Mud has a way of capturing the popular memory of a music festival. After stormy weather hit this year’s massive TomorrowWorld, an electronic dance music gathering held in Chattahoochee Hillso, Georgia on September 25-27, images circulated online of self-identified festival goers sleeping, stranded, on the soggy ground. Organizers of the event, which last year drew 160,000 people, ultimately closed off the final day to anyone not among the estimated 40,000 on-site campers.
TomorrowWorld has promised refunds, and a festival spokesperson told NPR in a statement, “The safety of our attendees is our top priority.” But the public-relations disaster came at a curious time for the fest’s parent company, SFX Entertainment, and the world of EDM as a whole.
On October 14, SFX faces a self-imposed deadline for considering offers to buy all or part of the EDM-focused conglomerate. SFX’s D-Day arrives after multiple postponements, and after its colorful chief executive, the veteran radio and live music impresario Robert F.X. Sillerman, scrapped an offer to buy the roughly 60% of the business he didn’t already own. The backdrop is a precipitous fall in SFX’s