In the eyes of those who listen to electronic dance music, Tomorrowland is the party to attend. The lineup always includes top name artists from all over the world and the production is exceptional; so if you were lucky enough to obtain a ticket, you are in for a real festival treat. Music aside, the people of Tomorrowland truly makes this festival what it is.
Tickets sold out at an incredible rate, selling out general admission tickets for both weekends in a matter of minutes. In 2013, Tomorrowland holds the record for selling out general admission tickets within one second.
Tomorrowland has just finished out its two weekend long festival; their first time hosting two weekends in a row. This year was a special year for officials and attendees alike, as it was the 10-year anniversary for Boom’s beloved festival. People came from over 120 different countries to include 214 different nationalities, all coming together for one reason: the love of the music.
When ID&T Belgium hosted this festival for the first time back in 2005, Armin van Buuren was one of its few performers. It is no surprise that even 10 years later, Armin still has a time slot in the schedule, and a good one at that, closing the first night of three to a packed field of loving fans. This year’s mainstage performances also included Tiesto, Hardwell, Kaskade, and many more iconic names in the scene.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Whatever part of the globe you may be traveling from for this festival, you can expect to meet people from the opposite side of the world. This festival is for anyone who loves electronic music, but also who loves to travel. I say the latter because this festival contains people from 120 different countries. You will see flags from every part of the globe represented, hear all kinds of different accents, and witness how music can unify us all.
ATM lines will be rather long, so I suggest arriving with cash. You exchange your euro for Tomorrowland tokens to purchase food and drinks. Merchandise can paid with any standard forms of payment, however, tokens are not an option for payment at the merchandise booths. Booze bags are also a great option, however, this year they had those available for pre-order only. The booze bag includes tokens, earplugs, a mini-journal, and a festival guide.
Some of the best food in Belgium can also be found inside the festival. From frites (Belgian French fries) to sushi to kebabs, all the food were fresh and the variety was endless for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. Drink stands far and wide sprinkled the festival grounds. For those looking for something different than Maes Pils, which is the main beer sponsor on site, there is a Belgium beer cafe and a cava and champagne bar.
If you are one of many who love to collect festival tickets and wristbands, then you are in for a treat with Tomorrowland. Their bracelet is equipped with a sensor that beeps you in and out of the festival at an incredible rate, but also has two micro-lights that flash in massive groups while at the main stage. From all colors of the rainbow, it was truly magical to see a sea of wrists lighting up at the same time. The bracelet also has a standard belt buckle, so it safe on the wrist, but also removable if one wishes to do so. One aspect of the wristband that was advertised, yet did not work for anyone I asked, was the Facebook feature. Two individuals could send a Facebook friend request each other while pressing a small heart button on the bracelet while touching the wristbands together. I tried this with a few friends, but had no success. This is definitely a cool concept if they can pull it off in the future.
De Schorre is a recreational area in the town of Boom, Belgium and is a truly beautiful venue to host such a party. Boom is located just between Antwerp and Brussels, and is easy to get to if you choose to stay in either one of the two cities. The festival grounds are rather large, so prepare for lots of walking between stages and wear comfortable shoes. Also, prepare for rain, as this festival falls in the middle of the rainy season. When it rains, it pours. However, do not look at this as a downfall. The energy of the crowd goes up ten fold and the rain usually lasts for at most 20 minutes at a time. Some areas of the festival also distribute free ponchos as well.
Dreamville is a temporary city created by 35,000 festival attendees wishing to engage in the festival camping experience. Dreamville includes shops, showers, and an opening party on Thurday called “The Gathering.” The standard camping package requires that you bring your own camping materials. There are also packages that include tents, separate sanitary facilities, and more. For those who love to camp, this is an ideal option. The rain only occurs during the evening, so the mornings include sunshine, early partying, and positive vibes all around.
Traveling from California with the inkling to see other parts of Europe, I decided to go with the hotel Global Journey package. When we arrived to the Hotel Sofetil Europe, they gave us our shuttle bracelet (which we didn’t use) and our festival bracelet, as well as the daily Tomorrowland newspaper. I opted out of camping because I did not want to either bring a tent or have to buy one once I got to Belgium. I also opted out of the flight packages because I wanted to create my own schedule for arrivals and departures.
My friends and I decided to rent a car for the days of the festival and split that cost amongst us. Hopefully you have a friend who can drive a manual vehicle, because automatics are nearly double the price to rent. From Brussels to Boom, it took us about 40-45 minutes each way with little to no traffic in either direction. We paid 20 euros for a three-day parking pass; parking was easy to find and it was easy to walk to festival grounds. Once you get to the festival, a simple bag check occurs if any check at all, a beep to get inside, and you’re in! We came in from the top of the hill and it felt like you are walking into wonderland.
Even the smaller stages were incredibly intricate; the trees were fully decorated, and there was a full-length bridge that attendees crossed either onto floating stages or to the main stage. This bridge contained messages from attendees who pre-ordered a piece. I ordered a small piece this year, got an email stating a generalized location of my piece, and a map. I paid 10 euro for this. I was unable to find my piece as my section was pretty big and people were walking, although reading other messages while looking for mine made the time spent well worth it. I am a fan of craft beers; most of my drinking consisted at the Belgium beer café. They never pour two beers into the same glass and all beers were poured fresh with a good head of foam.There were a great variety of local Belgium beers such as Duvel, Judas, and Affligem, each costing three to four tokens. That evening, Tomorrowland’s resisdent DJ’s Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike got the crowd pumped, with Armin van Buuren hitting the decks after the two residents to close out night one.
The second day, my personal favorite, American DJ Kaskade performed. I saw very few Americans the first day, but during this set, I was surrounded not only by US flags, but California flags and Kaskade fat heads galore. I stopped by the Tomorrowland Post Office as well on the second day. Postcards were handed out for free, and you could fill out a postcard and have it mailed from the festival ground officials as long as you had the addresses you needed with you. The second day was also the first round of rain to come down upon Boom. I had a blast when it started raining, as my mentality is that a little mud never hurt anyone. There were some places for shelter if you wished, but those who embraced the rain and danced definitely had more fun than those who ran from it.
The final day, the energy was just as high as the first day.People were really making the most of every minute, and the closing ceremony the final night showed that. From different countries loud chants and songs, to cheers and screams, every moment until the last light turned off included smiling faces, tears, and hugs.
There were noticeable differences between this festival and others I have attended. I did not see anyone having issues with paramedics, beer was more rampant than drugs, and security was friendly and inviting. I sometimes feel America is jaded when it comes to electronic music, as we roll our eyes when “Levels” by Avicii or “Animals” by Martin Garrix comes on. This is not the case in Europe, as everyone screams each and every time these so-called “overplayed tracks” hit the speakers. In addition to this, when a DJ sways their arms or claps their hands to get the crowd to join along, every person all the way to the back of the main stage is participating. Everyone. It is truly a site to see. I am not quite sure why Americans do not like participating in interactive fun such as this, because I can attest that when 180,000 people do it together, it’s absolutely magical. Another significant difference included the space to dance at each stage. People do not crowd the front as violently as they do in the states and it is easy to walk to around the festival grounds at each stage, including the main stage.
My absolute favorite part of the festival is meeting people from all over the world. This year, I met people from Hungary, Brazil, Holland, Australia, and so much more. Holding my California flag, I had someone run up and start singing Katy Perry’s “California Girls” and another person pick me up and throw me on their shoulders. The main stage is also at the bottom of a hill and each day I would spend at least an hour each day doing what I like to describe to my friends as people watching the world. For those travel junkies out there who love electronic music, I could not pick a better festival for you to attend. I promise you will not be disappointed.
By Tiffany Wood, FestPop Sr. Staff Writer Email Comments to:Press@Festpop.com