Through the looking glass; The history of Tomorrowland in photos and videosTomorrowland20111 E1361131680198

Through the looking glass; The history of Tomorrowland in photos and videos

Since its inception in 2005, the growth of Tomorrowland has been nothing short of meteoric. In only 8 years, what began as a small, one day festival in the town of Boom, Belgium has quickly become the largest dance music event on planet Earth. For 2013, the festival has grown to over 180,000 visitors from 214 countries across the globe, with more nations in representation at the event than at the 2012 Summer Olympics. We’ve compiled not only videos from every year, but photographs from ID&T’s senior photographer for an inside look at the Tomorrowland experience and its development over the last eight years.

Since 2008 I have been the senior photographer for ID&T’s Tomorrowland so when asked to send in my favorite shots I knew I was in for a headache: every edition I end up with hundreds and hundreds of photos that I like. What to choose? Details, overviews or the artists?
Personally, I think Tomorrowland is about the experience, about the immense size with still so much attention to detail. This is best seen at the mainstage, that valley is just so perfect for massive events like these – it’s rare that a festival lands at exactly the right spot.
So, in choosing my images, I have decided to go for the biggest shots, it’s what Tomorrowland is known for.

Humble Beginnings

The festival’s first two years were modestly-sized with only 10,000 and 15,000 attendees respectively, but by Year Three, after word of mouth had spread, the crowd swelled to approximately 50,000 people and the festival occupied two full days in Boom. In the early years, Armin Van Buuren, David Guetta and Paul van Dyk led the charge of headliners and were accompanied by the likes of Sander Kleinenberg, Roger Sanchez, Push, Bob Sinclar and more.


Notable acts: Armin van Buuren, Sasha, Ferry Corsten, Sven Vath

Attendees: 10,000


Notable acts: David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Paul Oakenfold, Bob Sinclair, Axwell

Attendees: 15,000


Notable acts: Roger Sanchez, Paul van Dyk, Sander Kleinenberg, Steve Angello, Markus Schulz

Attendees: 50,000


Notable acts: Deadmau5, Carl Cox, Fedde Le Grand, Showtek, Above & Beyond

Attendees: 50,000


This was my first edition at TL, and even though big, it was definitely not the size it is today. Still the massive crowds and the huge mainstage blew my mind. You could already feel that this festival was going to be bigger in the years to come – everybody knew this not going to stop here.
This photo might not be technically perfect but the lonely figure holding his beer and camera gives it such a nice contrast to the masses in front of him.


Notable acts: Laidback Luke, Afrojack, Martin Solveig, Armand van Helden, Sasha & John Digweed

Attendees: 90,000


This was possibly the watershed year for the event, it sold out and almost doubled in size compared to the previous year. It is also the year that the mainstage really got out of hand: the size, the fountains and the whole setup were completely impressive.
Of course it all comes to life at night and with so many lights and lasers it wasn’t hard to get a decent photo.


Notable acts: Swedish House Mafia, Richie Hawtin, Hardwell, Mark Knight vs Dirty South

Attendees: 120,000


The hands, oh the hands! I have no idea how it started but I remember arriving at the mainstage pit and seeing all these people starting to do synchronized routines. I remember getting goose bumps all over, such a massive show of energy from the crowd! It’s actually impossible to really capture that vibe in a photo, it’s just too massive but this photo should do it justice – a little at least.


Notable acts: Kaskade, Seth Troxler & Bill Patrick, Fedde Le Grand, Coone, Green Velvet

Attendees: 180,000


The 2011 edition was sold out in minutes for the first time ever, I guess it just shows that investing in quality over a long period does pay off though it’s a shame that a lot of people won’t be able to visit. In 2010 in one of the tents these new large glowsticks were handed out, which looked absolutely amazing. So, this year the mainstage was bombarded with them, such an awesome sight which looked just incredible on photo too.


In 2012 festival numbers once again swelled to 180,000 people from all over the world. Headlined by Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Carl Cox, Sebastian Ingrosso, Avicii, Hardwell and more, 2012 set new standards for festival production with its unbelievable mainstage that mimicked a fantasy bookcase. 2012’s aftermovie set a new standard for festival aftermovies with over 20-minute of professional grade cinematography. With 82 millions plays as of writing this, Tomorrowland 2012’s Aftermovie is the most watched electronic music related video of all time.

Notable acts: Avicii, Fatboy Slim, Skrillex, Porter Robinson, Loco Dice, Nicky Romero

Attendees: 180,000


Last year’s stage was basically insane: one of my “bookshelve” photos, posted on the TL Facebook went wild with 60.000+ shares but it was by far not my favorite photo. This one is, taken at night during the fireworks show from the helicopter is my favorite. It’s Tomorrowland in one photo: EPIC!

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