Now in its seventh year, the Tomorrowland Festival kicked off again in Boom, Belgium, this past weekend, and MTV News was there for the entire spectacle.
The dance music event started small but over the years it has ballooned into one of the most popular electronic dance music fests in existence. The Tomorrowland of 2011 had a fairy-tale theme and was made up of 14 colorfully dressed stages, which included set pieces like enormous replicas of mushrooms and trees; two of the stages were even dominated by an oversize skull and a sun. TL accommodated 30,000 campers on its "Dreamville" grounds, bringing the total draw for the weekend to upwards of 180,000, a figure that beat out Miami's Ultra Music Festival. (And what American festival can claim a Church of Love, where couples are encouraged to get some ... quality time?)
But perhaps what set this colossal European festival apart from the others this year was the sheer awesomeness of the talent flown in for it. Blockbuster dance music brands like David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia and Tiësto shared headlining duties with Belgian heroes Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and 2manydjs (brothers Stephen and David Dewaele of Soulwax fame).
And if there was a recurring theme that played out over the course of three days, particularly on the main stage, it was that the dance music world has love for seven-time VMA nominee Adele. The remixes of the British soul singer's "Rolling in the Deep" were as varied as the performers themselves. Adele's a capella vocals were featured in too many sets to count.
Swedish sensation Avicii dropped his "Nothing Without Adele" bootleg; Swedish House Mafia played the Thomas Gold/ Hard Rock Sofa & St. Brothers/ Axwell mash-up "Blow Up in the Deep"; Laidback Luke dished out John Legend's Adele cover; and Kaskade unleashed Feenixpawl's "Rolling in the Deep" remix, just to name a few. Dance music's biggest stars had clearly found their muse at Tomorrowland.
According to some of the producers we caught up with at TL, it should come as no surprise that Adele is up for multiple Moonmen.
"Everyone loved it," Los Angeles-based producer Kaskade told us after his set, "from electronic fans to pop fans to country music fans. It's an amazing song, it's very well written and it's very remix-able."
"She's so special, so different from anything," French superstar Guetta offered. "['Rolling in the Deep'] is incredible. To tell you the truth, it was also kind of inspiration for me when I was producing my record with Sia," he added of the track "Titanium" off his upcoming Nothing But the Beat. "It's totally different, but it's just a mood and using acoustic elements and mixing it with my style of course. I was listening to her record and thinking I would love to introduce a mood like this."
SHM's Steve Angello said, "It's one of those songs. She's an amazing artist and she has a very strong voice and obviously she means what she was singing. If you think about it, most artists out there, they get a record and they just go in there and record it — they don't know what it's about. They don't give a sh--. But Adele, she means it. She's the real f---ing deal, and you can tell."
Chuckie, Hardwell and Norman Doray were also among the Tomorrowland performers documented playing elements of Adele's chart-topping song.
And while Adele-spinning headliners captured the main stage, there were some equally stellar supporting acts among the 469-deep lineup: Richie Hawtin, Afrojack, Wolfgang Gartner, Steve Aoki, Nervo, Sander Van Doorn, Carl Cox, Paul Van Dyk, Fedde Le Grand and Martin Solveig were but a few of the memorable performers over the weekend.