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Tomorrowland - Boom, Belgium - July 26-28 2013 (Live Review)

Friday, 02 August 2013 Written by Adam Holden

The latest chapter of Tomorrowland is now complete, and the electronic fairytale was just as mind-blowing as everyone expected it to be.

Only in its ninth year, Tomorrowland is now rightly regarded as a superfestival, with massive demand for tickets and an unmatched level of spectacle. Every year it takes over a huge space outside the Belgian town of Boom, laying on some of the biggest names in the world of electronica and dance.

The first thing to note about the 2013 edition is the production. It was pure creativity and innovation, spiced with a few dashes of genius here and there. And this isn't just on a large scale either. What makes it particularly special is the attention to detail at every corner: the beautiful décor dotted throughout the already stunning De Schorre National Park, the colourful animations, actors and themed dancers, water features and efficient organisation.

The festival also boasts à la carte restaurants and Michelin chefs, while the campsites are far more than just a host of tents pitched around a gazebo. They offer Finnish saunas, on-site butchers and bakers, pools and their own illustrious main stage.

Of course there is more to the festival than just its production. Special mention must also be made of the atmosphere and electricity that is created by the 180,000 revellers that make the pilgrimage to Belgium from all corners of the globe.

The main stage, which is always shrouded in secrecy, was a monumental volcano, which included two waterfalls, three LED screens, numerous dancers and enough pyrotechnics and fireworks to make Guy Fawkes jealous. Oh, and of course a DJ with a pumping sound system.

It truly had to be seen to be believed, and if there is one criticism of Tomorrowland it is that the main stage is almost too good. The majority of the festival's punters want to be there, if only to say they were there, and that does have a knock-on effect on the smaller stages.

Over the course of the weekend, there were over 400 DJs on 15 different stages. Among them was the brand new Garden of Madness stage, which sat on a lake and held over 6,000 ravers. The stage was bedecked with flowers, many of which were picked for its stunning hanging basket chandeliers.

On the first evening, trance god Tiesto ran through the long list of classics that he has in his repertoire, eventually concluding with Adagio For Strings. Sebastian Ingrosso, one third of the retired Swedish House Mafia, warmed the crowd before Tiesto, playing his hits Calling and Reload as well as some tracks from his former group. Over the weekend, all three members of Swedish House Mafia would play the main stage at some point, so they might be gone, but certainly they haven't been forgotten.

The weekend had its fair share of highlights, right across the bill. Mark Schulz played a 12 hour set on one stage, while Spiderman, Batman and Iron Man (aka Laidback Luke, Sander van Doorn and Dimitri Vegas) hosted a superhero house set that incorporated comic book theme tunes and mixes from Queen and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

On the Saturday night, Avicii, whose headline set here last year was impressive enough to earn him a return to the same stage, looked after the crowd for the number one DJ in the world right now – Armin van Buuren. With a Biblical storm settling in as his set began, it brought a new meaning to the phrase 'raving in the rain'.

As the festival entered its final hours, David Guetta headlined and Steve Aoki closed the main stage. This year, Guetta had some friends with him and for the first time ever, collaborated with Nicky Romero and Afrojack live on stage. With all the criticism that Guetta gets, the mixing between the three was excellent. Aoki then sent Tomorrowland 2013 out on a thumping high note.


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