Beyond the Imagination of Stage Design

Tomorrowland is one of the largest music festivals in the world drawing approximately 200,000 music lovers globally. Hosted annually in a nature-rich space called Recreation Area de Schorre, within the small town of Boom in Belgium, the event has become one of the most notorious music festivals, primarily for its extravagant stage set-ups and insane decor/design.

With a strong eye for detail and a flair for the dramatic, the festival started out with a single stage and has since continued to raise the bar year after year by adding unique architectural structures, large-scale projection screens with peripheral animations, top of the line audio visual technology, fascinating acts and spectacular fireworks.

The event bgena in 2005, but the evolution of their amazing stage design really took off in 2009 when tickets sold-out for the first time, generating enough capital for major expansions. The first expansion was adding 2 stage areas and expanding the width of the main stage to over 100 meters with the DJs placed inside the mouth of a giant cartoon-like face (see above).

By 2010, every A-list DJ in the world was appearing at Tomorrowland. With spectacular stages, truly phenomenal festival grounds and what they refer to as ” DreamVille”  ( a camp ground designed to make guests believe they are inside a dream),  they added pyro and fireworks to their creations,  and designed a stage with a gigantic sun top and a  rainbow above it that ran from one side of the stage set-up to the other. The set was accompanied by lily pad-like platforms used as water fountains. The sun’s eyes even lit up during night sets!

In 2011 tickets sold out in less than a day and with this success, the second stage took on a whole new life. The design was   “The Tree of Life” and  resembled a mother earth tree with her eyes animated to move around and watch the crowds in all directions.

When the festival won a major International Award in 2012, over two million people visited the website hoping to score a ticket – that was ten times more than the number of available tickets. With the high demand, Tomorrowland launched its own YouTube channel – broadcasting DJ sets, interviews and behind-the-scenes features to accommodate the masses.

The festival began to incorporate midway rides to increase the experience including a massive ferris wheel behind the stage. The theme for this year was “The Book of Wisdom”, and the stage was built to transform into a giant bookshelf with a large projection screen in the middle shaped into an open book (see below).

The festival team brought in an arsenal of new technology in 2013. The theme was “The Arising of Life” featuring a mayan-like temple backdrop with a volcano on top blowing smoke and fire. The sides of the stage extended so far that they were used as archways for festival goers to enter the main stage area.

“The Key to Happiness” was the festival theme in 2014. The entire event grounds was transformed into a utopia with mushroom props, candy cane archways and giant flowers almost resembling a life-like wonderland. The main stage featured an immense set-up of intricate details with spinning windmills and a dynamic backdrop of gears and ancient symbols that lit-up the night sky with flashing lights and fireworks (see below). This stage would later travel to Chattahoochee Hills in USA for the third edition of Tomorrow World.

The second stage included a robust temple-like 2-story structure that extended to the sides of the crowd where VIP guests were able to stand on the 2nd floor to get a better view.

In 2015 the festival created a fantasy experience with their festival theme “The Secret Kingdom of Melodia”. The castle backdrop that reminded festival goers of their favourite fairy tale. The intricate lighting elements throughout the structure completely transformed the set as day turned into night.

Last year the main stage set  resembled a jungle village with the theme, “The Elixer of Life”. The set’s length extended long enough to allow for archways to be included in the design encouraging guests to explore other areas of the festival.  Click here to view a 360 view of the entire festival.

One would think after a full decade of  such incredible artistry and logistical feats of excellence that there is no way Tomorrow land’s festival organizers could top their last few years.  But, this  past July the event celebrated its 13th edition and turned the entire festival into a world-class circus resort resembling the American Horror Story Freak Show theme with a bit of Moulin Rouge flare.

The main stage had an extravagant circus show tent structure design with robust sets and platforms for type rope walkers and aerialists to performer their acts during DJ sets.  They extended the experience beyond the stage by strategically placing buskers on poles throughout the crowds and having them roam around the festival grounds to entertain and amaze.

They featured two more stages in addition to numerous activation areas where they used air balloons and life-size circus carriages.

With so much to cover, the best way to get even an idea of how amazing 2017’s Tomorrowland was is to view the hundreds of photos on their Facebook page.