ONE Nation United Under EDM: Tomorrowland 2014

*written by Crystal Garcia for Electronica Life

Over the course of two back to back weekends in July, hundreds of thousands of dance music revelers from across the planet embarked on the global trek to Belgium for the 10 year anniversary of the largest music festival in the entire world, TOMORROWLAND. With humble beginnings in 2005 as a small electronic dance music festival in the almost too fittingly titled town of Boom, it was only appropriate that festival producers ID&T, paid homage to the decade long running festivities by adding a second week of complete and utter madness. In recent years, Tomorrowland has gained notoriety as the mecca of all electronic dance music festivals. One that all EDM enthusiasts must make the pilgrimage to at least once in their lifetime.10314495_784583378228913_6866617388020042778_n
Twelve eclectic stages filled the vast festival grounds, with each stage changing daily with exception of the already massive mainstage.The variety of electronic genres represented was reflected as each of the eleven stages underwent massive reconstruction each night. Steve Aoki’s Friday Dim Mak stage became Saturday’s hardstyle Q-Dance stage which transformed to Sunday’s Legends of Trance stage hosting the likes of Cosmic Gate, Paul Van Dyk and a five hour set along with a Cosmic Gate B2B from Markus Schulz. Seasoned dance music veteran or EDM newbie, there is a style and taste to please anyone and everyone’s musical palate at Tomorrowland.

It’s difficult to translate into words and pictures the complete experience that is Tomorrowland. As I entered on the first of three days, I was taken back by the size and lush landscape. Attention to detail was perfected in every possible way. The once desolate festival grounds had transformed into a storybook playground, patiently waiting for us to release our inhibitions and become the children at heart we once were. Awe and wonder filled every single square foot of space, and there was never a dull sight to be seen. Everywhere I turned, fascination captured me. I had entered a land of pure mystery and enchantment, a place that elevates hope, nurtures love and inspires dreams.10557445_784583468228904_6195970288117722560_n
I began Friday by taking in the sights to be seen and dancing the afternoon away under a rainbow that read “LIVE YOUR DREAM.” On Saturday, I was sharing laughs and exchanging hugs with new friends from across the globe. By Sunday I thought I’d seen it all, until I was fairy dusted by a mysterious 8 ft. tall man on stilts  and found a folded love note sealed in gold ribbon no wider than my pinkie that read “The foundation of all love is life.In friendship or romance. In rich or poor.Therefore,always begin every new chapter with a great amount of heart and love. Give it your everything.Because where you invest your love, you invest your life.”

I was lost for words reading this as I knew it was exactly what I needed to hear at that exact time. In this moment I truly began to understand the meaning behind the Tomorrowland 10 year anniversary theme: “The Key to Happiness.” As the people of tomorrow we were not only meant to be here for the music, but to also be inspired to chase our dreams and guided to follow our hearts throughout the entirety of the weekend.10509629_784583328228918_5837613799745463664_n
I intended to explore every single stage and artist every day, but I was continuously drawn back to the monumental mainstage.The past two years I sat at home watching the live Tomorrowland feed, dreaming of the day I would finally be in that crowd dancing my heart out to the same beat with thousands upon thousands of fellow dance music lovers.

I felt the anticipation building as I made my way towards mainstage on Friday evening as I was saving the best for last. I climbed to the back of the enormous hill to see the stage in it’s full glory, and almost couldn’t believe my eyes. The stage was filled with details of such epic proportions, it had to be dissected in pieces to fully take in all it’s splendor.
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The flags of over 160 countries in the never ending sea of people waved high and proud in a jaw dropping view that took my breath away. I couldn’t help but feel emotional at the sheer beauty of the sight before me. Cultural, religious, political, sexual orientation and geographic differences no longer mattered, even if only for three short days. The people of tomorrow came together for THE planetary global celebration of life, peace,love,unity,respect,connection and most importantly, the love for each other.10565248_784583608228890_281802575006174914_n
Throughout the weekend I connected with people from every country imaginable. I made new friends from Canada to Australia and almost everywhere in between. Gay, straight, bisexual, muslim, christian, jewish, black, white or purple, it didn’t matter. “BE WHAT YOU WANT” was one of the messages posted throughout the festival. All three days I witnessed the same fellow make his rounds across mainstage with a “FREE HUGS” sign give more hugs than most people give throughout their entire lives. Inhibitions were no longer in existence, free love and acceptance reigned and ruled for three days.10561699_784582931562291_4222969500071257329_n
The weekend sadly came to an end Sunday night with a closing ceremony of epic proportions.“3 Are Legend” aka Steve Aoki, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike closed out mainstage as impressive fireworks fueled the night sky.In what felt as though every festival attendee was at mainstage, a sea of people filled the crowd to the point it was impossible to decipher where it began and ended. The adrenaline, passion and positive vibes incurred over the weekend was felt in full effect as the entire audience sang along in unison to every song and the crowd was lit up by simultaneously glowing wristbands matching the colors projecting from the stage. To be a part of the crowd in that euphoric energy was an indescribable feeling.10469192_784582418229009_7994386939589319421_n
I believe Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike summed up the weekend best when they stated “This anniversary of Tomorrowland proves to the rest of the world that we need to come together,because look what happens when we come together! Everyone put their flags up to show where they’re from.” It was a mind blowing sight to witness that Tomorrowland has become a primary example of exactly what humanity needs more than ever today. A place where a Palestinian and Israeli can proudly wave their flags together side by side, and it’s not only accepted but widely encouraged. I left mainstage on that last night with the confidence knowing that for years to come, the effects of Tomorrowland will leave an imprint on every single person in attendance.10469734_784581454895772_1202034267354928124_n
As the people of tomorrow we came together not only for a united love of music, but also for the lessons we take from our individual experiences at Tomorrowland that are more valuable than we could have ever imagined. We learn to let go of presumptions, fears and judgements of one another. We begin to understand that while we’re all different, we’re also all the same navigating this dance of life. We come from all different walks of life in every respect, but our hearts all beat to the same electrifying melody. The collective energy we’ve created on the dancefloor is a force like nothing else on this earth. Together we can change the world, as ONE nation united under EDM.

 “Yesterday is history, Today is a gift, Tomorrow is a mystery.”