BOOM, Belgium — Natives Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike were beaming when MTV News caught up with them on the tarmac at Brussels airport on Thursday.
“We flew in from Barcelona with a plane filled with party people,” they said after disembarking a Tomorrowland-customized Brussels Airlines flight carrying festivalgoers. “We did a surprise set, and the crowd went nuts. We are ready for Tomorrowland.”
Tomorrowland , Europe’s enormous, highly decorated fairytale festival, is now in its eighth year. More than 400 artists will play its 16 stages over three days, bringing the weekend’s attendance figures to about 180,000 — 35,000 of whom will be campers, bedding down in the festival’s Dreamville camp ground.
For Dimitri & Mike — producers of the festival’s anthem (Kelis is featured on this year’s “Tomorrow Changed Today,” out on Avicii’s Le7els imprint) and hometown heroes — Tomorrowland is a particularly sweet affair. Just a few years back, they made their debut on a small side stage, spinning for a few hundred people. Since then, the duo has put out a string of Beatport-charting hit singles, and at Tomorrowland, they now headline. So we found it a particular treat when the brothers offered to give MTV News an exclusive tour of a few of TL’s stages as workers rushed to complete building.
First stop was the hard-hitting, ever-popular Q Dance Stage, which replaces last year’s fire-eyed, smoke-breathing giant stage skull with an equally chilling reptilian beast.
“It kind of symbolizes what this music is all about,” Dimitri explained. “It’s very aggressive. It’s very hard. There’s a lot of energy there. We got artists like Headhunterz and Coone.”
“I wonder where the fire is going to shoot out of this time?” Mike said, laughing.
After a quick stop by Steve Aoki’s “Dim Mak Fight Club” and Laidback Luke’s “Super You & Me” party home, D&M brought us to a stage near and dear to them. In addition to sharing the particular enchanted-forest-themed venue with Above & Beyond’s “Group Therapy” party Friday (July 27), their Smash the House label will share a night with Dutch dance music veteran Chuckie’s Dirty Dutch imprint.
“The lineup is insane,” Dimitri exclaimed. “We got Chuckie playing, we got Joachim Garraud, we got Apl from the Black Eyed Peas, we got Regi. Me and my brother are going to close out the festival. And we’ve got a very special guest — we are gonna give MTV the scoop — our special guest is Redfoo of LMFAO.
We ended our tour with at the fest’s mainstage, which will likely host around 40,000 people each day. With past art direction depicting a large sun and tree trunk at the center, this year, the entire stage is a library of fairytale books, with one very large book with LED that can open and close, as the focal point.
“It’s gonna be one hell of a crazy weekend,” Mike rejoiced.