Oh Tomorrowland, it’s hard to even encapsulate how much we love you. When a brand just blows past your expectations and takes actions purely to improve your experience, it creates something way more than the typical American PLUR festival excitement. I could write a book about all the reasons Tomorrowland is the pinnacle of music festivals, but I already did that last year. So to make it interesting, we’ve rounded up the winners and losers of Tomorrowland 2018. Hit next for the losers.
Techno & Tech-House
If you’re only looking for filthy face-melting drops, you might wanna stick to America. Seriously, Tomorrowland has nailed the techno and tech-house game. Name a “must see” artist and they were probably there and maybe even had their own stage. Tomorrowland even had Charlotte De Witte and Solomun play the mainstage for peet’s sake! Adam Beyer, Jamie Jones, Tale of Us, Patrice Baumel, Boris Brechja all threw down amazing sets and that’s just a small sampling from Weekend 2. While Ultra’s Resistance is epic, Tomorrowland has a more subdued and emotional techno experience in addition to the epicness of the Atmosphere stage. It’s hard to decide which stage makes for the best techno experience, but Atmosphere, Garden of Madness, CORE, and Amicorum all were legendary.
You wouldn’t know it but Dirtybird rising star, Fisher, was not on the lineup this year. However his latest single “Losing It” was the most played track of the festival. It was everywhere with spins from Kungs, Throttle, Lost Frequencies, Sebastian Ingrosso, Fatboy Slim, Zonderling, and more. This track might not have made it to the aftermovie, but it was the track of the festival and we are NOT complaining about it.
Lowkey Salvatore Ganacci won Tomorrowland more than anybody else. He first burst onto the scene at Tomorrowland 2017 with his original WTF moment, but he blew that away for his mainstage debut. His wild antics drew a massive reaction with lots of fans and lots of haters. Having met with Salvatore himself, he says the funny stuff was never really planned at the beginning and he just tries to have a good time and not take himself too seriously. Is that really any worse than a fake anonymous identity and a helmet? Beyond that, he is actually a serious producer on Ingrosso’s Refune label and that “Antidote” remix played by SHM at Ultra was his. The guy was such a Tomorrowland legend he made it into the Aftermovie 3 times.
Tomorrowland boasted the most LEDs ever this year, and it was most noticeable on its incredible Planaxis mainstage. While the 2016 Tree stage also incorporated LED screens, this was the most ever used and they were put to good effect. As much as we wanted aquariums built into the stage, that would not have been very kind to the fish.
Besides the Mainstage, the brand new Atmosphere stage boasted a fancy lattice netting structure coated with LEDs to create a surreal vortex effect going up the entire thing.
The late great EDM legend was sorely missed at Tomorrowland, as it was one of the first festivals to give him exposure in his early days. The People of Tomorrow were out and about showing their admiration and love for Avicii through massive Swedish flags and the DJs showed their love by playing a litany of Avicii tracks. “Levels” was the 2nd most played track of the festival. Tomorrowland also put a permanent Avicii memorial on its One World Bridge where fans were often seen paying respects.
While it was sweltering hot in Boom, people were already looking forward to the cool temps of March in the French Alps. Tomorrowland was so ready to hype Tomorrowland Winter, that the 2018 Aftermovie was released the day after the festival ended so all attention could be shifted over. We even learned that the crowd-favorite Freedom Stage will be coming to Tomorrowland Winter. Now things are full steam ahead for the inaugural event. Maybe SHM will christen the event as well.
Ok so on one hand Tomorrowland was lucky enough to have avoided rain in the very rainy country of Belgium. On the other hand the heat and dryness was so intense that Weekend 2 was almost forced to abandon pyrotechnics. Friday of Weekend 2 was Belgium’s hottest day on record and the festival took serious measures to help people. These heat measures led to some of the strangest images you will ever see from a music festival. Seriously, watch the video above for a few minutes because you will never see something like that again. The scorching heat was most noticeable in the brand new Atmosphere stage, which was sadly not designed with a heatwave in mind. The enclosed structure provided very little openings for
steam air to get out, so the result was an absolutely steaming sauna where you could literally see the heat emanating off of people. All that being said, Adam Beyer, Eric Prydz, Q-Dance and more were still incredible in there.
Axwell / Ingrosso
Axwell and Ingrosso are not really losers at all, but the “Axwell Ingrosso” duo might be done at Tomorrowland for a long time. Over the course of Tomorrowland’s 2 weekends, the Swedish House Mafia members did everything they
legally could short of announcing a world tour and Tomorrowland 2019 performance. During week 1 Steve Angello brought Sebastian Ingrosso onstage purely for the SHM hype. Then during Weekend 2 during Sebastian Ingrosso’s set he brought out Axwell and they told the crowd this would be their last time performing at Tomorrowland for a while.
Tomorrowland really makes clear the difference between the American dance music scene and the European scene. Tomorrowland really only featured 1 serious trap/dubstep stage during Weekend 1. While Tomorrowland managed to bring in heavy hitters like GUD VIBRATIONS and Seven Lions in the first week, Weekend 2 traded bass music for extra techno. During Weekend 2 Slushii and Alison Wonderland were some of the only bass music artists you would find. The silver lining though is that Tomorrowland was having none of that Future Bass stuff that is still not gone in America. Also we’re not complaining about more techno.
At EDMTunes we have often been critical of dance music producers turning to pop, but now pop wants to invade festivals. EDC Vegas has done it with little success, now rumor has it that Tomorrowland wants to take on a bit of a Coachella vibe by bringing in genre-crossover acts. During Weekend 1 the Organ of Harmony played host to a Live Stage of hip-hop and pop acts. French Montana, Lil Pump, and Dua Lipa graced the Organ of Harmony with mixed results. As expected there was some backlash, and Dua Lipa made things even worse. Will Tomorrowland abandon or expand this initiative in 2019? That remains to be seen.
***READ MORE HERE: Winners and Losers of Tomorrowland 2018