Tomorrowland 2016 is just around the corner (no actually though, it's being held July 22-24) so we thought we'd take the time to give our Electric Crew some tips and tricks to navigate the large and in-charge festival, making sure you get the most out of your experience. Whether this is your first time going to the event or you're a seasoned Tomorrowland raver, this survival guide can help save you previous time and energy so you can spend more time getting lit.
1. Wear Comfy Shoes
This one may seem like common sense, but trust us, we've seen girls rocking 4 inch platform shoes at some of these events so we're just going to leave this here, just in case. The festival grounds are huge, boasting more than 30 stages, so it's practically a hike to go from one stage to the next. This isn't even counting the mass hordes of people you need to shove pass in order to get to your destination. And that's just inside the festival grounds! If you chose to stay in the byot (Bring your own tent) areas of Dreamville, the walk just from your living area to the entrance of the festival can be up to 40 minutes (60 if you're shwasted). This festival is definitely not the right time to whip out your newest pair of flats, 'cause blisters aren't fun. Also, it's not like the floor you're walking on will be super clean, so come prepared with shoes you don't mind mucking up a bit, as the sand and dirt will ultimately destroy your white converses.
You can't climb on people's shoulders and wave your flag around if you're wearing heels! #priorities
2. Bring Rain Boots
Along the same lines as wearing comfy shoes, festival attendees should also invest in some rain boots for the event. The chance of rain is high almost every year, and you don't want to be covered knee-high in mud. The clean up alone will take forever with the shower lineups, so why not avoid the whole disaster altogether by wearing rain boots.
3. Get Ponchos
Just as you don't want your shoes to get wet, you also don't want to be drenched in water feet up. Bringing an umbrella is just not an option, not only will you look like the festival idiot rocking up with your convenient store umbrella, you'll also be the festival asshole for blocking everyone's view with that thing. Combat the rain by bringing your own reusable poncho or by purchasing a cheap one from the supermarket that's inside the camp grounds. They're lightweight, foldable and are super essential when you're caught in a rainstorm while raving.
4. Stock Up
The area in which Tomorrowland is held is a small town in Belgium called Boom, so when thousands of festival attendees flood in, their resources are depleted pretty quickly (No joke, shit runs out within a couple hours of the festival starting). Come prepared by packing water and alcohol with you, so you're not out running for last minute supplies, only to find out that the closest convenience stores have already been ransacked by other festival goers. Food is plentiful within the festival, so that's not the biggest worry. Once you have your liquids, you are pretty much good to go as Tomorrowland allows outside beverages inside, with no limit on amount. The only rule is that you can't bring glass bottles in, so make sure you transfer all your drinks into plastic bottles. Pro Tip: If you royally messed up and didn't prepare, try asking people you see sitting on their lawns drinking beer if you can buy some off them. They're usually selling but don't actually advertise it because they're not supposed to.
You get cute Tomorrowland themed grocery bags when you shop at the supermarket though
5. Bring Ear Plugs
Ear plugs are an essential to bring to any music festival, as the heart pounding bass drops are quite detrimental to your delicate ears. For music lovers, we recommend getting some decent quality ear plugs that don't just drown out sound but actually fine tune the sound waves that enter your ears. Sounds fancy, and they are, ear plugs like these Here ones come with a big price tag ($300USD) but ensure the best music experience while protecting your ears. In addition to this, ear plugs are must-haves when it comes to festivals with camping options, such as Tomorrowland. Even though you plan on raving as much as you possibly can, you still need those few hours of sleep to recharge for the next day. That will be impossible if your tent-mate is Snorezilla and your neighbours just so happen to hold an all night rave next door. For sleeping purposes, just grab any ol' airplane ear plugs to drown out the noises so you can grab a couple of Zzzs at night.
Gotta go prepared
6. Stay Late...Or Don't
Every night at the festival, a light show and fireworks performance is put on. Choose one or two nights to hang back to witness the magical experience, even if it means having to rush out with everyone later, as Tomorrowland sticks to their closing policy strictly. The beautiful show is definitely worth the crowded walk out, but that's not to say you can't enjoy the views from afar. If you don't plan on staying too late, but you live in DreamVille (The camping grounds next to the festival) anyways, you can still watch the show from a distance. Albeit a little less magical, the fireworks are still fully visible from outside the main area. That way, you can enjoy the show but avoid the mob of people trying to leave.
Up close n personal
7. Double Check Your Wallet
Whether you're staying in the camp grounds or living in a hotel a train ride away, you should double check what you're bringing in your wallet before you leave for the day. If you didn't know already, Tomorrowland has their own currency called Pearls, a concept developed so people don't have to carry obscene amounts of cash with them while they rave. Pearls can be added to your personal wristband via the online website or with cash/credit inside the festival. Any Pearls you don't spend during the length of the festival will be refunded to you in full at the end, so there's no worry of putting too much money in your bracelet. However, if you plan on hitting up the supermarket inside the festival, be sure to pack cash and/or your visa card, as they don't accept Pearls there. This may be obvious but if you're going to be travelling to and from the festival grounds and your hotel, be sure to remember cash as cabbies and trains don't take Pearls as a form of currency.
8. Time Your Showers
Everyone's disgusting in one form or another, whether that be sweat from the heat or wetness from the rain, so it's obvious that the line for the showers will be a mile long. However, there are ways to time your shower so you're efficient af and ready to go out and party again before everyone else. One option is to shower at night; the advantage is that there are less people when it's late. The downside of this being that the showers are outdoors and it's cold as winter at night, even though there's hot water. Another option is to shower early in the morning, and when I say "early", I mean 6am-before-anyone-else-wakes-up early. This way you can head on over to the cubicle showers and enjoy a nice, private, hot-water shower without waiting for ages in line. Of course, you can also choose to shower during the day but that might mean you're missing out on some of your fave artists' performance. The downside to showering in the cubicles is that you have to pay.
9. Choose Your Accommodations Wisely
Tomorrowland offers a wide range of accommodation options for festival attendees, with each choice varying in price. The biggest decision you'll have to make first is whether you want to stay on the festival grounds or live in a hotel nearby. The downside to staying in the hotel is that your travel time to and from the festival will be treacherous and long (walk out of the festival site, shuttle to the train station, cab/walk from train station to hotel), something you might regret when you're hammered at 4am in the morning. The upside is that you can enjoy all the facilities that come with a fancy hotel room (Shout out to clean toilets and AC) instead of roughing it on the camp grounds. However, if you do choose to rough it on the camp grounds like we did, you benefit from the fact that you're much closer to the entrance gates of the festival, saving you some precious time. When choosing a place to stay in Dreamville, you can choose anything from bringing your own tent to living in a mansion with 11 of your closest friends. We personally stayed in the Spectacular Easy Tents, a level higher than the bring-your-own-tent option in the Magnificent Greens area (oh yeah, we were so baller). Choosing this option meant we didn't have to bring and pitch our own tent, as everything was set up for us prior to our arrival. The "spectacular" add on was that the tent had wood flooring underneath, meaning it was elevated and safe from the wet floor if it rained over the weekend (which it did!). We highly recommend this option for people who are on a budget but aren't camping-savvy enough to bring all their own tenting gear. Bonus Tip: Don't hang wet towels or anything else heavy on the inside of your tent, it WILL collapse on you at 5 in the morning. Other, pricier, options include the Relax Rooms, DreamVille Lodges and the Mansions, which all have their own sectioned off sanitary facilities. We recommend these for people who're more into glam-camping than actual camping.
Our Spectacular Easy Tent!
10 Look Out for Theft
As much as it goes against the whole PLUR-lifestyle of music festivals, theft is rampant during the 3 day festival, so keep an eye out for your stuff being stolen. Even if your things are kept close to your body (i.e a fanny pack), people are so skilled at stealing that they can steal things out of it without you realizing.
11. Prepare For Hot n Cold
Like I said before, it gets pretty cold at night, so bring a cardigan for night time raves and a heavier jacket for when you're chilling in your tent. Likewise, it will get equally as hot in the morning as it was cold at night, with the sun's rays blasting into your tent and forcing you up at 6am. The heat is so uncomfortable that it can even make any happy-go-lucky raver grouchy. That's why we recommend festival goers to invest in electronic fans for both their tent and on the go. Multiple electronic fans if your budget allows.
Maybe prepare a little better than she did
12. Bring a Sleeping Mask
Not only will the heat from the early AM sun wake you up, but the brightness of the rays will disturb your sleep too. To combat this, bring a sleeping mask with you so you can wake up naturally on your own (assuming that you're not already up due to the insane amount of heat trapped inside your tent).
Look at how much sun comes through the tent lining!
13. Bring Speakers
This might seem odd as the point of going to a music festival is to listen to music live. However, you'll soon realize that the party doesn't really stop once you leave the amazing Tomorrowland stages. The raving continues on well into the night through the tight knit community you form with all your tent neighbours. Having speakers to play everyone's fave jam will only help you guys bond, with new festie besties flocking to your tent once you start! (Just don't be the asshole who blasts music when everyone is cuh-learly asleep!)
Look at all these potential friends!
It's amazing how many people forget to eat when they're partying the day away, however, this lifestyle is not sustainable over the course of a 3 day weekend. To stay energized, plan time for small meals in between performances. Not only will it allow you to party harder and longer, it will let you taste all the amazing food trucks Tomorrowland has to offer. Unlike many festivals, Tomorrowland has more than just the usual "fries and burger" combo, featuring food trucks that offer a range of higher quality and gourmet meals for attendees who enjoy the finer things in life. In addition to this, Tomorrowland offers a selection of healthy options for those who are determined to keep their rave booty on point until the weekend is over.
15. Get A Sim Card
For anyone who's addicted to their phones, FEAR NOT! The airport has Sim cards you can buy for the weekend, allowing you to stay connected with your friends and family (more like Snapchat and Instagram) during your epic journey. Connection is spotty nearer to the main stage but is useable everywhere else on the camp grounds.
How else are you going to Snapchat all the fun you're having?!
16. Make Friends On Your Flight!
If you're flying into Brussels and then taking a shuttle bus to the camp grounds, chances are, your entire flight will be filled with other festival goers. Most airlines have a deal with Tomorrowland for that weekend, so it's safe to assume that the people next to you are going to get as wild and freaky as you are this weekend, so might as well become friends now. Enjoy the hyped vibe everyone has in anticipation to arriving at the ultimate playground for EDM lovers, and cheer together as you land. Make the most of your trip right from the get go by making new Festie Besties on your flight!
You even get a cute Tomorrowland newspaper when you're on the flight!
*Friendly Reminder: Keep in mind that we went in 2015 so some things might have changed since then!