As I watched reveller after reveller drop and kiss the ground upon entry, I was reminded of my first visit to the Ganges River in Haridwar as a young boy. Now I stood watching thousands from around the world pay homage. Yet, this was no holy river or sacred ground; but an electronic music festival powerful enough to bring 3,60,000 people from nearly every country in the world. This was Tomorrowland.
Celebrating its 10-year-anniversary, Tomorrowland was staged in Boom, Belgium in July 2014. Upon entering the event, I quickly made my way to main stage and noticed hundreds of national flags in the crowd. As I was born in India, my eyes naturally gravitated toward the dozens of Indian flags in the audience. I was astounded by the number of Indian youth who made the 7,000 km trek to Belgium. Looking further, I saw flags from Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Hindu countries all dancing as one.
Tomorrowland statistics show a global phenomenon:
• 118 million views for Tomorrowland 2012 aftermovie on youtube.
• 27.1 million total live views on youtube in 2014.
• Tomorrowland Belgium 2014 sold out 360,000 in less than an hour.
• Tomorrowland Brazil May 2015 (first timeconcert), sold out 180,000 on Sept 6, 2014 tickets. Nine months before the event without the lineup announced.
• Positive economic impact of approximately $100 million per weekend.
• 214 nationalities requesting tickets for Tomorrowland Belgium 2014, more than any music festival in history.
India also made history this year at Tomorrowland. For the first time ever, an Indian DJ, Shaan Singh, graced its stage in Belgium. It was a distinguished moment for Singh and India. "I'm proud to be Indian...Representing our nation at the World's Best Festival is an honour...To raise the Indian flag up on that stage, and see more tri-colours waving in the audience - wow! ... Tomorrowland felt like home."
Spearheaded with local artists like Singh, the India dance scene is now flourishing from its organic beginnings in Goa in the late 1980's. Tomorrowland headliner and 2014 Grammy Award winner, Zedd recently played in India noting the unique energy in the Indian crowd: "My tour in India was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had. The crowd energy was out of this world and the people were so enthusiastic, it was unbelievable...I didn't wanna (sic) leave India. "Fellow mega-star and Tomorrowland performer Steve Angello also played in India this year: "India is the fastest growing dance scene on the planet, we have put a lot of focus there lately."
And perhaps the biggest announcement connecting India with Tomorrowland was at ADE 2014, when India's largest dance festival, Sunburn, announced Tomorrowland resident DJ's Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike would headline the festival this month in Goa, noting: "We are super excited to headline this massive festival... We have been touring India for a long time and really love the people & energy."
Like so many countries around the world, India has taken to the Tomorrowland fantasy. And with growing local stars and visiting international stars, the dance scene in India shows no signs of slowing. So, to the youth of India and in the timeless words of David Bowie: Let's Dance.
Images and video provided by Tomorrowland via Prem Akkaraju.