Thursday, August 21, 2014

7/27/14 Day 192 Tomorrowland!

Back in February I never would have imagined it would be possible to get tickets to this festival, the most international and renowned EDM festival in the world...but here we are heading to the second weekend; Julie, Celeste, Kevin and I meeting up with my friend Albert from Seattle and his new friend he met in Thailand, Ashley. Albert was lucky enough to arrive earlier than us and saved us a couple of tight spots for our tent in an awesome location. We quickly got our camp set up in the most dense tent filled campsite I have ever been in, with guy lines being tripped over left and right. Unfortunately a huge majority of the tents in Dreamville are ridiculous pop up tents, made of cheap construction that twists and bends into a flat hoop the size of a small hula hoop for easy storage and transport, which in theory is great, but in reality they are of poor quality and are often a one time use tent creating a huge waste problem.

With our tents all set-up we ventured out to take care of our festival loose ends, we rented out our locker, and picked up our booze bag full of Tomorrowland tokens (transformed from Euros) to spend on food and drinks. Dreamville also offers guests free wifi, sprinklers, a place to do laundry and most coveted, fresh cold bottled waters every morning and free sunscreen! As a welcome gift we are treated to a complimentary glass of cava, we take advantage of 5+ each sipping in the sunshine. The party begins as the daylight starts to fade, the Gathering is a stage setup exclusively for all of us in Dreamville and on Thursday night we get to break it in for a pre-party. With a beautiful sun and moon theme we are off to a fantastic start. 

It is only day one of the festival and the campsite is already wrecked, our brand new super light hiking tent has been damaged (one of the poles got seriously bent and the no-seeum door fabric was overstretched and torn) possibly from someone tripping into it, sandals are missing, and everyone is feeling a bit slow...but today is the first day of Tomorrowland! So...we pull ourselves together and drape ourselves in as much Americana as we can slather on ourselves before heading past the market, beyond the hookah lounge and wifi station and directly through the rainbow road leading us away from Dreamville. Tapping our entry bracelets against the gate grants us entry and with not a single minute of waiting in line, we are in! The main stage setup is incredible with a steampunk facade chocked full of rotating flowers, spinning water wheels and enough grass to accommodate hundreds of thousands of ecstatic Festival attendees. The grounds is huge with more than a dozen different stages, most of which change daily with varying genres and labels representing them. The Q Dance stage was beautiful this year, pumping out hard style music like a champion. There is a carnival themed mirror stage that gets unbelievably hot in the daytime, but we saw Klingande there for the first time and the set absolutely killed it, but we thought we might pass out from the humidity in the closed circular building full of mirrors! Another amazing stage was the Lotto stage where we were given free hats that we stylishly donned most of the third day and it is a floating stage, so not so much of a problem in the heat! The rave cave stage was hilarious in an underground cement lair, with old school tunes pumping all night and lots of lasers!

Day two we were costumed as animals; pandas, a bunny and a piglet, and the weather was hot, hot! We went in with a few less things then we owned the day before; Julie's flip flops, camelbak, amazing kaleidoscope refractor glasses, one of Albert's flip flops, Kevin's new shoes we bought in the UK, and his Hydroflask water bottle that we use every single day (we started with three of these water bottles; we lost one sneaking booze into a club and one was chewed up by Yellow the klutzy German Shephard in we have none). Regardless of what we lost we are dressed as animals and ready to dance! We partied until the festival closed, and then we carried on back into Dreamville and met lots of people there!

Since it is the tenth anniversary of Tomorrowland a bridge was built to commemorate all that is embodied within this festival, and ticket holders were lucky enough to get the opportunity to write a wooden plaque this year used to build the bridge. It wasn't until the last day, Sunday that we were able to find our plaque and strike a pose, it took us a few minutes, but it sure is amazing that our names will be a piece of Tomorrowland forever! Also new this year was the addition of microchipped bracelets that with an in sync press of buttons you can friend request someone you have just met at the festival and it will request online via Facebook. Also as an extra bonus the bracelets have two led lights built into them and on the first night, these lights were magical at main stage as everyone's wrists in the crowd lit up the sky. Over all the last festival day went smoothly, nothing lost, nothing broken, and one final walk from Tomorrowland to Dreamville. A bonus on this last night we ran into some friends that we had met the first day and they have Kevin's shoes. Yay one item unlost, we must have left them at their tent on the first night before wandering home barefoot, as we found ourselves barefoot often during the festival. Time for one last sleep. 

The weather has been so fantastic the entire weekend, with only a handful of brief heat relieving showers during the days...until the final morning, when my subconscious is awakened by the sloshing puddles  and drizzling, no not drizzling, pouring raindrops consuming the outside fabric of our tent. Nervously I pat around the diameter of my sleeping pad to feel for any sign of saturation, nothing, thankfully the tent is completely dry. Unfortunately Julie and Celeste are sleeping in a kiddie pool full of water (someone must have tripped over their guy lines leaving the tent prone to flooding) and Albert and Ashley have not fared much better in their pop up tent. The whole place is a complete disaster, by the time noon rolls around and security is attempting to kick everyone out there are still 30% of the tents leftover and deserted with the intention of it being someone else's mess to clean up. I have seen a lot of waste at festivals but this takes the cake, apparently the first weekend produced 8 tons of garbage...from only one weekend!!! The problem with this festival more than any other of its kind, is how international it is, everyone flys in from all of the world and then has to catch an early flight back and it is easier to just simply leave the entire tent and all of the flats of beers, and ketchup and coolers and float toys, (why there were so many shoes left behind I do not quite understand). We packed up, cleaned up and prepared ourselves to leave Tomorrowland. On the way out we ground-scored ourselves 50+ unopened beers as there were so many left over we just couldn't let all of them go to waste. Albert also upgraded from his mismatched girl flip flops he had acquired over the weekend to a pair of matching boy flip flops and Julie found a full bottle of sunscreen. When all was said and done and we were outside the gates of Dreamville we also scored an entire single use barbecue, hot dogs and buns for lunch as well. 

The Tomorrowland beers produced by Maes Pils, we obviously had to buy a case
Poly our Polo is all full up and ready to go
Our very first glimpse of Dreamville
Parked and ready to party

Waiting at the line for them to release the next section of campsites
Our booze bag full of tokens and a full weekend schedule
The start to a fabulous weekend
One cava per person may have turned into 5, 6, 7...
Cheers! To Tomorrowland!
Doing work on the Earl Grey gin and Lemonade cocktail I made for the weekend
Inside Dreamville (the camping area) they have a free wifi zone, washing machine, free sunscreen for the hot, hot days and even sprinklers
All of the foods
Adorable outfits on the volunteers, 8 hours a day of working grants entry to the days festival

The first night we had our own stage and a party just for Dreamville at the Gathering stage

Are you ready?!

Julie, Albert, Myself, Celeste, Kevin and Ashley sporting our Americana

Dancing in the mist

The night before it became Q Dance, so much work to transform the stages overnight

Super cool floating picture lily pads 

Our totem to help us find each other for the weekend, worked like a charm

Free Tomorrowland postcards, too bad we missed out
Temple of Love ;-D

Tree sweaters 

The water lilies, so pretty

Flowers acting like chairs

Q Dance stage

LED bracelets
When you combine a hundred thousand of these lights, magical
Our plaque
We are the people of tomorrow, so smile you are at Tomorrowland

Metal palm fronds acting like tables

Trashed Moroccan shoes
Mismatched flip flops 
Stranded inflatable toys
Ground-score lunch
All ground-score beers
Wet tents for days

The after Dreamville carnage

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