you all meet up outside Chattahoochee Hills to follow each other into the festival because there are several parking lots for Dreamville and you need all the people you can get to carry your luggage. Also, you would not want to have staked out a campsite and make your other friends carry their gear all the way across Dreamville to join you when cell phone signal can be spotty.
Bring a handcart and/or wagon to haul all your gear to the campsites
Cars are parked a fair distance from the camping area and you have to carry all your gear in, so pack efficiently. Having multiple carts and wagon will help the process–remember to make sure you do not have a flat tire on the cart.
Go through the security line once
You will carry (or roll) all your items through the Dreamville security line to get searched. Believe me when I say you will only want to go through the security line once, so try and take everything in one trip. Waiting in the security line is the longest part and may require you to open every bag you have.
Spread out when staking out your camp spot
TomorrowWorld puts up ropes which allow only a few groups at a time to set up camp. You stand in line waiting to be in front of the rope. Try to get as many of your crew in front of the rope, because when it’s your turn and they let down the rope you have to spread out. Start laying down everything you packed (your tarps, your tents, your bodies, whatever you can) on the ground to stake out your spot. If you don’t do this you will be plagued with a small campsite for the rest of TomorrowWorld. I know we all love our friends, but get them all together in confined spaces and they may become your enemies.
Always remember TomorrowWorld is a marathon
I consider TomorrowWorld to be a marathon, so eat and drink whenever you get a chance because you will need that energy for the days to follow. When you are in Dreamville you have a special stage for The Gathering on Thursday evening, so go start your musical experience earlier than all the general admission TomorrowWorld ticket holders and build up that dance endurance. After The Gathering and the festival ends each day some people will stay up and party while others will pass out in their tents. Always keep in mind that there are days of dancing to follow.
Sleeping in Dreamville may be tough, but waking up isn’t
Remember when you pack that the nights can get chilly in Georgia in late September. It’s hard to fall asleep with the noise around you so expect to be a little sleep deprived and bring earplugs (which you should have anyway to protect your ears at the stages). Your Dreamville neighbors may play a role in how well you sleep at night, so hopefully they will not be dropping the same poor quality dubstep remixes on repeat. You don’t have to worry about when you will wake up because everyone will wake up around 9:30AM since the sun starts baking them in their tents. If you are the first person to start brewing coffee in the morning, everyone will love you.
Showers are attainable
There are showers at TomorrowWorld but you have to pay to use them (load up cash on your wristband before arriving), and I can’t promise they will be warm showers. I would advise taking showers at night because in the morning the line can take up to two hours (especially if you are a girl).
Bathrooms are really not that bad
The porta potties are decently maintained but will run out of toilet paper so bring your own just in case. Pro tip: the porta potties in the festival are cleaner and if you find the right ones they may flush too!
You will not eat as much food as you think you will
Eat a big brunch to hold you through as much of the festival day as possible. If you want food either plan to pay for it inside the festival or come back to your tent during the festival to grab some food, though you most likely will not want to come back to the camping area once you’re in the festival. Simple nutritious and filling food like peanut butter, granola bars, chips, fruit, trail mix, beef jerky, etc. will be the majority of your diet. If you plan for elaborate meals, nine times out of 10 they will not be prepared. Do not forget to eat because of all the excitement (like me) because you will end up lying on the ground wondering why you feel faint while your friends run to the vendors to get you food.
Festival outfits are fun but may be overrated by the end of the festival
You have probably been prepping your festie outfit since you bought your ticket. The first day you will put on all your rave gear, makeup, kandi, etc., but as the days progress you may be too tired to care anymore. This is alright; it just means you are getting the most out of your experience.
Bring something to carry water around in the festival
A Camelbak, flexible water bottle, or another bag with a water reservoir will be your best friend. Remember to fill it up because when you are in the middle of 50,000 people listening to an amazing set, you will not want to go out of the crowd to get water. It can also carry all your stuff–see if you can stuff a few granola bars in there for energy.
You will regret making that heavy rage stick
I understand that we all want to create the funniest rage sticks. The first year my group made one with Hulk hands and a glitter sign that said RAGE that was entirely too heavy. We were always handing it off as if it was more of a burden than something fun to unite the group. The next year we decided to change it up to a pool noodle. A pool noodle is lightweight and you can print out anything, laminate it, and stick it right to the end. The noodle fits perfectly between your back and a backpack so even your hands can be free. This way you can make multiple ones and if your group decides to split up you all can always find each other. If you see a pool noodle with a LessThan3 logo attached to it, come say hello!
If you bring flow toys there will be some room to play with them
Just as in any other festival, off to the side is where all the hula hoops, poi, orbs, etc. people hang out (flow artists). I have taken my hula hoop in and found it to be a good topic for discussion with people but I could never get close to the stages while hooping. People are so intrigued with the hooping that they intrude on your space, making it unsafe for them and you. I ended up not carrying in my hula hoops a few of the days because of this. If you have taken a flow toy into a festival before you most likely realize this but, I wanted to state this for the newbies.
Meet all the people you possibly can
The people at TomorrowWorld are from all around the world, so take this opportunity to meet them! Any connections you make now may help you, whether it is a lifetime friend, a place to crash when traveling, or a free shot of tequila for catching a Frisbee while strolling on the boardwalk.
Cell phones will work well enough to be useful in the festival
I always took my cell phone into the festival, but be aware that as more people arrive in Dreamville and at TomorrowWorld, cell phone service diminishes. I always carried around a little portable battery and only used my phone for pictures and text messages when I got separated from the group.
Stages are much farther apart than at most other dance music festivals
I am the worst for picking multiple artists to go see at multiple stages and there being conflicts. The stages are much farther apart than say, EDC or Ultra, so you have to plan accordingly. Pick the artists that you have to see and then from there compromise with your old and new friends about who else to see. The festival is about the music, but it is also the experience. You will not regret you missed that one artist while you are creating memories with your friends.
Beware of pickpockets
I was saved my first year from getting my items pickpocketed because my friends read a reddit post on how there was a problem with people stealing items at the festival and were able to spot a suspicious person in the crowd and tell him to leave. The pickpockets go in the middle of large crowds and suspiciously linger as they are “walking out” of the crowd. If you see this (especially during the closing of mainstage), protect your stuff and ask them to leave.
When you are leaving the festival make sure to pick up some ground scores
After the festival is over a lot of people can’t take their gear back with them so they leave it on the ground. A smart person would muster up the energy to put some of these items (like tents, wagons, chairs, etc.) on their hand cart and take it home, because who doesn’t like free camping gear?
Purchase TomorrowWorld and Dreamville tickets here.