For the second consecutive year, the Belgian festival Tomorrowland landed on the Maeda park (with 1 million square meters) in the city of Itu, São Paulo. This time the theme was “The Key of Happiness” – announced after the close of the first edition in 2015 (long 355 days waiting) and surrounded by expectation for who was and wanted back, and who was not and wanted to go.
Be better than the first edition that took place in Brazil did not seem to be the simplest thing in the world – first because “the first time we never forget”, and then because seeing that book, gigantic, being clad, talking to the crowd (and looking at people), with the faces of DJ’s pages is something surreal – the TV does not even come close to what was to see and feel the live thing – and the line-up of the main stage had all most of people likesin eletronic scene: Hardwell, the Nervo sisters, and the “pastor of Tomorrowland” David Guetta (was he who announced in 2014 that the festival would come to Brazil). Oh, if you have not read the review of what went down in 2015, click here.
The controversy this year rolled from the announcement of the headliners of the festival. Many people at social media complained about the absence of last year’s stars, not hiring new names of they would, turnover of DJ’s (for example, the brazilian DJ Illusionize played 3 times in 3 different stages). The fact is that when it is a FESTIVAL the intetion is also to bring the spotlight sounds that are less known, released, or simply bring new opportunities to those who spontaneously would not leave the comfort of your home to listen to something new to your ears, and this is a major feature of the event. Last year, for example, impressed me quite opposite genres such as Patrick Topping, Andrew Rayel and Vintage Culture which did, in late sunday afternoon, a crowd dance, full of happines, at frame stage (the stage of mirrors, located right next to the west entrance of the festival).
There was a change to the payment this year: rates were included on the tickets, however, it was more flexible, and it was possible to make the payment in up to 5 times with brazilian credit cards. The coins were exchanged for electronic commanding coupled under the logo of the festival on access bracelets at the event, which could be more practical and safe, but, it was less functional: to get a drink at the bar was necessary to pass the bracelet on the digital player see the balance, waiting for the person registering the system and get a drink, and then confirm the debit again on the bracelet – the result was, even with uncontable bars, waiting up to half an hour.
Tomorrowland is not only it. Of course that stage design, pyrotechnics, sound, performances, attractions, everything works in a professional and expert manner, in the most concrete and strict sense. We’re talking about a place with ONE MILLION square meters, which is built a city in the middle of nowhere, where we camped, the most “fortunates” lives, many people works hard to make it happen, and visitors enter and leave during 3-day festival. Can you believe the size of it all? It’s almost surreal. Even with details, it’s hard to have an accurate idea without being there. God did his part and is infinitely generous with Brazil: also, for the second time, did not rain, and during the day, the average temperature was 30 degrees, the sky was clear, unclouded and during the night, starry.
There festival without audience? Of course not, and more than 100,000 Brazilians deserve palms (outside the gringo guys), because they are warriors – endure five days in camping, three days of parties since 1pm until 1 am, plus the welcome party, the dust of the place, the hot sun and cold night, is not for any metabolism. It also who goes and get back everyday (like me who live 100km from there). Well, maybe we are born ready, after all, here is the land of Carnival. Be happy and be warrior is something that is already within us.
Go for the second time does not give the same thrill of stepping for the first time there – the feelings are different, mainly because the first thing that happens is to compare with the previous edition. Ok, the book is something unbeatable, but near the stage, and see all those gears running smoothly, from one end to another, it is “out of the curve.” The Water Mill, running non-stop, like a waterfall, the high definition screens, the dancers jumping on trampolines (which seemed to float in front of us) at main stage are. Off course, the character who tells the story (which could be in Portuguese to help Brazilians to really understand the subject) is an animation level like Steven Spielberg – explain the machinery under her cheeks not fit here, just seeing it. The metal glasses stands in front of the big screen (and is only positioned in the eye at specific times), makes you think who was the genius who had the idea and materialize everything. Yes, is someone (or a team) very evolved to think and put everything into practice.
The walk to the festival was long even for those who opted to enter the point focused on vehicles that were not parked there. The most comfortable option was the official transfer, which was closest to the south gate. I went by car, taxi and van, so, I used the 3 possible routes, and where the taxi stops, is very, very far! But when you set foot inside there, you forget hunger, heat, fatigue – all this is replaced by a light atmosphere where people undress prejudice, and are simply interested in living it as a unique experience in their lives. The festival promises and fulfills. The PLUR is real (which stands for peace, love, unity and respect – that came from the “rave” culture – a term that many Brazilian producers insist on veto at their parties because of the “negative connotations”, can you believe? Rethink. ).
The first visited dancefloor was the red tent, which last year hosted the Hardwell label too. This year, the Warung Beach Club, known to be one of the classic house music poles protagonist was in place, with a wonderful stage, and the sound of Leo Janeiro & Leozinho (new names for me) was phenomenal. I had to write and immediately send a video to friends who loves the genre and makes them “salivate”. Do you think there is only EDM? Your mistake. Leaving there, I went to Frame Stage where the dj Adriano Pagani was the Super Incredible (yes, the Disney cartoon) – playing what the people like, did the guys scream singing radio hits (he is from São Paulo radio station Energia 97fm ), and jumped a lot, even with the sun high on their heads, making the dancefloor it almost impassable.
Then it was the turn of the Colombian “Moska” take the pick-ups. He played “baile de favela” in his set, which seemed to rain people to dance – Brazilian music (funk), played for a Colombian to people around the world. More than a simple choice, it also demonstrates the love with our people – not everyone uses their time looking for something that is immediately assimilated by being local – usually is preferred to repeat the same formulas used extensively. Daniel Amézquita AKA Moska certainly won many fans and admirers of his work after his set – and to listen him full set, click here.
Robin Schulz entered the MainStage 6 pm – when fireworks light up the sky, and all the special effects arise. Schulz, as always, has getting bigger at the scene, and the crowd in chorus, reacts to each track (first day is always so new to everybody). The first chords of “Sugar” – hit that captured the entire planet and turned gum in most radio stations – are sung, hysteria is widespread, and even those who do not make the slightest idea what you’re talking about, surrenders to ” Sugar how you get so fly? “. The magic happens. The room lights that time light up, and it seems that we are again in another festival. The trees this time are illuminated by yellow lasers, and soap balls are present in the information desk Globe area, in the bars on the left side of the main stage, giving more veracity to the “modern fairy tale” narrated in the festival.
On books stage, is a day of Full On by Ferry Corsten, a very familiar name to trance lovers, who enters at the final minutes of the presentation of each artist to do a back 2 back 15 minutes all over the day the day (yes, 1pm to 1am, and he still had your own set alone from 22:00 to 23:30). Who’s on stage is the colombian Khomha, and many people in a stuffy stage, dances a lot – Corsten arises, and raises dust of the ground of the dancefloor, besides of Khomha. I had the great pleasure to do a personal interview with Ferry Corsten, who is a sympathy and has a unique light – even with my mix of nervousness and anxiety, the brightness of those blue eyes makes anyone feel good – its over 25-year career, 460 podcast episodes, countless hours playing, producing projects with phenomena such as Tiesto, nothing left him dazzled, arrogant or stardom crisis, but completely opposite. His team are extremely professional in the field that acts – and the full interview, you check soon on our website. Another wonderful presentation was also the veteran, Markus Schulz, american, and longtime partner of Corsten. Together they have the project “New World Punx” and no wonder, Markus was chosen to precede the presentation of Ferry at Full On – the crowd screamed all the time, and they could see Markus Schulz, the “New World Punx” (in a back2back), and Ferry Corsten in a total of 3 hours. We also had an exclusive interview with the Markus, which will be uploaded next week, after “Watch the World” him new album that will be released in April 29th.
Back to the main stage, the responsible for closing the night, were, successively, the duo Axwell & Ingrosso – who used a track of a samba school drum on your set – but always David Guetta is one of the most waited headliners. Using the same camouflage jacket of other presentations in Brazil, the hitmaker always declares his love to Brazil – “I’m in the country I love most, at the best party of the world“ – and under all kind affection of the crowd, people on each other, numerous countries flags, plays “Play Hard”, and again, the dust rises from the dancefloor of beaten earth; nitrogen cannons, fireworks, the people jumping in the VIP area and at the super VIP tables, everything happens at the same time; it is hard to assimilate so much information together.
Another coincidence, but sad at this time, was that once again, during the day of your presentation, we lost a great pop star: Prince, one of the largest pop influencers of the world, died on april 21th, allegedly by an overdose caused by mix of several different drugs. When he came to Brazil at the beginning of the year, him presentation in São Paulo occurred on the same day of the death of David Bowie, which then played “We Could be heroes” after their show. On that night in Itu, the chosen song was “Kiss” by Prince (see the video here), who, of course, at some point in your life, have you ever hearded.
On the second day, speculations said there was a fire in a region close to the festival, which made it very difficult access, changed routes, and made us come there a little later. Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, dutch duo, as always (I never hearded a live set them “more or less”) was one of the best performances of the entire event, especially because of the tribal drums – the hairstyle full of curls and unmistakable from Ryan Marciano its for me his trademark. That was a sign that the night would be the best of the festival.
Getting back to the books stage, which on Thursday, had another name: this time signed by Green Valley, was called “Protocol Recordings” the label of Nicky Romero. Who was there was the french Arno Cost (who also was interviewed before the festival, and actually is working on his track “Coming Alive” which is simply amazing), and off course, I would have to be there to see. Another pleasant surprise. With shining eyes, he did not disguise the happiness in being there, and the crowd at dancefloor responding all over the time to the tracks and, to all the signs he answered. At the end of the set, visibly emotioned, he made a heart with his hands – cutest, impossible! Arno, get back to Brazil <3
I saw the opening of StadiumX – the boys are energetic – and spent the tent of Alok, the “Brazilian Bass“. Alok, no wonder, come of a presentation in the afternoon of last year’s edition, for another at 7 pm of the first day of the festival this year – and was responsible yet to sign the giant tent the next day. During both presentations, proved that it is not at the top of the ranking by popular vote as the best DJ in Brazil to nothing, and dragged a crowd huddled inside and outside at the tent to see it (on the Main Stage was the same: people from all corners came down the ramp running from the main stage saying “It’s Alok, it is Alok!“).
Back to the main stage, I saw the end of the presentation of the duo W & W, and is entering Afrojack. Nick van de Wall, real name Afrojack, is that guy who plays, produces, makes fortune with his work and uses your hard earned money in a dream of every boy: according to the site youredm.com, the Dutch have a Bugatti Chiron, valued at “only” $ 2.5 million. Afrojack, as always, is a show that dance, sing, jump, gestures, and of course, plays a lot – Hey Mama, track that made in collaboration with Guetta is one of the highest of the presentation points (but do not say it does EDM because he does not like, ok?).
But, like every mortal, I have my hors-concours preferences. After all, there are talented people, special, lwho can learn, can teach… And there is Armin van Buuren, which is out of all this reality, and for me never does anything wrong. Winner of 5 times as the best DJ of the world, becomes boring to talk about all Armin attributes – it is at the electronic music (besides Tiesto) the largest reference for the universe; a passion comparable to soccers fanatics (and I live at the Soccer land!). Exposed it, I limit myself just to put the set for you to enjoy, because it’s good recorded, but alive is the mix of all the good emotions + best friends + the best special effects + sound + the best festival in the world in Brazil ARMIN + = perfect equation; without any possibility of error. “Heading Up High” are one the speakers, and gives that feelling almost to not breathe because of the emotions. I did not cry, but I confess that my eyes were filled with tears – was the second festival day, had passed more than 20 hours, and the time inside, flies like a flash, after all, we were near the end of second day. And if he is a football team, the anthem is “Another You” – and because of it was my voice almost gone (I think I overdid the singing). ARMIN, gives an exclusive interview to us? BRAZIL LOVES YOU <3
Alesso was the last of that day, also visibly emotioned (as all of us who were present at Maeda park). Memorable hits like “Lose Yourself” and “Calling” obviously could not stay out of your show, and for me, that was hearding him live for the first time (judge me) was, as all talks teenager, “Top,” “Incredible Vibe “, with all the confetti that it deserves. But we still had a big surprise.
MC Stretch, the guy who does the honors of the Main Stage, today announced that for THE FIRST TIME OF HISTORY OF THE FESTIVAL they would have stretched the time. Nobody understood anything; everyone looked and wondered what was gonna happen: appears, on the stage again the duo Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano; W & W and Armin Van Buuren. You know when you look but you do not quite sure if it’s true, if real, it is a dream, if you were abducted – this was more or less the feeling that everybody had when they came up front. Still in disbelief, I went to stand right in front of the pick-up, a few meters from where they were those 5 guys (do not ask how I got there, but I got) and when the music starts… Hysteria, emotion, scream, jumps, all at the same time (and I still not believing with all that was happening). The 55 minutes that followed up the announcement were, no doubt, that kind of memory that will join the grandchildren in the room when we are very older, to tell with pride, “I was there“. It was epic, and if the closure would be the best of all worlds!
I arrived on the third day, and on the main stage are Romeo Blanco, another headliner that I also had the honor to do an exclusive interview before the festival. And do not be fooled by the delicate face and his fashion style: Romeo was another big choice of the organizers of the event, to the allocate for 1 hour and a half, at the sunset – despite being a relatively new name to the “brazilian crowd” , him tracks were perfectly lined up throughout your presentation. It is also a Brazil enthusiast, likes our “beautiful women” and said always be welcomed by us. Certainly it will be scaled again next year, as happened last year and this – in addition to being highly praised the track was much applauded too, and people who did not know him spoke “wow, this guy is really good.” Romeo, when left the stage, won the affection of many, snatched many fans, and certainly many compliments that will echo positively in your life. If you want to listen the live set of Romeo, click here.
The Blasterjaxx duo came next, and even beeing unkowed for many people, gave the job done, and not have the dancefloor empty in no time. Click here to listen their live set.
Nicky Romero once again was scheduled to also present on the last day of the festival, and came after the duo. Nicky is not only a skilled DJ, as well as a recognized producer especially by professionals of the genre, as it has few skills like (which perhaps can even be called a “accomplishment”) for electronic music. Signs hits like “I Could be the one” and “Toulouse“, created musics for the Nervo sisters too, has the label Protocol Recordings (as mentioned before), and recently created the great track “Future Funk“. Makes history, and him live set was another great moment of the night. Click here to listen Nicky’s live set.
Steve Angello is besides of Armin, the best of the best that we can witness – in 2015 ended his set to the sound with “Children of the Wild” at a time when I could not hold back the tears. This year, completely out the obvious, made a concise set, with classic, and music for “adult” on a stage where EDM reigns (to get an idea, on one of the days, were played 5 different versions of “How Deep is Your Love” from Calvin Harris on the Main Stage); Steve is in such a saturated scenery outside the curve – and he certainly knows it. As Armin (but each in its square) is also not to speak, but to do. The head of the Swedish House Mafia did not leave the project for nothing; he knows exatcly him power. To hear him live set, click here.
Those Responsible for the closure were the current “best in the world” and residents of the festival Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. More inspired than ever, up at the pick ups (as always), interacted with the audience, they went up on the grid to give drink to the crowd, and played big room in a vibrant presentation. Are show men, are performers, and knows how anyone to make de dancefloor happy (click here to listen the liveset). Also did a tribute to Prince to playing “Purple Rain” (click here to see the video). And with Them, the dream ended.
*pictures from fb official pages of the artists and from Tomorrowland Brazil