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Tomorrowland's Bass-Heavy Beginnings

For decades, Euro-ravers have worshipped the DJ gods dropping the beats on the festival circuit. And in recent years, electronic music has exploded worldwide with the launch of US-based EDM events such as Miami’s Ultra Music Festival and the multi-city Electric Daisy Carnival. But Tomorrowland is arguably the best of the bunch.

What sets Tomorrowland apart from the rest is its storybook setting and immersive nature. Described as trippy Technicolor fantasies, stages undergo seamless transformations with a well-executed attention to detail. In this case, seeing is believing. In 2011, the “Alice in Wonderland” theme translated into a real-life journey down the rabbit hole with live characters, real waterfalls, next-level pyrotechnics, and life-size mushrooms that catapulted stage design to new heights. The extravaganza’s location in De Schorre National Park’s rolling, country landscape even played a part, including a floating platform on a lake. The Kingdom of Melodia served as 2015's theme, with a super detailed fairytale castle known as the Castle of Melodia, that formed the main stage.

Naughty Nuns & Dreamville

At Tomorrowland, there is an entire world to explore and two consecutive weekends to do it in, but don’t expect to see it all. Adopt a relaxed pace, and aim to visit just a handful of the 20-plus stages. While world-renowned DJs are what draw the crowds, underground music heroes often steal the show. Stages change into whimsical castles, bookcases, and cobras. Just walking the grounds is an adventure, especially at night when lights, lasers, and fire animate the grounds The most infamous place of all is the Church of Love. Guarded by the “naughty nuns,” this temple is dedicated to lovers and romance. Inside (reportedly quite cozy), couples are allowed 15 minutes of canoodling before being released back into the rave. But Tomorrowland isn’t just a sight for the eyes, it’s a feast for the ears: A world-class sound system delivers heart-stopping bass to refined highs. Keep some earplugs in your pocket.

Residents of Belgium get first dibs on tickets. The rest of the crowd is an international set from over 85 countries. Promoters claim that Tomorrowland is one of the most multinational gatherings of all time with more countries represented than at the London Olympics.

Most people choose camping for their accommodations. Dreamville is the campground of choice because of the quality of the facilities. You will need to purchase a separate ticket for camping. If you don’t have a tent, you can reserve one in advance, or even opt for the fancy-by-comparison pop-up style accommodations that feature creature comforts such as real walls, electricity, and locking doors.

Tomorrowland’s vision is set to spread worldwide. The debut of Tomorrow World in Atlanta in September 2013 was hopefully the first of many welcome international expansions. It’s a mad blowout with great music, and something to experience if you are lucky enough to score that golden ticket.

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