I went to a virtual festival and this is what happened

COVID-19 may have obliterated your holiday plans but this virus has given us the chance to unite thanks to the wonder technology. But shortly after lockdown, numerous venues which were closed due to the virus, have made use of their space to host online events.

Everyone from massive American music festivals to small German band live streams, we had a lot to keep ourselves entertained through these last few months.

However, if you’re a fan of dance music like me, you may have been concerned about the big EDM festivals that take place around the world. EDM festivals are pretty extravagant, with fireworks displays, pyrotechnics galore and of course, good music. A few of the most well known ones include: Ultra Miami, EDC Las Vegas and Ushuaia at Ibiza.

These events are packed with energetic fans and that doesn’t bode well in these uncertain times. If there’s one event that EDM fans treasure, it’s Tomorrowland. This two-day festival takes place in Boom, a town in Belgium. It’s been running since 2006 and the number of artists performing there have swelled in recent years. It’s one of the highlights for the electronic music community because it unites fans from all corners of the globe to enjoy something they love.

But due to COVID-19, a festival that would house over half a million visitors just wouldn’t be feasible. So the organisers of Tomorrowland decided to bring the multi-million dollar event to our homes by introducing #AroundTheWorld.

This is how my experience of the event was:

Tickets and lineup

The tickets went on sale a month prior to the event. Tickets for individual days (Saturday and Sunday) were priced at £13.50 whereas a weekend ticket saved some money costing £20. I found that these prices were a bit too high however the sheer number of artists performing was immense.

The lineup was very interesting. With the usual appearances like Martin Garrix, Armin Van Buuren and David Guetta, it was business as usual. However, a special performance by Katy Perry would boost the viewer count to over half a million at its peak.

How did the digital festival work?

Buying a ticket would give you access to the Tomorrowland portal, where you can access the completely made-up island of Papilionem. This island would act as a main housing for all the different stages as well as promoting a few sponsors.

This is what a section of the map looked like

This is what a section of the map looked like

The map featured a mini timetable which told you when the next artist will come on that stage. As always with Tomorrowland, the mainstage is the key attraction. At night, many firework displays and confetti can be seen which add to the atmosphere of this unique event.

Naturally, the pyrotechnics look a bit fake but its miniscule when taking into account the scale of the event. Normally, you would navigate between stages which are located in the few acres of Belgian land. On the virtual event switching between stages can be dine with a few clicks. Like many things nowadays.

The artists – making the event worthwhile

As is the case with many EDM festivals, the artists performing there are very mainstream. Action started at 5:00pm on both days and ended at around midnight, just like the real thing. DJs like Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto and even event founders Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike closed off the first day of action.

I personally watched the last few hours of the show with Robin Schulz, David Guetta and then Tiesto eventually played the last set of the first day. The second day was very action packed with multiple recognisable names who have established their careers in the electronic music scene.

EDM giant Martin Garrix closed off the set with his usual hour-long set. He definitely made it clear that a virtual event of this style could be repeated if the reception was good.

Was Tomorrowland Around The World worth it?

If you were to watch just a few hours on both days then it isn’t worth it. The price you pay covers a unique experience which nobody has seen before. Furthermore, it allows fans to get exclusive listens to new music and generally just relax after a hectic few months.

Yes, it’s not a live event and that’s what most people go for but the feel of the individual performances, the artists themselves and indeed the atmosphere is truly one to remember.

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