Tales from Tomorrowland: Day 0, The Gathering

Posted on 29/07/2018 by Eileen Schuch
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Tomorrowland Day 0 The Gathering Dreamville © MORREC

What a blast! I am still spellbound by the Tomorrowland experience. Something so big, so over-dimensional, so inspirational… I am still trying to figure out how to channel all the energy. Luckily, I wasn’t alone in this (hardly, about 300’000 people will have joined the festival this year!). What I mean is, I got to go with a friend.

Neither Giovanni nor I were at Tomorrowland before. Apart from what you can find online about the past editions, we did not know what to expect. Fact is, nothing that we could have imagined would have measured up to what the event is in reality. For me, it is the festival of superlatives in every perspective: best DJs, best infrastructure, best organization, best accommodation, best food experience, best vibe… but let’s start from the beginning.

How did we get there?

… that is the question we get asked a lot. Apparently, it is extremely difficult to get tickets for Tomorrowland. As soon as sales are open, they sell out within 5 minutes. Thereafter, there are alternative ways to purchase them, of course. If you are proactive, you may get lucky and still get some through authorized sales channels. You can also find them at online market places or try the Tomorrowland Exchange Desk.

We did not have to go through all that, so I cannot give you more details and tips about the ins and outs of getting tickets. Google knows all the answers, though! Giovanni and I were blessed with an invitation from Cubanisto (forever thankful for that). We got to experience the festival from a slightly different perspective (I won’t lie: it’s super cool to get the VIP treatment).

The journey to Boom

Gio and I are both traveling a lot and thus come into Belgium from different locations. He takes a flight to Belgium International Airport. I chose to travel by train to Bruxelles-Midi. Getting to Brussels is super easy and doesn’t cost a lot either. From a transportation point of view, Tomorrowland is very accessible to everyone. The town where the festival site is located is called Boom. How fitting, I know! The follow-on connection there from either the airport or the main train stations is seamless. There are Tomorrowland Shuttles and extra trains at special rates. You can book them online here >>>.

Many people are heading the same way and spirits are high on the planes and in the trains. It is easy to spot fellow Tomorrowlanders: eyes beaming with excitement, undeniable festival look, huge backpack or tent, and, like mushrooms, never alone. The anticipation is tangible, the hunger for life palpable.

Arriving in Boom, you will see Tomorrowland shuttle buses waiting. They are frequent, each one of them packed with party folk. About 10 minutes later, they drop the crowds off at Dreamville.

Glamping at Brew District

The campsite of Tomorrowland is called Dreamville. Here sleep the Children of Tomorrow, as the festival lovingly calls its participants. From the bus stop to Dreamville, it is about a ten minutes walk. The way is paved with wooden floorboards, which makes walking, pulling or pushing your luggage easy.

Then you see it: the giant rainbow. Welcome Home it says, and indeed, behind its doors, a whole new magical world is waiting to be explored. To access it, you need your wristband and if you not have it already, you can grab one of the many stewards roaming around with balloons to make themselves easily identifiable. They will guide you to the nearest info point or check-in.

At this moment, I am still thinking that our accommodation is a tent inside Dreamville. So I am waiting for Giovanni to find me at the Check-in for “Easy Tent 2P”. Turns out THAT is not where we are sleeping. We are directed to the Brew District, a campsite adjacent to Dreamville and entirely dedicated to guests of AbInbev, one of the main partners of the festival.

There, the check-in experience is a little different, let’s say. We show our Laisser Passer to Security and are then entering what can only be described as the fairy tale world of Brew District. Water fountains, giant colorful mushrooms and flowers guide us to the reception desk. There, beautiful people dressed in corporate attire featuring symbols of brewing culture greet us with a big, charming Colgate smile and hand us over our Tomorrowland bracelets and VIP wristbands for the night.

And then…. WOAWWWW! We step into the most luxurious camping site: beautiful houses on stilts, generous tents, green lawns, fire pits, flowers, lanterns, A POOL and a bar. Let me mention here that the bar is open 24h/24h and serves FREE drinks and food. So at any time during day or night, we could go there and grab a drink or a bite. Heaven!

We quickly go to our tree house to explore the insides, drop off our stuff, freshen up and then head over to Dreamville for The Gathering, the first get together for everyone staying at the campsite on Thursday night.

Feeling the magic

First of all: big up for the sanitary installations – everywhere on the festival site – but particularly at Brew District! New standards are set here in terms of comfort and cleanliness. Hot showers with amenities from Rituals, super fluffy Dreamville bathrobes and towels, Tomorrowland thongs… so equipped, camping (or let’s say glamping, rather) is truly a pleasure.

We freshen up and then head out into the night, party ready and curious to see what The Gathering is all about.

Once we cross the giant rainbow and step inside Dreamville, the hustling and bustling of the place instantly amazes us. First you enter a huge market place with lots of food stands, boutiques, bars and so forth. There even is a Lidl supermarket! Also on site: a bakery, a laundry shop, a phone charging station. In short: anything that you can hope for to make your camping experience as comfortable as possible.

Tomorrowland is completely cashless, you put credit on your bracelet and then pay with Pearls, the official festival currency. So we charge money on our bracelets at one of the many “top up points” and are ready for the night.

The concert at the Dreamville stage is already in full boom. Half walking, half dancing we make our way towards the VIP area. From above we can see just how massive the crowd is on Thursday already: about 30’000 people have gathered and are moving rhythmically to the sounds of Afrojack and later Yves V.

Sweet Dreams

Around 1am, we head home to Brew District. A couple of last drinks at the bar later, we find ourselves chilling by the pool together with some of the other guests. What a fantastic day, what a great time to be alive! Happy and full of anticipation what tomorrow would bring, we curl up in our cozy beds and slowly drift off into the Realm of Morpheus… Coming up: Day 1, the official opening of the festival.

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