Tomorrowland 2022 Mainstage

Tomorrowland 2023: How It Became the Mecca of Music Festivals

For those who are new to electronic music or considered a veteran, we all know that there is one festival that stands over the rest, Tomorrowland. For over the past decade, it has reigned as the king of music events, but as Tomorrowland 2023 is on the horizon, how did one of the most successful festivals in history become the behemoth it is today?

It’s no secret that any electronic music lover’s aspiration is to one day be able to walk the famed grounds of Tomorrowland in Boom, Belgium. As Tomorrowland 2023 is set to commence next week with over 600 artists spanning two weekends, there is nothing quite like it. However, music events such as one the size of Tomorrowland do not spring up overnight. So how did the Tomorrowland come to what it is today? How, in the span less than 20 years, did it become known as the Mecca of electronic music festivals?

The Early Days

The Tomorrowland concept started with two brothers, Manu and Michiel Beers, who in 2005, began their journey to the top by hosting the first edition of Tomorrowland. In the beginning, the event took place for one day and saw slightly under 10,000 people attend. The success of the Tomorrowland brand was recognized early on as it only took three years for the festival to expand to two days in 2007. By 2008, Tomorrowland had grown to a point where the billing had over 100 DJs, and the crowd had grown 5x the size of the inaugural edition to 50,000.

2009 could be considered the year that Tomorrowland started to build the foundations of what we know today. For the first time, the festival introduced a theme (“Masker”) and nearly doubled in size from the previous year with 90,000 people. However, nothing could prepare the world for the growth Tomorrowland was about to experience over the next six years.

Rise to the Top

As the rise in popularity of electronic music took place across the world, so did Tomorrowland. The cultural footprint had begun as 2010 was not only a year where the festival sold out days before the start, but it saw a substantial rise in attendance of 120,000 attendees over its two-day span. It was also the year Tomorrowland began earning nominations for best music event by the International Dance Music Awards.

2011 marked a historic moment in the event’s history as Tomorrowland finally expanded to three days, what we know it to be now. With over 180,000 attendees, this edition is still considered, by many, one of the best to date. So much so that it eventually won the award for the Best Music Event at the IDMAs for the first time. 2012 would only raise the bar even higher. Winning two more music event awards, expanding to a capacity of 185,000 people, and even offering camping for 35,000 at the now iconic “Dreamville.”

Tomorrowland would celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2014 as it was on the verge of solidifying itself as the unquestionable king of music festivals. This year the event expanded to two weekends in July due to the incredibly high demand. Because of this, Tomorrowland had 360,000 people walk through its gates by the time the event was over, a staggering amount. For many, it was already a given, but for any skeptics left, 2015 would be the year that Tomorrowland became the undeniable focal point of the industry as it swept every major global festival award.

The Mecca of Dance Music

As the years rolled by, Tomorrowland continued to present larger-than-life themes with unmatched stage production. The festival returned to its one-weekend format for its 2016 edition and had over 180,000 attendees. However, the company quickly expanded to two weekends after only a year for its 2017 edition, which would remain the format to this day. That year, a record amount of tickets were sold, and the largest audience in Tomorrowland history would happen, with 400,000 attending. Not only did the number of people increase, but so did the artists, which caused the festival to expand to 16 stages.

For its 15th anniversary in 2019, Tomorrowland would relive one of its most iconic themes, “The Book of Wisdom.” The attendance once again held steady at a staggering 400,000 people as the event would celebrate not just its greatest moments, but also the most iconic moments in EDM history.

Changing the Industry

As Tomorrowland geared up for its 16th edition in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic ultimately forced the company to call off its gathering in July. However, Tomorrowland cemented itself in music history with an unprecedented idea. A completely virtual festival would take place in 2020 and 2021, where people around the world would be able to purchase tickets to a fictional online world with multiple stages that those with access could jump across from as if they were at a festival.

Each stage displayed incredible detail, and every performance was captured as if you were watching a live stream from home. With a complete schedule where artists were playing across the virtual world at the same time, “Tomorrowland Around The World” felt real. The idea was revolutionary and changed the entire industry on how online events were seen and created for the future.

The Grand Return

Tomorrowland would return to its grounds in Belgium in 2022 for the first time in three years, and to make up for they added an unheard-of 3rd weekend. Tomorrowland welcomed over 600,000 people from 200 countries and hosted 800 DJs.

Now as Tomorrowland 2023 is set to take place next week they will return to the two-weekend format with 600 DJs scheduled to play.

Check out the entire Tomorrowland 2023 Lineup below. See the full schedule here.

Tomorrowland Adscendo

Image Credit: Tomorrowland

Feature Image Credit: Tomorrowland Press / Provided by Tomorrowland PR

Hey everyone! I was blessed to have the opportunity to join the WRY team in 2020. I edit WRY's Youtube content and am also a writer for the website. I have been a massive fan in the EDM scene for over ten years and have been fortunate enough to see some iconic moments in person. Some of my favorite artists are Avicii, Martin Garrix, Krewella, The Chainsmokers, and Illenium. I absolutely love to attend live shows. I try to spend almost every week at some kind of live event or festival (if not in person, at least watching online). And its a guarantee you can always catch me at Ultra Miami every year! Thank you for all the support! Follow me on Twitter to see which show I will be at next! Hopefully I can see you at an event or festival soon! Inquiries can be sent to