Today, the disassembling of Tomorrowland’s mad stages begins, signalling the end of another crazy weekend on its Belgian festival site. The festival kicked off as it meant to go on, with an incredible surprise set from Tiesto at the Gathering Party, developed in collaboration with Budweiser, where he performed his new release ‘INFECTED’ while infusing a tanker of beer with his beats and energy to an incredulous audience. The madness and magic continued as all the big names from David Guetta to Axwell Ingrosso and Steve Angello turned out for the event, bringing beats, bass and a whole ton of happiness to the tens of thousands who had gathered in Boom for it. Here’s the festival’s most euphoric highlights.
When Tiesto and Budweiser unleashed a surprise set at the Gathering party
Tomorrowland didn’t officially begin until Friday (July 22), but that didn’t stop those who’d come down early from starting off as they meant to go on. Thursday night saw Budweiser throw a big party in Dreamville, the festival’s campsite, with Tiesto. The party was all about the passion that goes into performing, and in true Tomorrowland fashion, this was not done by halves: a Budweiser tanker was rolled onto the stage to be infused by the beats and energy of Tiesto’s performance and the fans. The ‘infused’ brew will be available to purchase in Asda and Spar convenience stores in the UK this August, so fans can continue the legacy of Tomorrowland through the summer.
When Steve Aoki lobbed a load of cakes at the crowd
An integral part of Steve Aoki’s set is when he chucks cake at his fans. Everybody knows this, to the point where people now make signs saying “CAKE ME” on in the hope that he’ll lob a Victoria sandwich at their mush. So when ‘Cakeface’ came on everyone went mad, Aoki clambered to the edge of the DJ chamber (this set up is way more than a mere booth) and started throwing cakes covered in icing with Dim Mak piped on (the name of his own record label/lifestyle brand) at his loyal subjects beneath him. Those that got caked look jubilant, those that didn’t presumably breathed a sigh of relief because they didn’t have to deal with a confetti-like crumb situation and find bits of sponge everywhere for the rest of the festival.
When Nervo did a great job of repping EDM’s women
EDM is typically a genre dominated by men and Tomorrowland reflected that with very few women on the line up. Nervo, aka Aussie sisters Mim and Liv and the duo behind David Guetta’s smash ‘When Love Takes Over’, proved that gender shouldn’t matter one bit with a storming set at the Opera stage. Between their own mini dance routines and remixes of bona fide bangers, the pair gave the world premiere of their new tune, a juggernaut of a track that got the same reaction from the crowd as the rest of their set – one of utter adoration.
When Deadmau5 went b2b with Eric Prydz
Friday night at the Opera (literally an open air music hall built just for this weekend) saw two of dance music’s biggest names join forces for one almighty set. Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz went b2b, bringing mad lasers, lights and fireworks to round off the first day. Their joint show has been teased for a while so anticipation for the collaboration was pretty high. No one will have left disappointed, with Deadmau5 putting in some blistering techno and Eric Prydz complementing his cuts perfectly with enough buoyant beats to take the edge off.
Literally any time any fireworks went off
One thing Tomorrowland know how to do very well is intense fireworks displays. There were ones that shot into the sky like sparkling rockets, ones that exploded into red hearts, rainbow coloured ones and more. Each time a set went shooting above, the atmosphere lifted a little bit more. By the end of each night? Stratospheric.
When Oliver Heldens dropped what should be Tomorrowland’s theme tune
You might expect an EDM festival to be kind of aggressive, but, for the most part, Tomorrowland is full of positivity and new friends everywhere. So when the Rotterdam DJ dropped Justice‘s ‘We Are Your Friends’ it not only got everyone raving even harder, but also summed up the whole weekend’s vibe – one of love and unity and friendship.
When we got to rave in a cave
As you’re walking around the site in Boom (yes that is the town’s real name), you’ll find all sorts of weird and wonderful stages. From a floating tower covered in plants in the middle of a lake to a massive smoke-breathing dragon staring ominously down on the crowd, this festival doesn’t deal in your usual big tops. One of its most intimate stages is the Rave Cave, which is literally what you’d imagine – a subterranean bunker that settles under one of the festival’s main paths. It’s a complete sweatbox and a pretty tight squeeze for both fans and DJs, but it’ll make you feel like you’re in a super cool, very exclusive club where everyone’s main concern is having the best time ever.
When grime got a shout out from Martin Garrix
The Dutch DJ’s set on Sunday night was nothing short of humongous, providing the perfect balance between pop hits and the electronic beats everyone had travelled to Tomorrowland for. Between remixes of The Weeknd‘s ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ and The White Stripes‘ ‘Seven Nation Army’, Garrix gave the UK’s most exciting genre a bit of a shout out, as well as a nod to its Canadian ambassador. Yep, he segued Stormzy into Drake and the whole field went mad.
All of the Ed Banger House Party
Ed Banger Records is the label that first brought us Justice, Feadz and Sebastian so their reputation precedes them. At Tomorrowland, three of the imprints acts got together to put on one big party to illustrate just how deserved that rep is. Busy P, Boston Bun and Para One turned the House Of Mirrors stage (one of the site’s most club-like spaces) into a heaving mass of sweaty, sticky bodies all pushing through the aches and pains of raving hard for three days to make the most of their delicious house.
When Sigala played all the crowd pleasers
DJ Sammy? Check. ‘Lean On’? Check. ‘Sweet Lovin”? Check. The Norfolk DJ might have been on early in the day, but he certainly wasn’t holding back. One after the other he dropped rapid-fire hits that took the Opera crowd higher and higher – quite literally for those that climbed onto their mates’ shoulders to better show their appreciation.
Every time we found a sick new DJ to soundtrack the weekend’s madness
With 16 stages and hundreds of acts performing across the weekend, knowing every single artist on the bill would make you some kind of EDM master (or a Tomorrowland employee), so there was plenty to discover across the site. Our favourite new find? Dutch deep house DJ Ferreck Dawn, who span records on the top of of a leaf-covered tower in the middle of a lake like some kind of beat-loving Alan Titchmarsh. A true gem.