With more and more festivals appearing on the global circuit every year, the widespread spectrum of dance music has never been more appealing for party-goers seeking the best in electronic talent across a variety of nations. Despite this, ‘the big three’ are still regarded by most EDM fans as Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Las Vegas, and European juggernaut Tomorrowland. Some other festivals which deserve a mention and making their way to the top are the Sziget Festival and also Creamfields festival which is one of the most popular festival in the UK at the moment.
With the latter celebrating a special 15th-anniversary edition over the course of two weekends at the end of this month, We Rave You take a look at The Big Debate: How does Tomorrowland compare to EDC and Ultra?
Tomorrowland is at a clear disadvantage here, taking place in the quiet fields of sleepy Belgian town, Boom. Over in Sin City, the razzle-dazzle of Las Vegas nightlife can offer a range of glamorous clubbing experiences in venues like Hakkasan or Omnia, with party animals from all across the world jetting into the iconic strip to see resident acts like Calvin Harris or experience a Tiesto pool party at the Wet Republic. But with the Nevada desert serving up some pretty unbearable temperatures across summer (EDC has now been moved to May as June was deemed ‘too hot’ after regularly exceeding 46 celsius), Miami offers the perfect combination. Warm sun-soaked days during March are met with the cool breezes rustling through Palm trees on Collins Avenue, and a range of famous cocktail bars along Ocean Drive, the area adjacent to the crystal clear blue seas of South Beach. Ultra will, however, be looking to swiftly move back to their iconic (previous) location on Bayfront Park, after mixed reviews following their forced move over to Virginia Key in 2019.
Whilst Tomorrowland prefers to keep things brief with an opening night extravaganza known as ‘The Gathering’ where special guests including Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, and Lost Frequencies have previously turned up to play sets for the flag-clad vibe, the States (typically) go bigger and better here. With Vegas offering an entire week of special events leading up to EDC, acts like Steve Aoki, Above & Beyond and many more dominate venues like Drai’s Beach-Club or the XS Encore Nightswim. However, Miami Music Week has grown into an entirely different entity in recent years, with multiple parties taking place all day and night across both more coastal areas, and downtown. Highlights include ‘The Avicii Hotel‘ (now reformed as ‘The Spinnin’ Hotel’), and Swedish House Mafia’s Masquerade Motel.
With EDC focusing on a much more ‘American’ style of electronic music, bassheads from near and far flock to the Motor Speedway Circuit to catch their favourite trap artists whilst clad in CamelBaks, PLUR kandi, and bandana scarves across faces. Acts like Rezz, Illenium, Jauz, Bassnectar, Alison Wonderland, and Valentino Khan are all firm fan-favourites here, whilst over at Ultra, the mainstage regularly plays host to acts like David Guetta and Kaskade, whilst the LIVE stage is reserved for performances from the likes of Tchami X Malaa, and the famous ‘Resistance’ spider structure hosts techno from Carl Cox & friends. However, both of these pale in comparison to the stellar annual serving that Tomorrowland can dish up to ‘The People of Tomorrow’. With labels like Musical Freedom, Axtone, Potion, Heldeep, Hexagon, and A State of Trance all hosting their own areas, the mainstage is usually reserved for EDM juggernauts such as Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Alesso, Martin Garrix, and this year – a potential Swedish House Mafia closing set.
All three festivals offer a supremely varied choice for ravers across their sites, with Ultra’s Megastructure a true joy to behold. The giant semi-circle consists of a rainbow shaped collection of LED panels held over the heads of gathered dancers. Meanwhile, away from EDC’s spectacular Kinetic Field mainstage, the Neon Garden provides a packed tent full of house beats, whilst the Circuit Grounds typically play host to acts such as Eric Prydz, Adventure Club, and many more. There’s also a grassy embankment surrounded the Cosmic Meadow, but despite this, neither festival can rival Tomorrowland. With the Budweiser Freedom Stage offering ravers a spectacular spaceship-style internal infrastructure, the piece de resistance is undoubtedly the stunning TML mainstage, which this year, will return to the 2012 theme, ‘The Book Of Wisdom’. A true behemoth of a building, it stands at 130m wide, thus providing more than double the width of the Ultra mainstage.
All three festivals can offer a stunning experience here, but before we attempt to even analyse the pyro on offer in Belgium or Florida, it’s quite clear that we already have a winner. EDC is, quite frankly, a magical emporium of colour and vibrancy which would put even the most extravagant firework display to shame. With ravers urged to come together ‘under the electric sky’, the Las Vegas air is regularly pumped with a flurry of colour-coordinated explosives. An acidic trippy paradise, the Electric Daisy Carnival is a wondrous fusion between EDM and Alice’s famous Wonderland.
A category entirely dependent on your geographical location, flights between continents aside, EDC prices cost around $319 for a weekend ticket, whilst last year, Ultra’s GA passes started at $349. Tomorrowland ticket prices are a completely different entity in the sense that popularity for the festival is so intense, that chances of grabbing a ‘Full Madness‘ pass are of an incredibly small percentage. Therefore, most attendees usually opt for ‘Global Journey‘, an all-encompassing package which includes camping accommodation and travel. When booking for an even-numbered group, this can be purchased for around £1000 per person including a European flight or Eurostar ticket. With Ultra yet to offer any camping facilities, EDC has now trumped the Miami festival by allowing festival goers to forego the extortionate fees of properties like the Bellagio or Caesar’s Palace in favour of comfy tents with air conditioning, thus giving them the edge in this category.
Clearly, all three of these festivals offer their own particular highlights based on your own individual needs and requirements. Whilst EDC favours the more hard bass and trap elements of the dance music spectrum, there is no other event that come close as visual spectacle. If you’re looking for a true paradise, Ultra combines the idyllic latin-inspired conditions of Miami’s golden beaches and breezy seas with a truly world-class mainstage line-up. But for the true hedonistic escapism offered by a peaceful and harmonious world within our own, Tomorrowland’s magic is very real for the hundreds of thousands who attend, giving party goers a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience which cannot be replicated anywhere else. For this reason alone, we couldn’t be more excited for the festival’s 15th anniversary edition later this month!
Have you been to any of these festivals? If so, which was our favourite? Let us know in the comments section of our Facebook post now!
— Tomorrowland (@tomorrowland) June 29, 2019