Before we knew it, our time in Brussels was over and we were off to DreamVille, Tomorrowland. For those of you not in the festival-loop, Tomorrowland is a major electronic music festival that is the most diverse in terms of attendees. People from all over the world come to camp, party and listen to the top named DJs for 3 days and nights. There are more countries represented at this event than at the Olympics. Over 214 countries were represented and people joined together for their love of music.
Tickets for this event sold out within record-breaking minutes and somehow, we were lucky enough to get VIP passes to Friday evening and 5 days worth of DreamVille camping. There is a special pre-party for those with camping passes, so we got an extra day of stories to tell 😀
As we walked into the gates we couldn’t believe that we had finally made it to the biggest music festival of our lives, quite possibly the largest party of our lives. We were ready to make memories. 180k people attend this electronic music festival with over 40k people camping the entire time. It was sunny and everyone had smiles on as we made our way under the rainbow and into DreamVille. We set up camp and met our surrounding neighbors – some were from Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Australia, and even a couple Cali kids. After quick introductions, we headed over to the DreamVille pre-party. The headlining DJs for the evening were Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. They had DreamVille campers raging all throughout the night!
After the party, we spent the night in our borrowed tent (thanks to Sonia), and hurried in as early as we could Friday for Day 1 of Tomorrowland. As VIP ticket holders, we were awarded one of the best gifts – no waiting lines and immediate access to the festival! We were stoked since this is the first time we have ever been treated with such a privilege, to skip the long lines.
As we walked over the hill we were star stuck by the size of the main stage and the crowd. It was like nothing we had ever seen, we were excited! Jeff wore his SF Giants flag as a cape. The major theme of this festival is to represent the country or place you are from in the form of a flag – so we did just that. Later in the weekend Kaskade recognized the flag and gave us a thumbs up in the middle of his set. Good work Jeff!
This festival has 15 stages in total. Here is the first one you would see as you walked through the gate. It’s on the smaller side and didn’t have much decortations in comparison to the other major stages, but we soon learned that one of the major Trance DJs, Markus Schulz played a 12 hour set on the first day – which made this tent a little bit cooler. We stopped by 3 or 4 times to give him a listen.
Friday started with some hot and sunny weather – which we later learned is somewhat unusual for that area. In minutes dark clouds covered the sky and we were bombarded with a few hours of some very heavy rain! Here is Jessica, Jeff and I in the crowd during the rainstorm. Jessica had experienced similar weather at a previous festival she attended, Lollapalooza and came prepared with her own plastic garbage bag that she made into a poncho. Thankfully, Tomorrowland provided most of the crowd with blue rain ponchos to help keep the party going.
Then, it got dark, the weather cleared up and everyone was dancing with soaked shoes. That didn’t stop anyone from having fun. Here is the main stage at night. As you can see, its fantastic. Jessica turned on her LED hula hoop and everyone was impressed by the patterns and her skills. At one point, she got a little nervous because people were so intrigued with her hoop, they would constantly approach her and the attention became a little overwhelming. Later we relocated to the Carl Cox & Friends stage and she was able to once again hoop.
“Yesterday is History, Today is a Gift, Tomorrow is a Mystery,” the slogan of Tomorrowland. By the end of the night we were tired. We danced in the rain, climbed hills, and walked all over the Tomorrowland forest. We didn’t want our only night at Tomorrowland to be over so quickly, so we decided to chill in the small stage (the Markus Schulz stage) and wait for the massive crowd of people to exit the venue. We weren’t the only ones with this idea…
The night was over and we headed back to Dreamville with music still playing in our minds. We had a great experience and were grateful to have attended. Tomorrowland has somewhat of a strange money system, rather than using actual cash – like Euro or Dollars, they had you purchase these tickets or coins that had a “cash” value. Showers, drinks, and food were all based around these tickets and coins. Lucky for us, Jessica has a good eye on things all the time and enjoys finding small treasures left on the ground. She found at least 60 Euro worth of tickets and coins, sunglasses, and other small trinkets that people dropped on the ground throughout the weekend! We were able to eat, drink, and shower without having to spend much of our own personal money. Thanks JP!
All throughout Friday night it rained off and on until Saturday morning. The weather eventually cleared up again and we mingled with our neighbors, exchanging stories from Day 1 and much more. Since we didn’t have tickets for Day 2 and Day 3, we were planning on just chilling out for the remaining part of the weekend with intentions to simply enjoy the Dreamville camping experience.
The rain drastically changed the camping experience. Suddenly campsites were full of mud and even tents flooded. We woke up to our neighbors wringing out their clothes and removing everything from their tent, while their air-mattress floated on inches of rain water. The free wifi-hotspot area had the most foot-traffic from people trying to get passwords and access codes for the internet. You carefully had to make your way through the mud, and into the wifi area. Mostly local Belgium kids came prepared with rain clothes and rain boots, but majority of us foreigners – brought tennis shoes and flip flops, which didn’t provide much protection from the rain.
Here are some tents in DreamVille… Here is the SAME location of tents Saturday morning after the storm Friday night. Notice the guy fishing in the back of the lake…
People would wait in the dirty mud to shower, then would have to walk back into the mud after they cleaned their bodies. It was pretty gross. This group was constantly BBQing – each time we walked past their campsite they always had something new on the grill. This time it was their wet muddy shoes.
After having been in the muddy realms of DreamVille, we quickly were on the prowl for tickets to get back into the festival! We kept our eyes and ears alert for anyone selling their tickets, but the tickets we had come across were outrageously overpriced…people wanted anywhere from 300-900 Euro for tickets! We knew that we would likely find better deals for Sunday, Day 3 tickets for cheap, so we patiently waited.
During a bit of down time Jessica played a racing game and won, she scored a fresh new tank top. Since we have been traveling with such little amount of clothes it was nice to get something so fresh and so clean. Plus – it had her favorite animal on it, an elephant! That got us both excited for Thailand. Jessica got creative and painted a couple signs to help get us tickets. She used her only bottle of nail polish and donated it to our “find me tickets” cause. Surprisingly these signs worked really REALLY well. We had about 15 different people approach us on Sunday and we were able to pickup tickets for 75 Euro each! We got our new wristbands (blue and yellow) and we rushed back to camp to gather our festival gear and headed right into the festival. Some of our favorite DJs were playing today, so we had to make it quick!
We stayed in this spot for the next 3 hours and eventually made our way to the front row for Mogwai and Kaskade. We got to the front row and had the time of our lives! Being that close made everything worth it. We even made it onto Tomorrowland’s TV live stream and friends back home were able to see us having a blast. Day 3 came to an end – we packed up camp and started our journey to Paris, France.