BY MELISSA RUGGIERI
After TomorrowWorld took a disastrous turn last fall thanks to the perfect storm of lousy weather and poor planning, many wondered if the mega-EDM festival would be back in 2016.
The fest’s future does appear to be in jeopardy, but not necessarily because of the fallout from September’s mud bath.
On Monday, SFX Entertainment, the company behind TomorrowWorld and Tomorrowland Brazil and a stakeholder in the Electric Zoo in New York, Rock in Rio and about a dozen other global events, filed for bankruptcy.
According to a statement from the company, the filing will eliminate more than $300 million in debt, allowing SFX the ability to “continue to prepare for, plan and produce all of its festivals and events around the world and in the United States without interruption.”
But while that is true for the Tomorrowland festivals in Belgium and Brazil, the company isn’t ready to commit to the future of TomorrowWorld, which has brought tens of thousands of EDM fans to Bouckaert Farm in Chattahoochee Hills since 2013.
Tomorrowland spokesperson Debby Wilmsen said in a statement, “In light of the present situation, no concrete plans have yet been made for TomorrowWorld 2016. We are currently exploring all possibilities. Tomorrowland has always worked from a long-term philosophy and in this context, all options are being considered to ensure that, like in Belgium and Brazil, the festival will have a bright future in the United States as well.”
She added, “However, we have noticed that our vision and goals, including a long-term strategy, are different from those of the publicly listed company.”
The first year of TomorrowWorld brought more than $85 million into the state, while the economic impact of the 2014 gathering was $93.9 million, according to studies commissioned by the event’s producers. In 2014, 160,000 people attended the sprawling event that has drawn top names in the genre, including Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, David Guetta and Afrojack.
TomorrowWorld is contracted through 2023 at the farm in Chattahoochee Hills.
Since September’s headline-grabbing scenario of stranded vehicles and concertgoers, which resulted in thousands of refunds, numerous attempts have been made to talk to TomorrowWorld organizers to no avail.