The Road to TomorrowWorld

A look inside Atlanta's EDM oasis

The organizers of Boon, Belgium's TomorrowLand, reviewed nearly 100 sites before deciding that an unassuming tract of Georgia farmland would become home to one of America's largest EDM festivals. In 2013, the large-scale EDM production company ID&T announced that Chattahoochee Hills, a mostly rural town nestled in Fulton county's southwest corner, would be home to TomorrowLand's American counterpart, TomorrowWorld. The site was selected because it recalled the pastoral beauty of the Belgian countryside where it all began.

Since then, TomorrowLand has blossomed with the explosion of EDM to become one of the most prominent electronic music festivals in the world. Tickets, despite numbering in the hundreds of thousands, are notorious for selling out within seconds. After only one year, TomorrowWorld is following suit. Last year, the festival's inaugural edition drew well over 140,000 attendees from across the United States and from 75 countries to Chattahoochee Hills, contributing $85.1 million to the state's economy, according to independent research firm Beacon Economics. This year, TomorrowWorld brims with even more ambition. The festival's main stage, dubbed the "Volcano Stage," is more than 400 feet wide, 100 feet tall, and erupts sporadically throughout the festival. It even features multiple waterfalls.

This year, TomorrowWorld also expands the trippy "DreamVille" camping grounds, a pop-up town big enough to host 30,000 people, which features its own marketplace, central square, and daily newspaper delivered to people's tents.

Another addition is decidedly less flashy than a fake volcano with a sound system, but no less significant: The first stage dedicated entirely to Atlanta-based acts. Starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, several local DJs, producers, and otherwise electronic acts bring a dose of hometown pride to the fest. "Excitement doesn't begin to describe how I feel," says Anthony Rotella, better known as EDM producer Mayhem.

Rotella has grown far beyond his Atlanta roots to spread his trap-influenced EDM sound around the world thanks to collaborations with heavyweights such as Diplo and Heroes x Villains for the Transformers in the Hood mixtape, and with Gucci Mane for the song titled "Hustle + Ambition."

The lauded producer is a featured artist on the ATL stage along with a host of local DJs — from up-and-comers to international success stories. "With the ATL stage we're able to support and promote local talent and highlight another positive aspect of the city of Atlanta towards the thousands of out of state guests," says TomorrowWorld spokesman Shawn Kent.

Several of Atlanta's electronic tastemakers such as Le Castle Vania and Heroes x Villains will join the stage to highlight EDM's massive presence in Atlanta's club music scene.

The festival's commitment to marry local cooperation with the financial backing of an international festival has fanned the enthusiasm of electronic diehards and producers. But for Rotella, TomorrowWorld's allure is obvious. "Those who experienced it last year already know the deal," Rotella says. "An unparalleled festival experience featuring a ridiculous lineup, placed in a setting which embodies why Georgia is one of the most beautiful places in the world."

Mayhem’s guide to Sunday’s ATL Stage


  • Ryan Patrick
  • LOCALS ONLY: Atlanta producer Mayhem plays the ATL stage at 10 p.m.

Eddie Gold warms up the stage Sunday. I've seen him crush the club plenty of times and know he's gonna bring it to TomorrowWorld. 2 p.m.

Midnite Panda: Another ATL artist doing things right. Able to kill it in a number of styles; our city will be proud of this Swoop Gang DJ. 5 p.m.

Mantis will undoubtedly deliver a skull-crushing set. These two have been killing it for years in the city with their dub/drumstep bangers and will no doubt bring it. 6 p.m.

Popeska has been making big waves in ... Atlanta and elsewhere, and I'm happy that I'll finally have the opportunity to catch him. 7 p.m.

Must Die! may have moved to Berlin a few months ago, but his connection to our city is super strong. I'm beyond proud to tell people he's from Atlanta! His production has grown from awesome to incredible over the past few years. Seeing him DJ live when we toured together with Datsik and the Firepower Most Wanted Tour, I confirmed myself as a fan of the energy and mixing he brings to a performance. 8 p.m.

Heroes x Villains set the bar and wrote the script for plenty of EDM's current trends. Proud to call them some of my closest friends, HxV are trendsetters in so many facets. Expect the essence of Atlanta club music juxtaposed with a dark, brooding aesthetic that's inspired the entire Trap sound. 9 p.m.

After I perform, make sure to stick around for Le Castle Vania. He's another seminal part of Atlanta's current nightlife scene. His show FUCK YESSS defined so much of the crowd and the vibe in Atlanta, which I'm proud to have been a part of! His DJ sets are always meticulously edited to cause a stage-diving, violent explosion ... that has caught the attention of Deadmau5 and his Mau5trap label for a very good reason. 11 p.m.