Find out what happened when Ministry of Sound took a journey into the manic world of Tomorrowland
If you’re a dance music fan (and we’re assuming you are) then it’s pretty safe to assume you’ve spent at least a few minutes of your life clicking through the Tomorrowland YouTube channel and staring enviously at your computer screen while thousands of ravers from all over the world have the time of their lives in EDM Disneyland.
We, like you, thought that those gawping sessions were about as close as we were ever going to get to the multicoloured electro themepark. That was until the people behind Tomorrowland decided to up the ante for their 10th anniversary by adding a second weekend and – best of all – they invited us along to join in the madness.
Arriving in a sunny, 23 degree, Brussels on Friday afternoon, we were whisked away to the press area – given a map and a brief rundown of the stages then left to explore. Setting foot into Tomorrowland for the first time can only be described as a full frontal assault on all the senses. The air is filled with confetti, bubbles, balloons and dry ice, the bass from fifteen stages shakes the ground and there are multi-coloured neon ravers as far as the eye can see.
After spending a while walking over candy-cane bridges and trying to figure out where in the 1km squared site we were, we found our bearings – next to a stage that looked like a huge cartoon boat – and made are way towards the main stage. The main stages at Tomorrowland are always pretty spectacular but this year the set designers had been working over-time. A huge clockwork face gazed down on the thousands below while cogs turned, bellows pumped, a colossal waterwheel cascaded water onto the crowd and fire and confetti erupted out of just about everything.
When we arrived at the main stage, Tomorrowland resident Yves V (pronounced ee-vee) was giving the mid afternoon crowd a schooling in big room EDM that included many of the tracks that would go on to become the most shazamed tracks of the weekend. After Yves played out his final song the Hollywood-style narrator boomed out a “Big Tomorrowland Welcome” to Avicii. Tim Bergling’s tiny frame appeared behind the over-sized DJ booth, “Hey Brother” rang through the air and hundreds of people sang-a-long in unison.
After Avicii, it was time to hightail it through one of the huge Tomorrowland food courts to the Dim Mak stage for Benny Benassi. The Dim Make stage took the form of a huge 3D head that looked like a cross between the Statue of Liberty and The Queen of Hearts.
A full hour of Benny's frantic set left us feeling a little worn out, so decided to find a smaller crowd for a more relaxed vibe. After stumbling around for a while, feeling like we were lost in a cross between Thorpe Park and Hunter S Thompsons’ Las Vegas, we came across the “Live Your Dream” stage. This afforded us a much needed respite from the big stage crowds and also a chance to sing-a-long to Mya - “Ghetto Superstar” – always a festival bonus.
After refuelling at a Belgium waffle stand – when in Rome, right? It was time to swing by the main stage once again for Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, before heading for the main event – Carl Cox. The UK legend was on top form and played a full two hours of certified bangers from the worlds of house and techno. At the climax, more fireworks than a hundred 5th of Novembers filled the air and provided a welcome distraction from both the walk to the exit and the horrifying realisation that a full third of Tomorrowland was already over. But there was still plenty more to look forward to.
Come back tomorrow to find out what happened on day two of our journey into Tomorrowland.
13 Aug 2014