Attending an electronic music festival isn’t normally in John Woodward‘s weekend plans. But the senior director for foreign investment at the Metro Atlanta Chamber refused to miss the TomorrowWorld festival held at the Bouckaert Farm in Fairburn, 15 miles west of Atlanta‘s airport Sept. 28.
“Not many people recognize how significant this is for Atlanta,” Mr. Woodward said of the festival, which is the first overseas incarnation of the seminal, globally renowned TomorrowLand festival held annually since 2005 in Boom, Belgium.
The Bouckaert Farm, which stretches along 12 miles of the Chattahoochee River and belongs to Belgian native Carl Bouckaert, founder and chairman of Dalton-based Beaulieu Group LLC, was selected from 100 possible sites around the world.
“It has to do with the importance of getting your name out there,” Mr. Woodward told Global Atlanta. “One of the greatest hurdles overseas is doing just that. Once they learn about Atlanta and the Southeast, we have a compelling sell.”
When Mr. Woodward pitches metro Atlanta abroad, he often gets questions about New York, Los Angeles, even Las Vegas and Miami. “I call it the CSI effect,” he said in reference to the well-known cities featured by various versions of the crime show.
Of course Mr. Woodward’s presentations are generally to senior executives and not folks who travel miles from separate continents to spend three days jumping up and down, keeping up with the electronic vibrations coming from enormous sound stages.
Nevertheless, TomorrowLand is well-known throughout the Benelux countries, which the Atlanta chamber visits to attract foreign companies.
“Yes, it’s a different demographic,” Mr. Woodward said. “But many are from countries with which we are engaged. And it’s the younger people who will be entering the workforce and learning about the world, seeking out new opportunities.”
The event, which reportedly attracted more than 100,000 participants over the course of the three days, was a total success, according to Dan Nolan, the CEO of Atlanta-based Tents Unlimited Inc., who along with his partners formed the joint venture Epic Tents LLC, with Gunter Willems of Belgium.
“It was a home run,” he told Global Atlanta. “The weather was beautiful; everyone had a great time; more than 50,000 came every day and we all got paid.”
The Epic Tents team had shipped 80 containers full of materials for the Atlanta festival to assure that it maintained the same atmosphere as its counterpart in Boom.
Five hundred of the Bouckaert Farm’s 8,000 acres provided the site for eight sound stages, each with its own musical theme and decorations including the flags of 70 nations that waved in the fall breezes sweeping over the idyllic terrain.
The good news for those who missed this year’s premier U.S. incarnation, they can go next year and then the next three following years: The farm signed a 5-year contract with the organizers.
To learn more about TomorrowWorld, click here.