TomorrowWorld is an electronic music festival held in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, an area right outside of Atlanta (“Welcome to TomorrowWorld,” 2015). On Saturday, things took a turn for the worst at this year’s TomorrowWorld. Festival-goers were stranded on the roads back to their cars that night, and a PR nightmare ensued (Meadow [Wilmsen, personal communication, 2015], 2015).
On Saturday night, the vehicles that were supposed to take people back and forth from the festival to their car got stuck in the mud on the way to pick up people from the festival to take them to their cars (Meadow [Wilmsen, personal communication, 2015], 2015). Tired of waiting, many festival-goers decided to walk back to the area where they had parked their vehicles (Meadow [Wilmsen, personal communication, 2015], 2015). For some of them, this meant walking over five miles (Meadow [Wilmsen, personal communication, 2015], 2015).
Due to these circumstances, officials decided that only the festival-goers who had stayed at the campgrounds, called “Dreamville,” would be allowed to return to the festival on Sunday (Meadow [Wilmsen, personal communication, 2015], 2015). Limiting the capacity of people traveling in and out of the festival grounds would reduce the risk for a night like Saturday (Meadow [Wilmsen, personal communication, 2015], 2015). Festival-goers and electronic music enthusiasts were not impressed with TomorrowWorld’s lack of precautions for the festival’s transportation system. People complained on social media. TomorrowWorld released a statement:
“Friends, We understand and hear your frustrations and disappointments in the developments at TomorrowWorld over the last weekend. Our only goal was to create together with you the best weekend of the year, and we are heartbroken that we were not able to provide some of our precious fans with the full TomorrowWorld experience, which includes the complete journey to and from the festival. The combination of your positive energy and our hard work did not shine through and we completely understand your dissatisfaction. TomorrowWorld was also let down by a number of external factors which did not allow us to provide you with the full experience you deserve. We realize we can’t turn back time and make it perfect, but for those who wish to, we are here to communicate directly and listen to all your personal stories, frustrations and questions. You are the true People of Tomorrow and deserve all the respect in the world. As a part of this, the refund policy is active here…http://www.tomorrowworld.com/refund-policy” (Facebook, 2015).
TomorrowWorld and Public Relations
If I were a PR official for TomorrowWorld, I would have added an actual apology in the released statement. Nowhere in the statement did it say, “we apologize” or “we are sorry.” I think it was necessary for the officials of TomorrowWorld to apologize, and they did not do that.
In the released statement, officials should have apologized for the lack of precautions and the lack of back-up transportation methods at the festival. There should have been back-up methods of transportation for festival-goers to travel to and from the festival to their vehicles.
Officials also should have apologized for the distress that their lack of preparation caused festival-goers. Many festival-goers had to travel by foot back to their vehicle that Saturday night, and did not get to attend Sunday’s festival (Meadow [Wilmsen, personal communication, 2015], 2015).
Overall, I thought the released statement was lacking. They seemed compassionate in that they were reaching out to festival-goers and wanted to hear their frustrations. Linking the refund policy was also good. However, these attributes do not make up for the fact that officials of TomorrowWorld did not include an actual apology. Officials of TomorrowWorld should have included an actual apology in their released statement.
This analysis was written for PRCM3050 Case Studies in Public Relations at Auburn University. The image is not cited in the reference list because the image was not included in the original paper.
TomorrowWorld. (2015 September 29). “Friends, We understand and hear your frustrations and disappointments in the developments at TomorrowWorld over the last weekend. Our only goal was to create together…” [Facebook status update]. Retrieved on October 7, 2015 from http://www.facebook.com/tomorrowworld
Meadow, M. (2015 September 29). TomorrowWorld Apologizes for Fiasco, Releases Official Statement. youredm. Retrieved on October 7, 2015 from http://www.youredm.com/2015/09/29/tomorrowworld-responds-to-the-fiasco-in-the-worst-way-possible/
Welcome to TomorrowWorld. (2015 September 29). TomorrowWorld. Retrieved on October 7, 2015 from