Published by RsvpAtl
When you live in a thriving metropolitan city that serves as the capital of the southeast, there is never a shortage of exciting events on a fall weekend. This weekend, Atlanta is no exception to that rule. Tomorrowworld is explosive even for one day, so if you're without a Full Madness Pass and just planning one day, fear not. Make it a more diverse weekend with some other events around town. The PGA Tour Championship begins today and lasts all weekend at East Lake, the Annual Taste of Atlanta takes over Tech Square and Midtown all weekend, Turner Field plays host to the Great Atlanta Beer Fest Saturday... But you're leaving all that within I-285, decided to forego your memory foam mattress, pack up the car and spend the weekend camping with 70,000 of your soon to be closest friends.
"...don't get caught unprepared going into what can only be described as one of the most unique and rewarding festival atmospheres."
Whether you're traveling 20 miles away from the suburbs, or 2000 miles away from across the country, don't get caught unprepared going into what can only be described as one of the most unique and rewarding festival atmospheres. TomorrowWorld and Dreamville are not the Music Midtown 'walk in the park' of this past weekend, and that's why we've turned to our rsvpATL festival veterans to give you a real take to help you prepare for TomorrowWorld with an emphasis on Dreamville.
Arrive During the Day on Thursday
Most campers will arrive on Thursday to Dreamville to set up their homes for the next four nights. Dreamville opens its doors at 10 am and if the previous two years prove any indicator for future behavior, there will already be a line of folks waiting to get their equipment searched and set up. Coming later in the day on Thursday only bodes for longer lines, search times, and camping locations further from the stages inside the festival grounds. Coming duirng the day also allows you ample opportunity to take advantage of daylight prior to Thursday's 'The Gathering' that kicks off the festival. Think of it as an easy way to not lose things in the dark the first night of camp.
This year they have increased the size of the Dreamville setup, but also sold more tickets. Last year those arriving Friday were positioned in what some may call BFE, in the middle of the parking lot and away from a lot of the elements that make Dreamville uniquely Dreamville. Save yourself the extra steps and lackluster experience - arrive on Thursday during the daytime if at all possible.
If you don't already have Dreamville added on to your ticket, go ahead and do so as an upgrade to maximize the full festival experience.
Additional Tip - Practice setting up your tent and air mattress ahead of Thursday just to make sure you've got all the poles in tact and there are no holes or problems with your pump. If your last festival was the last time you brought out that tarp, you never know what may have crawled up in there.
Cart Your Belongings
"The Gathering" on Thursday night annually serves more as a celebration for completing set-up and crowning of who's most fit this fall, than eager arrival. Make that a celebration you can actually raise your arms for with the assistance of a cart. Radio Flyers from your childhood won't cut it. Bring the big wheels. In 2013, the Dreamville grounds had just seen some rain and it made the terrain terribly mushy and impossible to roll a dolley or shopping cart with small wheels over. Last year was a bit more manageable but [bigger] wheels that roll rather than slide in the sludge always trump exerting more effort.
So you didn't elect to get an Easy Tent setup. You'll see all kinds of inventive means (and price-gouging pedicabs) of individuals carting their items from where they park to the security gates and scanners of Dreamville. Work smart, not hard and pickup that cart/wagon along with some bungee cords. This avoids your entire camp feeling like pack mules and makes Sunday or Monday's packup of all those EZ-Up tents and folding chairs bearable.
Additional Tip - Supposedly this year there will be a 'moving staff'. What that means is anyone's guess. There could be 5 there could be 50 helping hands but expect that they'll be constantly occupied (or exhausted). Bellhop is the name of the helper service being offered.
Ice, Ice, Baby.
No one wants a warm beer, and certainly no one enjoys tossing spoiled food. Ice in Dreamville was hit or miss each day based on what time you got up to purchase it and each individual trading posts' availability. Go ahead and save all those sports drink and water bottles and fill them up with water to freeze. Frozen bottles serve as extra cold drinking water throughout the weekend, and are extremely effective (free) means for keeping all your coolers, well -- cool.
Additional Tip - Spring for the few extra dollars and buy a few pounds of Dry Ice from the local grocery store. Usually Publix and Kroger carry the penguin brand that is great for keeping stuff basically frozen cold all weekend. Just be sure to separate the dry ice blocks from your food or beer with a towel or partition in your cooler with cardboard to avoid exploding cans or rock-hard meats.
Don't Get Left in the Dark
Beyond the dim string lights that adorn the Boardwalk in Dreamville, you're definitely going to need something else other than glowsticks at 1am to try and find the lighter for your cigarette. Inexpensive solar-powered LED lanterns hang directly from the top of your canopy and will be a godesend late at night. Not to mention no need for batteries when you've got the lumens of the sun charging it all day. The festival frowns on open flames in Dreamville at individual campsites, as long as you're careful and don't ignite a campfire, a couple dozen tea lights offer a nice ambient touch that serves the same purpose.
Additional Tip - It may seem superflous, but snagging a cheap head lamp from WalMart for < $8 can mean the difference between you stepping onto versus over a tent stake once the sun goes down in the campgrounds and piercing your foot with tetnus to hop over to Grady Hospital is never a fun way to leave a festival. Highly recommended for anyone even walking around to the bathroom or porta potty in the middle of the night as well.
Lock It Up
A major festival, regardless of how laid-back the atmosphere or friendliness of its attendees, will always have a few rotten apples that spoil the bunch. Between the first and second years of TomorrowWorld, there was an increased presence of pick-pockets and crime. Stories emerged on social media of several incidents of phones being stolen from people's pockets, their backpacks being slashed and contents taken, and even random Dreamville moseyers stealing people's valuables from their tents. Look into a phone tether or lanyard that has ability to clip to your belt loop. Something short, less than 6' should be ample if all you're looking to do is go from a photo of the mainstage back to your pocket. While small tent locks can be a pain to deal with for carrying another key or memorizing a combination, they are a quick peace of mind for someone inside festival grounds not to worry about their valuables back at camp. Get to know your neighbors. This is one of those 'see something, say something' sorta ventures.
Additional Tip - Bring a burner phone. That old RAZR from the 1990s that still takes your SIM card may be just the thing you are grateful you used for the weekend rather than a $600 6s. There's minimal service, your snaps aren't going through anyways and if you're a chronic phone-destroyer, TomorrowWorld is breeding grounds for LCD screen destruction. TMobile is a sponsor again this year as they were last year and had set up enhanced service for their networks, but meeting up with people even on TMobile's network was difficult. Set meeting spots and times using totems/landmarks always helps for locating your group.
Turn it Up...
You'll spend half the weekend at your campsite and believe it or not, the only sounds you'll hear other than beers being cracked open from your neighbors is the distorted bass from stages once music starts. Keep the party going with your own tunes. Many camping festivals have tents right by your cars, Dreamville is not one of these festivals so there are no car speakers at your disposal. Buy a good Bluetooth speaker or bring a powerful portable sound system. Don't forget the speaker's charger or backup batteries so there's never a lapse in dancing.
Additional Tip - Most Bluetooth speakers also have an AUX input. Out at camping, phone battery is at a premium. Plug up using your AUX and save the battery and easily be able to pass around the. Yes, it's old school but saves the precious battery juice of your phone.
Turn it Down...
This past Spring, Coachella sent out a tiny accessory we commend the promoters Goldenvoice for including along with all of their wristbands - ear buds. The stages of TomorrowWorld are massive, and the sound is even larger. You'll be up close with new friends damaging your ears with the volumes. If you've ever put in ear plugs at a concert you'll know they dampen the sound and enhance bass while limiting the damaging volume. Ear buds are great for blocking out all the sounds of closeby campers after the music stops. And yes, we are talking about the sounds the neighboring couple-everyone-knows-got-frisky-last-night-under-the-stars makes. Don't forget Sunday night is a total lunar eclipse, so we expect everyone to be culminating their last night at the festival in extra special fashion.
Additional Tip - If getting a good few hours sleep is part of your plan to help recharge, there is no reason not to spring for the full 'luxuries' like a tent fan. Similar to the hanging lantern, there are small solar and battery operated fans one can use to keep the insides of a tent cool. If there wasn't already an air mattress planned to be packed in your gear, a simple twin mattress (or even summer pool floatie) will make all the difference and worth every dollar of its inexpensive price tag.
There are numerous vendors set up inside the festival ground and TomorrowWorld for purchase. For the inevitable copious amounts of drinking that will be had, at least offset it with a good meal throughout the day. While the vendors can be pricey, plan a trip to the local Walmart or grocery store before and plan to bring in some food for cooking. Dreamville offers charcoal and grills within the campsites for everyone to use and can be a great way to meet new people too. Last year we actually met a professional Chef from Tennessee (who came out alone) schleppin' out pork chops for all who were gathered and were interested. Vitamin C, Pedialyte, Airborne and of course your favorite flavor of CapriSun - all great items to add to the cart while you're at the store.
Additional Tip - Book one of Chef Kevin Gillespie's (former Top Chef Contestant and Executive Chef of Woodfire Grill Atlanta) special tastings. They're available starting at $39 each of the three nights and features unique spread of high class eats. Purchase a voucher in advance and bring it during your reservation time.
You've already taken Friday off of work or school to ensure you enjoy the most of the festival, let's not kid yourself in thinking Monday will be business as usual. Following the final headliner on Sunday, you'll head back to Dreamville or home and finally exhaustion will set in after all the late nights and dance moves. You've earned a day off. A real one. Schedule that massage and apologize to your roommates for the half-hour shower you will take followed by the 12 hour coma when you'll reconnect with that mattress of yours. Thank us Tuesday when your boss greets you with a smile rather than a tap on the shoulder to rudely awaken your at-work slumber.
That being said, the quickest and cheapest refreshing body massage can be had at any hour throughout the fest with a family supply of wet wipes.
Additional Tip - Bring a pedometer or set up the one in your phone (S-Health for Galaxy Owners) that takes advantage of the built-in accelerometer. You will be amazed at how many miles you are actually walking each day between Dreamville and along the festival grounds and can use it as justification for that deep-tissue massage.
Cash is King
As much as TomorrowWorld likes to tell you to top off with your wristbands and use tokens, last year their systems were prone to go down. No general store owner is going to turn down your cash for that pack of cigarettes at 3am when they're losing business because there was no cell service or network to let you tap your wristband. Even while getting to the festival, the pedi-cab sherpas and parking attendants (parking is $90 day-of at Dreamville so buy in advance and save $30) were all taking cash. Inside the fest bartering happens and is great, but party favors other festivalgoers had weren't walking around with a smartphone and Square to swipe your plastic.
Additional Tip - This isn't Burning Man, but the philosophy many international festivalgoers adopt for TomorrowWorld is very much so one of a barter and trade and help out fellow attendee. Bring something that you can contribute. This could be additional meat to throw on the grill, there's a girl on TomorrowWorld Reddit already advertising her free glitter makeovers; whatever it is, contribute to the event by bartering and meeting new people rather than paying outright cash. (Free Hugs go a long way if you're a good hugger...)
And that's it! Be Yourself this weekend, Be safe and have a F*cking Blast at an amazing festival unparalleled anywhere else in the country. Ride that high and be sure to embrace all the diversity in food, music, and people around you. If you see rsvpATL set up in Dreamville, come say hello, have a drink and share photos and moments with us using #TWrsvpATL. We'll be around the festival grounds posting photos and interviews here throughout the weekend on our blog so stay tuned as we post the best of each day.
Oh yeah, there's also that whole 300 artists music thing going on for three days!