People of Tomorrow…
We’re pretty sure you’ve all seen the AFTERMOVIES, but we’re here to tell you what it’s really like to experience the most popular EDM festival in the world…
Tomorrowland – The holy grounds/ our home.
We are privileged to say that we have attended:
- 2014 The Key to Happiness (10 year anniversary and the one where we met)
- 2015 The Secret Kingdom of Melodia (the one where we crossed paths but didn’t know we liked each other)
- 2016 The Elixir of Life (The one Ginge went to without Bread, as he lived in Espana)
- 2017 Amicorum Spectaculum (The one we weren’t supposed to go to, but we did last minute and DID IT AS A COUPLE)
As such we have so much info we want to share with you. Whether you are a Tomorrowland Rookie or a Tomorrowland Veteran, we hope we can share something new with you. Bearing in mind we have four years of adventures to cram into this review, we aim to keep compact, but this will be a loooooong post for sure. We aim to answer all of your questions about what it is really like to unite at the biggest party on the planet!
Boom! You’ve Arrived
Whether you’re arriving by bus, plane, car or train, every Tomorrowlanders destination is a quaint little town in the Belgium countryside called Boom (which seems quite fitting really). This festival is the highlight of the year for so many of the residents, and you can really feel the excitement buzzing about the place. The shops ready up their stocks, the official TML flags hang from many of the houses, and some of the Belgium town folk set up their own mini welcome party on their front lawns, sitting with a beer as they watch the hordes of excited party people arrive. (Looking for info on ‘How to get to Tomorrowland’, we got you covered further down)
Like many festivals, Tomorrowland takes place for 4 days over a weekend – Thursady, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The gigantic fantasy themed campsite, Dreamville, is open from the Thursday; playing host to one of the biggest warm-up parties ever: The Gathering! …but we’ll get to that later . . . As we write this review, we will take you through some of our experiences in a ‘sort-of’ chronological order, from first-impressions to the campsite, from the warm-up to the main event, and all information surrounding this EDM Wonderland (including all the bits they don’t show you in the Aftermovies). At the end of the review, we will give you some helpful tips to ensure your Tomorrowland experience is the best it can be.
Your ‘Key to Happiness’
Your key to happiness is your wristband – we can’t emphasise enough how important this wristband is. It will either be sent to you in the post (delivered in a high-quality theatrical box filled with info and goodies), or you may need to pick it up at box-office stands, found at the Dreamville entrances. This band is your ticket, it’s your entry to both Dreamville and Tomorrowland, it’s your payment method and it’s you souvenir. And yes you read that correctly, you use your wristband to pay for everything (minus ciggies – take a little pocket money for these), as Tomorrowland is a CASH FREE festival and uses its own currency called ‘Pearls’ (electronic version of tokens). These ‘Pearls’ can be loaded onto your bracelets before and during the festival, either online using the Tomorrowland App, or using various top-up points scattered around the campsite and festival grounds (Cash and card accepted). However TML do encourage you to top up your band prior to arriving by using a special offer as an incentive, for every €100 you top up in one transaction you receive 2 bonus pearls. This year the exchange rate was:
- € 20 – 13 Pearls so 1 pearl = approx. 1.5 euros.
The bracelets themselves always look really cool, just make sure you look after them!! On the back there is a serial number, which you will use to activate your bracelet so you can use it. TIP: Take a photo of this, as if you lose your bracelet, TML can replace it but ONLY if you have this no. and can validate your identity with ID.
We can confirm, it would SUCK to lose your bracelet!
Somewhere over the Rainbow(s) . . .
It doesn’t really sink in until you see THAT giant rainbow (There are two). You may have seen them in the videos, you may have heard about them from your friends but once you see the famous Dreamville Rainbow entrances for the first time, everything starts to feel a bit real! There is an exciting buzz as hundreds and thousands of eager party tunas queue for the campsite, eager to get pitched and ready for The Gathering.
Occupying the entrances are numerous stalls selling food, drink, and merch, as well as TML info staff who have been strapped to giant helium ballons with the letter I on (They’re not hard to miss, but they look ready to float away). Attendees begin to queue, from afar you hear the beat of music blasting from a portable speakers, people pose for photos, camera crews wind their way through the crowd and you feel the atmosphere fill with excitement and positive energy!
TO NOTE: The entrances for the other accommodations are a little closer to the festival entrance, we have yet to experience these, but we’re pretty sure the atmosphere parallels that of Dreamville.
The entrance towards the back of Dreamville, lets called it entrance 2 is closer to the town and is used by many to access the local supermarkets – for SUPPLIES. TIP: Set up camp first. Unless you bring a trolly, empty your suitcases/ bags and take them with you, it makes carrying back heavy beer crates/ water A LOT easier. If not, there is often local young boys with go karts and attached wagons ready to cart your stuff back for you, in exchange for some euros of course (Talk about seizing an opportunity).
On the subject of supplies and entering the camping area, we best mention the security. From 2014-2016 the security has been good. What we mean by this is, every person is searched and bags roughly examined, what this does add is an element of safety in the campsite. However this year was different, although we arrived a little later, around 4pm, we found the security to be a bit blasé. Whether this was due to it being the second weekend, we’re not sure, it just felt a little too laid back.
Every year we have never had any problems bringing in small wheeler trolleys stacked with crates of beer and sacks of easy snacks from the supermarket. Obviously they’re not so keen on glass, fireworks, sharp items, aerosols or drugs. Strangely, Ginger had her jar of Nutella taken off her, only to then see a group of security team dunking their fingers in multiple pots of it. But hey . . . once you’re in, the fun can really begin.
DREAMVILLE – Magnificent Greens
The first thing you notice is that Dreamville isn’t your average camping site… it’s the size of a small town, it even has its own slogan – We breathe by the Sun and live by the Moon. . Like many festival campsites, its split up into coloured sections, with large towers, tents and signs carefully dotted around to help you find your way around. Although it has moved from year to year, the famous Dreamville Marketplace usually sits in the centre of the campsite.
The marketplace itself is comprised of multiple shops, stalls and stands selling things like food, drinks, merchandise and tobacco. It even has its own Lidl supermarket, camping supplies stores, shisha lounge, on-sight laundry, tattoo parlour, Hairdressers and makeup salon! There are phone charging stations, a bakery and the camping site even has its own 24/7 radio station, which is broadcast across the entirety of the Marketplace and Dreamville. Not forgetting the smiley candle shaped fountains that spray a welcoming cool mist, as skip along the magical wooden walkway.
Next to this miniature village is Magnificent Greens, your new home from the next few days, a place to recover and forge new friendships. Each coloured area has its own wooden tower and BBQ area. Here you can purchase fresh bread/ water in a morning, exchange/buy a charger, as well as pick up the daily newspaper. Every year we have been, we have camped in the greens, because there’s so much atmosphere, everybody welcomes each other and even after each night, there’s always an after party going on somewhere.
Plus compared to other camping festivals we have done, this one is extremely well organised. Each area has its own flushable toilet blocks (They’re not just porta-loo’s), they get cleaned ALL OF THE TIME, and there’s always loo roll (YAY). There are also two types of showers, inside and outside. The inside ones are separated by gender and contain individual shower cubicles, however you do have to pay for these and the queues can get REALLY long after about 8:30am. SO TIP: Go early, not only are the lines shorter, if non-existent, it is also cheaper – 1 pearl as opposed to 2.5 after 8:30. In 2015 TML introduced outdoor showers, which are free to use but open for the whole campsite to see your sexy boooddyyyy. Who cares, right? It’s free. The temp of these can vary but they’re usable and open 24 hours, unlike the ones inside. Most happy campers wear bathing suits/shorts, well apart from those drunk lunatics at the end of the night who run through them naked – each to their own, it’s pretty amusing to watch!!
AND if that’s not enough, Tomorrowland have pushed the boundaries even further with their very own chill out area. Honestly it’s one of the best places to go each morning to recover and recuperate. From volleyball to yoga/ meditation, and from breakfast bars to hammocks this place has everything your body/soul needs. Oh and not to mention they fetch in some of the most chilled DJ’s ever to send our those mellow and laid-back vibes.
Oh, we nearly forgot, this year they also introduced a fully equipped gym, cross fit area, and punch bag zone for those who want to get a pump on – we can confirm that this was one area we NEVER went to… not even sorry.
There is so much excitement in the air, whilst strolling through the fairy-tale themed market and you can really feel people taking in the magic. You’ll hear music, you’ll see dancing and you’ll bubble up with anticipation. Once everyone has pitched their tents, bought supplies and cracked open a cold beer or three, everyone slowly makes their way to the thumping stage situated directly between the campsite and mini town. Here a huge boarded dance area lays wait, in front of Dreamvilles only stage, welcoming the crowd, who are all ready to get the party started. Welcome to The Gathering.
It’s time to kick off the most magical weekend of your life. The massive, impressive looking open air stage is used only once – to get all the campers of Dreamville fired up and ready for the 3 days of absolute madness that follow. Each year this warm up event welcomes 30,000 Dreamvillers, as well as a selection of artists. Even some of the festival’s headliners have been known to perform at The Gathering, such as Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Tiesto and Afrojack. If you thought that people might take it easy for this warm-up party, you WRONG! The entire campsite shows up to go absolutely crazy!
The music starts in the early afternoon and finishes at 1am, which gives you loads of time to settle in and get to know your neighbours and your surroundings. You’ll notice a nice variety of music; the earlier deep house and techno sets slowly progress in to some more energetic house and electro as the sun sets over Dreamville. The last few hours are dedicated to some harder ‘Bigroom’ and Hardstyle sets – so there really is something for everyone. The elaborate Gathering stage, with its unique design, lazers and fireworks hints at what’s to come when you enter the gates of Tomorrowland, the following day.
Okay okay, that’s more than enough of a giant playground for adult children right, chill out zone, gym, shisha area, playground, giant open air pre-party? NO!? This year we were astonished to see TML had upped the ante again… As we woke up on the Saturday and all slumped to seize our morning caffeine, something big, bright, bold and bouncy appeared in the midst of the boardwalk. THE WORLD’S MOST AWESOME INFLATABLE ASSULT COURSE – aptly named ‘The Beast’ and, it was completely free.
The first line on their T&C’s board was ‘not to be attempted if under the influence of drugs or alcohol’…. Hmm. Safe to say our TML group conquered the beast, even if Ginge nearly came out with a broken ankle, we smashed it!
Today is a Gift
Rise and shine! As the sun begins to rise, the Tomorrowland teams start delivering the Tomorrowland newspapers to your tents (yes that’s right, Tomorrowland have their own newspapers that they print overnight!!). The festival gates opening at 12pm, and many people will be queuing to get in there as soon as possible. One thing to make you aware of: Dreamville’s entrance is about a 20 minute walk from the festival ground. So, that means if you are camping towards the back of the Magnificent Greens, it could take you just under an hour to get to the festival entrance (it is THAT big). The walk to the festival is pretty exciting plus with such a long walk its worth prepping a drink or to for the journey! There is a winding wooden boardwalk path that leads directly to Tomorrowland’s Dreamville entrance, and it’s decorated with balloons, giant flowers and even more rainbows. Along this path, you’ll see various festival performers, dancers and GET THIS… there are even “crazy bikes” that you can hire to zoom up and down the path, if you don’t fancy the long walk!
Depending on how early you arrive at the festival entrance, there may be some queueing, as you’d expect. Prior to the festival main entrance there are staff handing out clear plastic bags for you to put in any loose belongings, as when you reach the main security you are separated into male and female queues, before heading through metal detectors. Security is as you’d expect it to be at any EDM festival, but for those of you who haven’t been to many before, they’ll check all pockets and bags for food, drink / alcohol, drugs, sharp objects and fireworks. Again, they can be pretty strict here: we tried bringing in some inflatable ‘wooden clubs’ one year to match our cavemen outfits and they were like NOPE. HOWEVER, it is obvious they can be lenient, as once in the holy grounds you will see an array of inflatables and flag poles (we’ve still yet to figure out how you get them in, we tried gazebo poles but of course got them taken straight off us). With your wristbands, you can enter and exit the festival at any time during the hours: 12pm – 11pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (In 2014, Ginge arrived at the entrance at 22:55 and was refused entry… so be warned they can be strict).
Welcome to TOMORROWLAND
And then you’re in! The entrance brings you in to an open area of shops, toilets, first aid and amenities, where you can grab some food, drinks and anything you might need during your time in the Festival grounds. (There is an alternative entrance at the other side of the festival, for people with single day / non-camping wristbands, but we’ve never used it, as we’ve only ever camped). You’ll hear some thumping music coming from one of the smaller tent stages to the side, which like many of the stages, is hosted by a different record label or artist each day. There’s also an information booth in this area, where you can grab a map to help you make your way around the huge festival. When we say huge… we mean HUGE!
The festival itself is spread over a number of small lakes, fields, rivers and forests. There are 15/16 stages across the vast landscape, which range from the unmistakable Mainstage, sitting at the bottom of a bowl-shaped hill (perfect for the hundreds of thousands of party people), to smaller stages and piers floating on the water, and from a giant fire breathing dragon stage (we’re not joking..) to the tiny ‘Rave Cave’, hiding under a grassy hill, made out of bricks. This may be one of the most popular festivals in the world, welcoming 180,000 – 200,000 people per weekend, but due to the smart layout, with long bridges, one way walkways, and interconnecting paths across the many lakes, it never feels TOO busy.
If there is one thing that everyone knows about Tomorrowland, it’s that it has some of, if not THE best stage designs of any festival on the planet. This festival’s rapid rise in popularity over the past few years could be accredited solely to the Main Stage. Each year, the festival has a different theme, and thus this enormous installation is designed and decorated to mirror this. Over the years we’ve seen this incredible structure take many forms – giant talking books, a ‘live’ and smoking volcano with its own waterfalls and foliage, a gigantic castle, a mechanical doorway with a face and an enchanted forest… to name a few.
TIP: As you approach the brow of the hill, that overlooks the mainstage, close your eyes. Whether you are alone or with a big group, just close your eyes as you approach (Get someone to guide you obviously). Once you know you are standing in full view of the stage, open them- We promise you, this will be one of the most unforgettable moments of your life. With a fresh theme each year, this is a moment that is guaranteed to take your breath away time and time again as the festival continues to grow in size, scope and popularity.
Throughout the day thousands congregate on the bowl-shaped hill to celebrate the sounds of a variety of genres. However, it is only at night when you truly see the extent of Tomorrowlands significance, as you watch over a sea of people, united together from all across the globe by one element – MUSIC.
Like many EDM festivals, the majority of the Mainstage music will be ‘Bigroom’, ‘Electro-House’ and some ‘Progressive-House’, but there is also a mix of some Trance, ‘Future/Bass House’and Techno. Although it’s very easy to get lost in the magic and colourful decorations, try not to spend ALL of your time at this stage, as there is much SO MUCH more to see!
………..You can stop for a break here if you like, we told you it was a long one, and this is about half way… sorry, not sorry! (Pop the kettle on, maybe catch a nap)
But wait, there’s more … Stages
We won’t discuss ALL of the stages, as you need some surprises… and many of them change each year anyway! The second largest stage in the Festival sits at the back, closer to the single day / non-camping entrance. To give you some perspective, it can take around 30 minutes to get from one side of the festival to the other! This stage has also taken many forms, we knew it as the open Opera Stage up until this year, when it transformed into the undercover Freedom Stage. This was a complete redesign from the previous ‘open air concept’ and once inside it really emanates club vibes. It has the same elevated balconies as before, encompassing the giant dance floor. Meanwhile three parallel electronic screens run up the wall, curve onto the ceiling and chase each other to the back of the room. It really feels like you’ve just walked in to what could be a nightclub in Ibiza.
Highlights for us include the Rose Garden that was introduced in 2016. A giant mechanical she-dragon shadows over this epic stage, situated right on the edge of a lake behind the grand theatre. Her eyes glow up and move, her head tilts from one side of the crowd to the other and her tail dips and rises out of the waters behind, provided a full 360 degree stage experience. In an interview with one of the stage designers he explained “This is a she-dragon. She’s female! She has a very happy and joyful personality, and she likes people a lot”. This would explain why her wings stretch over the dance floor, as though protecting each and every festival-goer, plus occasionally she breathes rose water over the crowd, apparently to refresh and make them smell good.
Another highlight is the Grand Theatre, a long pier stretching out of the water, which hosts lots of alternative styles of music, including Electro-Swing (the happiest music EVER). This long dancefloor comes with circus performers, dancers on stilts and there is even a guy driving a car that spits out bubbles, which spread out over the lake, as far as the eye can see.
There are many large indoor structures too, like The Garden of Madness: a gigantic dance-complex, decorated inside with all kinds of awesome fantasy themed flowery stuuuuff. There has also been a magical outdoor stage made out of giant jagged mirrors and photo frames. Over the three years we have been, we’ve seen small stages made from wooden sticks, a floating island covered in trees and vine leaves, a giant boat-themed stage in the lake, an underground club below the Ferris Wheel… the list really does go on and on. And we have to mention – The Rave Cave: a small little underground tunnel made of bricks, which only has room for less than 100 sweaty ravers, and blasts out a wicked variety of house, techno and even some ‘Aftermovie Classics’.
Aside from the stages themselves, the festival is impeccable. As you look over the lakes, you’ll see floating flowers, which glow at night and spurt water. The attention to detail is extraordinary and unlike anything you may have seen before. As awesome as Tomorrowland may look in the daytime, the festival becomes an entirely different venue once the sun sets. The sky fills with fireworks, the stages come alive with phenomenally timed pyrotechnics and lighting… we can’t even put it in to words.
It’s all well and good making a review like this but honestly, we cannot tell you how beautiful this festival is. It is something that everyone must experience at least once in their life!
The Crowd / Diversity / Recent Years
We can’t talk about Tomorrowland without mentioning the crowd. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more nationally diverse crowd anywhere. People travel from all over the world, from over 70 different countries… more nationalities represented here than at The Olympics! As you look over the humungous sea of people, you’ll see thousands of different flags, all coming together to celebrate life and one main thing in common – the love for music! You can really tell how excited and happy everyone is to be there. The crowd bring so much positive energy and it won’t take you long to feel confident enough to dive straight in and start chanting away. In 2015, Bread watched from the top of the hill, as people joined hands, held their flags corner to corner and made one long connecting line nationalities, flowing across the width of the main stage crowd. Only to find out a year later that the UK participant was actually Ginge herself – NICE.
Like many things, as Tomorrowland gets more popular, the experience has begun to feel a little more artificial. Over the past two years, we have noticed a decline in the number of attendees who are there solely for the music and the experience. There are many who go now just to take pictures or just to say that “they went to Tomorrowland”. Don’t get us wrong, the crowd is still AMAZING and at end of the day, it’s all about Unity and togetherness.
Lastly and most importantly, if you want to really embrace the full TML experience, you must let go, be sociable, meet new people, join in with crazy dances and smile, that way you can fully enjoy the once in a lifetime opportunity. We, can say with confidence that out of all of the crowds we have been a part of, the TML one is truly the best. No matter where you look, there’s always someone dancing, someone smiling, or someone sharing a special moment – it’s where people go to unite.
Why take a slice, why not eat the whole cake?
Although Tomorrowland’s main attraction is the music, there is also so much to see and do at this giant party playground! The best way to really get an idea of how big this festival, The Ferris Wheel!! It’s also the perfect place to escape the madness, relax and check out ‘DEM VIEWS!! We really recommend you try this during the sunset / night-time. Seeing Tomorrowland from above, when all the stages are illuminated and fireworks paint the sky… is an unforgettable moment. There’s also a secret underground club / stage hidden away just underneath the wheel – check it out!
Every year, the festival becomes more theatrical and fantasy-like. 2017 was our favourite year so far with its ‘Amicorum Spectaculum’ (circus-esque) theme. The Mainstage hosted epic mini-shows between DJ sets: from a fire breathing magician to the ‘puppet-humans’, who were suspended in air by strings, dancing for us under the control of the puppet master who sat at the top of the stage. There was even a tight rope walker who effortlessly moved across the top of the Mainstage, along a thin wire, whilst the speakers below boom with heavy basslines, oh and may we add WITHOUT a harness! Madness. There are also many dancers and performers who make their way around the festival, spreading good vibes and busting some shapes! Many stages and artists will also throw some giveaways to the crowd for the party people to catch.. inflatables, hats, t-shirts, headbands – you name it.
Without spoiling too much, there are loads of quirky little things to see and do here, so we’d like to share a few. You can visit the Post-Office, where you can send letters / postcards to loved ones to let them know you are having the time of your life. There is also the infamous Church of Love – a literal love-shack in which you can go in with someone you’re close to (or maybe not?) and… get jiggy. The nuns outside are very friendly, we haven’t tried it out before, we swear. There is also The Brewery: a large indoor bar-complex with live music throughout the day and night, and one of the best places to grab a beer and say cheers to whoever is next to you, no matter where they’re from (beer is a universal language).
Fancy another break? Yeah, us too…
Food and Drink
Everybody knows that festival food&drink is usually more expensive than in the muggle lands, this is just a fact we have to accept. When it comes to Tomorrowland, they do it right and there is no shortage of food stands around the whole venue, to suit everybody’s taste buds. Organisers understand that people gather here from all around the world and as such the food reflects this, with just about every type of international cuisine available – they call it Foods of the World. Labelled after the country of origin, for example Indian, Mexican, English, Greek, each food stall has selection of different items for you to try. Still hungry? Well then, you can even try something a little sweeter, such as the Belgitude Chocolate Bar, FroYo or Bubble Wafel. One of our favourite post rave snacks of course, has to be the Belgium fries with lashings of mayo. In 2014, on the 10th anniversary they created a unique Tomorrowland sauce for the fries. It was so delicious however every year WE have been back since, they haven’t brought IT back!!! (If anyone knows what it is, please let us know, it’s as infamous as Rick’s Szechuan Sauce). Price wise, it is pretty expensive with food coming in at around 5-8 tokens, Belgium fries were 3.5 with sauce, however you can’t fault the quality or service.
Still not satisfied, why not try a fine dining experience? Yes, that’s right, Tomorrowland have 5 restaurant experiences, one of which is hosted by a Michelin Chef. Options include stimulating all your senses at B-eat, where a DJ and chef work together to create a fully immersive experience. Ginge booked tickets for this in 2015, and raves about it, literally. Situated behind the mainstage, you walk up a set of stairs into a dark room where you are greeted not only with the thuds of the baseline but also an entrée and glass of bubbly. Inside does not follow a tradition restaurant set up, at the far end of the room is the kitchen, in front of that is the DJ, and then it’s the room with standing tables dotted around. The whole affair lasts around an hour, during this time there is an open bar with wine and beer, as well as servers who walk around dishing out each course and as expected pumping b-eats!! Other than this, you have a choice of the ‘Tastes of The World Restaurant’, the ‘Seafood Restaurant’, the ‘Belgian Steakhouse’ and finally the most spectacular of them all, the ‘Tomorrowland Restaurant’. What makes the Tomorrowland Restaurant stand out from the rest is the fact that not only do you get a glass wine alongside your chosen Michelin star meal, the whole experience stands at the top of the mainstage hill, providing an astonishing view while you eat.
If you do fancy one of these options, they can be booked prior to arriving at the festival via the website, but be quick some sell out quickly.
Types of tickets
It is known that to get your hands on Tomorrowland tickets is pretty darn difficult, and can feel like getting your hands on Willy Wonka’s Golden ticket. Prior to this elusive moment there are a lot of things to take into consideration as there are numerous different ticket types available, from Global Journey tickets to single day tickets. Not only are they known for being rather difficult to get hold of, they can also be extremely expensive, there is no hiding that fact, and as such we will do our best to go through each available option, with a guide price (Sadly prices change each year). Prior to ticket sales, you HAVE to pre-register, as when ticket sales go live you can only access them via the specific link that is sent to your registration email. Also if you’re one of the first in 20 to register in your country, you get pre-access to the tickets sales, guaranteeing yourself 4 tickets.
There are FOUR different ticket options with further sub options, these are.
- Tomorrowland Tickets
- Dreamville Packages
- Other Dreamville Accommodation
- Global Journey Packages.
Are you a one day wanderer or can’t get the time off work? Then general day passes are available for the Friday, Saturday or Sunday at 101 euros* each. If you fancy a little more luxury for the day, then you can purchase a pleasure or comfort pass. This entitles you access to certain comfort zones around the festival grounds, the pleasure pass only gives access to 2 zones (one not being the mainstage), whereas the comfort pass provides total access.Weekend passes are available, called ‘Full Maddness Passes’, these allow general access Friday to Sunday, but you cannot enter Dreamville.
If you’re ready to get stuck in to the whole TML journey, then snatching up a Dreamville package is one of the best options, and the one we usually strive for each year. As of 2017 there are now 5 options to choose from, the classic bring your own tent, the pop up tent option for either 1 or 2 people, or the friendship garden, which comes in normal or spectacular. (Jeez, there’s so many options, don’t worry we’ll explain a bit more). In short, each package includes full access to the festival, as well as your chosen sleeping option.
Now in regards to the one or two person pop up tents, these are extremely convenient for those journeying from afar. TML understand the struggles of transporting camping equipment and as such each tent also comes with an inflatable mattress and sleeping bag, all you have to do is collect it. BYOT = €356, 1P pop up = €455, 2P Pop-up = €861. Moving on… the last option for magnificent greens is the friendship garden, offering you chance to secure a camping place with up to 10 friends, plus they provide your very own Tomorrowland ‘shelter’ (It’s basically a funky shaped Gazebo). Again there are more options to choose from, the classic or spectacular package. The classic simply includes a private area and shelter, whereas the spectacular gives you 30% more space, a locker to share, 10 Dreamville chairs and access to the VIP deck at The Gathering. NOTE: You still have to bring your own camping gear and prices (for 10 people) are €4009 and €4735 respectively.
Fancy something a little more extravagant and magical to reflect the setting, then choose from, Easy Tents, Relax Rooms, Dream Lodges, Cabanas or even a Mansion. Yes, you read that correctly, there are “mansions”, complete with private garden, fully equipped bedrooms, a private bathroom&terrace, fully stocked fridge, and Jacuzzi, plus the choice of extras such as room service, a butler, or massage service. (WOAH). Sadly, we have never had the pleasure of staying in any of these, but their basically either pre-pitched tents or comfy lodges with accessories. We won’t go into much detail on these, however we will include the official Tomorrowland photos of them in the gallery below.
Easy Tent 2P Package/ Spectacular = €952/ €1137,
Easy Tent 4P Package/Spectacular = €1884/ €2223,
Relax Room 2P Package = €1612,
Dreamlodge 2P Package/ Spectacular = €1802/ 2037,
Cabana 2 P Package = €1961.
Planning your travel, connecting transport and accommodation can be both time-consuming and difficult, so many opt for a Global Journey (GJ) Package. Aside from convenience, Tomorrowlanders often choose these packages as they are A LOT easier to get hold of, in comparison to general tickets. This is mainly due to the price being a lot higher, however paying that extra amount not only secures you a ticket to one of the most renowned festivals in the world, it also means all of your travel, to and from, is sorted. Options for GJ include flight, train, coach, or hotel packages, as well as a ‘Friendship Travel’, ‘Discover Europe’ or ‘Discover Belgium’ choice. These varied selections provide passage to the holy grounds, no matter what corner of the earth you reside. From the moment you set off, to the moment you arrive at Tomorrowland, the GJ packages unite fellow commuters together and fully immerse you in an all-in experience. The staff you interact with on the journey are all in character, you are given goodie bags with official TML merch inside, and best of all you are surrounded by fellow Tomorrowlanders, giving you the opportunity to meet new friends along the way.
The train, bus and flight packages all include return travel to and from Dreamville, your chosen Dreamville accommodation (Hotel opt too for Flight/Train), Full Madness Pass (Regular or Comfort), Newspaper, Tomorrowland Goodie Bag and all necessary transfers.
The price for these packages has increased each year sadly. In 2014 both of us unknowingly opted for the same global journey train package from London at 7:50am (There are multiple time options of course). If it wasn’t for that journey, we would never have met, so thanks GJ you brought GingerBread together. The party trains are so much fun, people string up fairy lights, the first songs of the weekend begin to echo down the carriage and everybody starts to drink/party. Ginge has also experienced the GJ flight option too, in 2015. If you’ve watched the after movies, you’ve probably seen the Tomorrowland planes, unfortunately they all don’t have the word Tomorrowland scribed down the side, and we think those are only the flights from Ibiza. ANYWAY, once aboard the aircraft, you locate your seat, on which is a flashing foam baton, a TML newspaper and goodie bag. TIME TO SET OFF. Once you’re in the air, you’re asked to close the blinds, staff hand out a free alcoholic drink (It was Desperado’s on our flight) and a sandwich, and then the music starts to blare. It’s a lot of fun to be honest, although the novelty of waving your flashing LED baton to the beat soon wears off, and people begin hitting each other instead.
Global journey hotel packages are available for those who want to travel to the festival by their own means. We have to be totally honest here and admit that we don’t know much about the hotel option, if we remember correctly, there is a bronze, silver and gold option to choose from. (Once we discover any useful info, or if you have any to share with us, please comment so we can update this section).
In regards to the friendship travel package, we under the impression this was a new option for 2017, and provides a way for a group of friends to travel together to their chosen accommodation. This option could be a B&B, residence, a Train Hostel located in Brussels or a Dreamville Friendship Garden. From here your GJ transport offers to pick you up at a location that is up to 200km away, as well as provide to Tomorrowland and back– neat, eh?
Of course Tomorrowland went one step further in 2016. Knowing that some people travel from faraway lands just to attend, they came up with a way make their journey even more worthwhile – Discover Packages. The Discover Europe package takes you to 3, 4 or 5 European cities, then back to Boom for the weekend of a lifetime. Whereas the Discover Belgium package takes you to 4 cities, Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent and Brussels and then carries on to Tomorrowland. Themed hotel, transfers to the cities and Tomorrowland, snacks, newspapers, goodie bags, and welcome gifts are all included in the Belgium package. Again we must apologise as we do not have a lot of info on the Europe package, however both the Europe and Belgium package have organised activities in each city, allowing nomads to share experiences and create new friendships.
When choosing a ticket you have the option to select a “Comfort Option”, of course these are more costly, but they provide access to the comfort zone at the Mainstage and 3 other stages.
Oh, one last thing, if you are fast enough to be one of the first in 20, you may also be asked to be an ambassador for your country – REPRESENT! If so, there’s the option for you and a few friends to camp in a special international section in Dreamville!
(*Approx 2017 prices*, not inc service fee, treasure case fee, and payment cost)
How to get there/ Where to stay
Global Journey packages can be expensive albeit stress free. However if planned correctly TML can be a little more affordable.
Flights, trains, cars, coaches, there’s always an option.
Tomorrowland tickets go on sale in February, if you’re not planning on buying a global journey package then we recommend buying your travel before this date, as it will be cheaper. Whatever corner of this beautiful earth you’re coming from, the first main goal is either Brussels or Antwerp, then from there, there are plenty of transport options to bring you to the holy grounds in Boom.
A taxi ride from Brussels to Boom will take approximately 40 mins, and can be a quick, comfy and convenient option if you are a group, as you can split the price. From the centre to the entrance of TML will cost upwards of 60 euros, split that between 4 and its only 15 euros a person. On the Monday of Tomorrowland this year, we had to catch a last minute taxi to the city centre, as our coach home was at 8am and we woke up at 6:30am… this cost us 75 euros, but like we said, it was very last minute (We made it btw). From Antwerp it apparently takes 30 minutes, although we have never travelled from this city.
As for trains, they’re also pretty easy to negotiate from either Antwerp or Brussels. You can purchase an e-ticket online which is valid for 2 journeys, one outwards journey and one home journey. Regardless of the distance these are valid between Thursday – Monday, and allow you to travel from any Belgian station and Boom station, second class. Personally we did not purchase this specific train ticket this year, we winged it and it worked out fine. There are thousands making their own path to TML, so even if you get lost there’s always someone around to ask for help. Once you reach a station in Boom, there are free bus shuttles that will bring you to the Dreamville.
If you are road tripping, then you can park on one of the Dreamville parking lots, but remember to purchase a voucher online before you arrive, as it’s only 20 euros as opposed to 30 euros on the day.
For those arriving by plane, airport shuttles run consistently from Brussels Airport (BRU) and from Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL). These run from the airports and drop you off in front of the Dreamville entrance – handy! Again, you can purchase these beforehand and the price this year was 16 euros from BRU and 21 euros from CRL.
Last but not least we have shuttle buses, these run from various cities across Belgium and the Netherlands on Friday through to Sunday. As before you purchase these on the TML website, and the price does depend on where you are adventuring from.
Oh, we nearly forgot. Depending on how close you live, a free bike park is also provided next to the Dreamville entrance. Obviously if you’re coming from Aus, this option is probably not for you.
If you’ve read our A SUMMER STORY REVIEW, you would know that we enjoy staying in the city a few days beforehand, and here is no different. If you do plan on staying in Brussels a few days prior to the big event, we highly recommend booking in at MEININGER Hostel! The day before the gates to Dreamville open, so many Tomorrowlanders swarm this hostel and honestly the atmosphere is incredible. People have their national flags, there’s drinking, singing, solo travellers come together and the anticipation bubbles up in everyone. Many international friendships are forged here, although don’t go too hard this night, you have 4 days of partying to tackle.
Tips & Tricks
- Bottle Caps – Take some with you and sneak them into the festival grounds, as once inside the bar staff remove the bottle caps for “safety reasons”.
- Spirits – Put them all in plastic bottles before you arrive.
- Plastic Cups – Don’t forget these for the pre party, trust us we forget every year.
- Comfy Shoes – Dress up but for the love of god, PLEASE wear something your feet with love you for at the end of the weekend.
- Rally the troops – Gather your camping crew before you enter Dreamville as they only open up small sections at a time.
- Coolers – We’ve seen so many people take tiny paddle pools to into the camping area, once filled with water drop your drinks in to cool them down.
- Supermarket Sweep – Take an empty suitcase to the supermarket to pack your belongings.
- Smoking – Buy your ciggies at the supermarket.
- Capri-sun bottles – Great for alcohol storage…
- Mingle – Post in Tomorrowland Groups/ the Gingerbread community to see who else is going.
- Wander – Once in the festival grounds, take some time to do what YOU want to do, don’t always follow the crowd. Check out new artists, hear some new music, and meet some new people.
- On your phone, create a note, at the top write “This phone belongs to *full name*, contact *add in friends details*. Screenshot this and set as your background. That way if you ever lose your phone and someone finds it, there’s a better chance of you getting it back.
- Don’t always stand in the crowds, especially at mainstage. During the evening, work your way down from the top of the hill to the middle, so you can experience a full range of views – trust us it’s worth it for the lasers.
PRODUCTION / STAGE DESIGN
Without a doubt we have to give a 5/5 Gingerbread rating for the stages and production. The amount of planning, the attention to detail and the execution are phenomenal. IT is expensive, but at least you can see that each year the money is put back into maintaining, improving and expanding the festival as a whole.
Of course, it has to be another 5/5 gingerbreads. It’s one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world, basically showcasing a variety of ‘sounds’, meaning the speaker system has to be top notch. Even from the top of the Mainstage hill the music is loud and clear. Also, what’s even more impressive is the layout of the stages, you never hear one clash with another. (Try standing behind the main stage, it’s strangely a lot quieter than you’d expect).
CROWD / ATMOSPHERE
As we said in the review, the TML crowd as a whole are the liveliest, most welcoming and energetic bunch of united people. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but when you’re there, it just makes sense. Tomorrowland reiterate the word unity, and as cliché as it sounds, you’ll never feel a better sense of togetherness than when you and hundreds of thousands of others are all jumping and singing simultaneously.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The reason we gave three and half gingerbreads here, was because in comparison to other festivals, IT IS expensive, however you get a so much back in terms of production value. From professional acrobats, to quality maps/timetables, and from daily newspapers to crazy decorations, it’s worth it.
FESTIVAL LAYOUT / VENUE
The grounds are massive, but the layout of the stages, food stalls and seating areas are done so well, that you forget just how big it is. There is always something to catch your attention, to distract you, or for you to get involved with. Also, the actual venue is a park, which Tomorrowland is not only built on, it’s incorporated into. The festival is recognised for being a place of unity, where so many nationalities come together; with this in mind, an art installation was constructed in the form of a bridge. Prior to being built, thousands of people from around the globe took to the ‘People of Tomorrow’ website, where they could record their own message. Each message was then etched into boards, and it is these boards that make up the entire walkway. Many artists and DJ’s also made their mark and it actually holds a world record: never has there been so many individuals involved in creating a single piece of art.
OVERALL FESTIVAL SCORE
Tomorrowland – It’s not a festival, it’s an experience.
It is, we promise.