Once Upon a Time, in a Tomorrowland Far Far Away...
Sunday August 14, 2005 – a magical date in the history of the Kingdom of Belgium, known
throughout the ages for its beer, chocolate, waffles, cobblestones, diamonds, poorly named French
fries, instant legendary World Cup soccer match against the United States of America, mussels from
Ostend and of course muscles from – Jean-Claude Van Damme, everybody! – Brussels. Out of
nowhere, a brand new festival popped up, transforming the town of – if ever there was an
appropriate name – Boom into a fairy tale dominion, where enchanting electronic music was to be
heard from behind every tree and out of every rabbit hole. But the festival wasn’t just about tickling
From the start, its elves had an incredible eye for detail, an excellent nose for cocktails, a mind-
blowing sense for entertainment and, overall, incredibly good taste. Tomorrowland – as the festival
was called – turned out to be a grand spectacle, unlike anything that came before it. But this was
only the beginning of our fairy tale.
About 10,000 people bore witness to the first edition of Tomorrowland, and to the magic that
surrounded it (including DJ sets by Sven Väth, Sasha, Armin van Buuren, Erol Alkan and Justice). And
while 10,000 isn’t bad, 15,000 is better – which is precisely the number of treasure hunters that
showed up in 2006, when the festival moved to the month of July. Word-of-mouth was growing
stronger throughout the kingdom, and with eight stages and enough extra space to put up three
thousand sleeping beauties, the second edition wasn’t only bigger in terms of attendance.
Soon enough, word also travelled across the kingdom’s borders, and come the third edition, Belgium
was invaded by the Dutch, the French, the Germans and the English – in a quest to find the secrets
and unveil the mysteries of Tomorrowland. Of course their efforts proved futile, but they did lift the
festival’s attendance figures well over 20,000. Even better news: Tomorrowland now lasts two days
and has nine stages.
However, the festival’s real breakthrough came in 2008 – the year of the rat, in which China’s
notorious Olympic Games weather cannons misfire and send a tropical heath wave over Belgium.
50,000 people flocked together in Boom for a collective – and quite literal – meltdown, and they also
prepared for the festival to be sent up in the sky and have it orbit the globe for decades to come.
One year later, in 2009, Tomorrowland was successfully launched into orbit, when for the first time
in its history all tickets are sold-out. Once again, temperatures reached record-breaking levels, while
surprise act Moby widened the festival’s profile and appeal. Belgium’s already rich nightlife scene –
including some of the world’s most legendary labels, clubs, parties and artists in the history of
electronic music – had finally stepped into to the daylight, and people were watching. Curiously
watching. More and more music journalists – even those who traditionally leaned more towards rock
and other genres – started to write bigger features on the success of the festival, while at the same
time, electronic dance music was vying for world domination.
Never content, Tomorrowland continued investing in its lineup, which by 2010 included pretty much
every A-list DJ in the world (often playing special sets), its spectacular stages, its truly phenomenal
festival grounds and – last but not least – DreamVille, the camping grounds that really make you
believe you’re inside a dream. During the sixth edition, 25,000 thousand people spent the night there,
with over 90,000 tickets sold. However, the demand was much higher, so in 2011 Tomorrowland
added a third day. Not that that made much difference: all 180,000 tickets sold out in less than a day.
After winning the International Dance Music Award for Best Music Event in Miami for the first time in
2012, Tomorrowland had officially become the most global festival on, well, earth. So much so that
the festival decided to organize two separate presales: one for its Belgian fans and one for its
international posse. Think that might have been over exaggerating a little bit? Think again: a
whopping two million people visited the website of the festival, hoping to score a ticket – over ten
times more than the number of available tickets.
To please everyone who wasn’t able to get tickets, Tomorrowland launches its own YouTube channel
in 2012 – broadcasting DJ sets, interviews and behind-the-scenes features. With well over eight
million people tuning in, Tomorrowland quickly and easily becomes the most-watched music festival
on the planet. Its official after movie adds another one hundred million views (and still counting) to
One year later, after once again selling all tickets in record time, Tomorrowland launches its own
radio station in more than thirty countries. Apart from being served the most explosive DJ sets,
listeners are being treated to interviews and fun trivia, like the fact that 200+ nationalities have
gathered in Boom to experience what is now also the most listened to music festival on the planet.
Several of those nationalities have travelled to the festival with a Global Journey Package, which
doesn’t just contain a flight or train ride (apart from a festival ticket, of course) but also a unique
vacation in other parts of the country with other Tomorrowland visitors.
By 2013, Tomorrowland yearly added seventy million euro to the Belgian economy, including
nineteen million euro spent by foreign festival visitors on transportation and lodging. In fact, all hotels
in Antwerp, Mechelen and Brussels are completely booked during the festival. With so much
enthusiasm from visitors all across the world, it seemed only normal that what started in a land far
far away would, at some point, travel to other far far away lands. Like – yes, that’s what it’s really
called – Chattahoochee Hills. In September 2013, the small town near Atlanta, Georgia played host to
the first edition of TomorrowWorld, attracting 140,000 visitors and receiving an International Dance
Music Award nomination for Best Music Event. Unfortunately it lost, to Tomorrowland. But who
knows: maybe the fest will be able to defeat its big brother next year, as TomorrowWorld is
happening again this year. Of course, it will be up against the birthday edition – ten years, baby! – of
Tomorrowland, which is being celebrated this summer over the course of not one but two weekends.
All 360,000 tickets for the tenth edition of Tomorrowland sold out in less than an hour, as did the
seats on over 150 Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, Thai Airways and Air Canada flights into Brussels.
Moreover, four Eurostar en two Thalys trains will also bring thousands of people to the festival –
Hogwarts style, only slightly less dorky.
Will this madness ever end? To be brutally honest, not if we can help it.
Facts & Figures
Tomorrowland is a large electronic music festival held in Belgium. It is organized and owned by the
original founders, the brothers Beers. It's located in a beautiful natural place, recreation area de
Schorre, in the town of Boom, Belgium, (16 kilometers / 10 miles south of Antwerp and 32 kilometers
/ 20 miles north of Brussels. Tomorrowland has been organized since 2005 and has become one of
the most notable global music festivals.
TomorrowWorld, Chattahoocheehills (Atlanta, USA), is organized as a jointed partnership by the
original founders of Tomorrowland & sfx entertainment.
Tomorrowland TV is producing 5 hours live television from the festival with footage,reports, live sets
and interviews and counted 16,8 million viewers for the live stream with viewers from 191 different
35.000 DreamVille guests / weekend
60.000 Tomorrowland guests / guests
20.000 Global Journey passengers with Brussels airlines
More than 400 artists
Tomorrowland = 35 hectare
DreamVille = 45 hectare
More than 5000 crew working at Tomorrowland
It takes one month to build the festival with 400 crew / day.
More than 6 million Facebook fans
More than 3 million YouTube subscribers
More than 1 million followers on Twitter
More than 100 million After Movie views
1 million pints (beer) sold in 1 weekend
12.000 pizzas are baked in 1 weekend