What can be said about Tomorrowland that hasn’t been said already? If you’re a festival junkie and follow the scene religiously, Tomorrowland falls within the Big 3 of major electronic music festivals, the other two being Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, and Las Vegas’s Electric Daisy Carnival. Unfortunately for many of us, making the trip to Belgium seems out of reach, unattainable even, so we come to terms with the fact that we may never go.
I was once this person. The mere thought of planning a trip across the Atlantic for a music festival seemed so far out that I just accepted the fact a trip to the land of Tomorrow wasn’t happening in my foreseeable future. From this acceptance I also downplayed just how great the festival could actually be. “I’ve been to plenty of major music festivals, can Tomorrowland really be that special? They’re all more or less the same,” I would tell myself. Fortunately for me, I was already in Europe and received the opportunity to check out Boom’s booming festival and find out first hand how wrong I was. After experiencing the madness in Belgium’s small village, I am here to declare it once and for all: Tomorrowland is the best festival in the world and here is why.
Total Immersion from Arrival to Departure
From the moment you touched down in Belgium to the moment you left, Tomorrowland had you immersed into their fantasy world. When arriving at Brussels airport, guests were greeted by a party of performers who immediately got everyone into the Tomorrowland spirit. It was a day before the festival gates were even open, yet the producers behind the festival wanted you to know that the party had already begun. Those same guests who were staying in Brussels were also treated to a surprise party that Thursday night at a secret location downtown. For those who were camping in Dreamville, the fiesta got started with the Gathering. It didn’t matter where you arrived or where you were staying, no matter what, there was a pre-party for you that night before. What was even more delightfully surprising was what occurred the Monday after the festival had finished. After passing through the security at Brussels airport, I could hear faint thumping growing in the distance. Lo and behold, a DJ booth was set up smack in the middle of the terminal and Tomorrowlanders were treated to one last set before heading home.
Perfectly Curated Stages
Are you one of those techno elitists? Or are you someone who exclusively rides on the trance train? Perhaps you only like dirty dubstep? Or maybe you don’t care and just wanted to see some mainstream EDM bangers drop all weekend. It didn’t matter as Tomorrowland had stages perfectly curated for all your musical tastes. Not only were the stages showcasing certain genres, but they were set up in such a way to show you a particular side of that genre, whether it was curated by an artist, label, or promoter. Wanted to get groovy to some outrageous tech-house? Elrow was the stage for you. If you wanted to get into the darker sounds of techno you probably ventured to Adam Beyer’s Drumcode. If you wanted to get down to some of that Dirty Dutch then Afrojack and his Jacked stage had you covered. No matter what you wanted, Tomorrowland had exactly what you needed.
In a day and age where you hear about the horrific atrocities festivals are committing when it comes to operational logistics, it was extremely satisfying to see Tomorrowland have theirs down to a T. For as many people as there were in the tiny village of Boom, it never felt as though it were overcrowded. The pathways were set up in a manner so that they could only be walked along on in one direction. Because of this, there was always a steady and consistent flow of traffic. There wasn’t any pushing, shoving, or bumping and that made navigating the festival a literal walk in the park.
It goes without saying that Tomorrowland has some of the best festival production in the world, but I’d make the case that it easily has the best festival production in the world. I’m sure you have seen the pictures of the stages and they obviously speak for themselves, but what you don’t see in pictures or live streams are all of the performers and decorum around the festival grounds. From the entertainers blowing thousands of bubbles by as you walked around, the fountains spouting colorfully lit water out of cartoonish looking lily pads, or the intricate sculptures looming over the site, everything was done with such precise and exact intention to take you to another world. In this way, at times Tomorrowland felt less like a festival and more like a theme park.
I was fortunate enough to experience the Tomorrowland Comfort Deck by the Mainstage. Comfort would be an understatement for what the festival offered its VIP guests. Exhausted from a long day of dancing? Relax and loosen your muscles in one of the massage chairs or swap into a bathing suit and soothe yourself in one of the hot tubs. With decks that had unparalleled views of the Mainstage, those who had VIP were truly treated to something special.
It is going to happen inevitably at every festival. You’re going to have to use the toilet at some point or another and for most festivals it’s a moment you dread. This was not the case however at Tomorrowland as even the porta-potties could A) flush everything away and B) were carefully cleaned and maintained by workers throughout the day. While some toilet areas obviously saw more traffic than others, the festival did their best effort to keep them hygienic and comfortable usable. To top it off, they had spray stations right when you left these areas where you could freshen up with some Axe or Dove body spray. You won’t see this kind of effort made by many festivals when it comes to personal hygiene so when you do see it you truly appreciate Tomorrowland for the kind of detailed planning they actually make.
People of Tomorrow!
When all is said and done, what makes the festival is the all the attendees in it. With party people arriving from all over the world ready to dance, the vibe was nothing short of incredible. When I say you saw people from all walks of life I mean ALL WALKS OF LIFE. One of the highlights was seeing an elder couple come in with a color-coordinated matching outfits getting their groove on to Solomun. If that is not me and my wife in 40 years then I will absolutely be disappointed in my marriage. Another highlight was seeing a group of excited festival goers following around a worker picking up and throwing away trash giving her an excited cheer for each piece of eliminated litter. These sort of silly and outrageous antics you saw was what made Tomorrowland so fun and at the end of the day unforgettable.