Over 1m fans pay to attend virtual Tomorrowland
More than one million paying customers attended Tomorrowland Around the World this weekend, over two-and-a-half times more fans than the in-person Belgian dance festival typically draws.
Viewers from the world over attended the pay-per-view virtual festival, which saw over 60 acts, including Katy Perry, Amelie Lens, David Guetta, Martin Garrix and Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, perform across eight custom-designed stages on the island of Pāpiliōnem.
Weekend tickets for the event cost €20, with day tickets priced at €12.50.
Those who bought a weekend ticket can also revisit the island and rewatch all performances until Wednesday 29 July.
For those that missed out on the festival, separate €12.50 tickets are available to buy on the Tomorrowland website to gain access to the Relive platform, allowing fans to watch all the recorded sets until Wednesday 12 August, 5 p.m. CET.
A collaboration between the Tomorrowland team, creative agency Dogstudio, gaming giant Epic Games, augmented and virtual reality specialist stYpe and visualisation platform Depence, Tomorrowland Around the World – a project that would typically be two years in the making – was pulled together in just three months.
“For now, we leave this beautiful place we call Papilionem and treasure what we have experienced together”
Artists were filmed performing live in four specially designed studios in Belgium, Los Angeles, Sao Paolo and Sydney using 4K high-definition cameras. According to the Tomorrowland team, 300 terabytes – a measure of computer storage capacity equating to over 1,000 gigabytes, or a trillion bytes – of raw footage was recorded, which took multiple render engines around four weeks to process.
The virtual environment that was ultimately created for Tomorrowland Around the World was rendered at an ultra high quality, with ten times more polygons (the building blocks of 3D graphics) than the average video game.
“Our message has been sent into the furthest corners of the world,” reads a post from the Tomorrowland team. “It will travel around the globe until the time comes when we can unite once again.
“For now, we leave this beautiful place we call Pāpiliōnem and treasure what we have experienced together.”
The physical edition of Tomorrowland 2020 was called off in April, when the Belgian government joined others in Europe in extending its band on large-scale events throughout summer.
The event, which welcomes around 400,000 festivalgoers across two weekends to its site in Boom, Belgium, each year, was set to feature performances from Eric Prydz, David Guetta, Marshmello, Amelie Lens, Afrojack, Helena Hauff and Maceo Plex, among others.
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Tomorrowland unveils digital universe for 2020 event
The organisers of Belgian mega festival Tomorrowland have revealed the 3D, virtual world that will welcome fans from 25 to 26 July for a star-studded online edition.
Tomorrowland Around the World will feature more than 60 artists including Katy Perry, Amelie Lens, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Armin van Buuren and Charlotte de Witte performing across eight, custom-designed stages in the the virtual festival site, dubbed Pāpiliōnem.
The site, which takes the form of a butterfly-shaped island, has been created by Tomorrowland’s in-house creative team and 3D artists, in collaboration with exterior Dogstudio, a creative studio with offices in Belgium, Chicago and Mexico City.
The world has ten times more polygons compared to a modern computer game and each stage has a 16 square-kilometre surface, with 32,000 trees and plants and over 280,000 virtual people who each have their own individual attributes.
“Our biggest challenge – besides being an obvious enormous technical challenge – is making sure festival visitors will be able to feel they are being part of something larger than their computer and their internet connection,” comments Henry Daubrez, CEO and creative director of Dogstudio.
“People won’t only be immersed in Tomorrowland’s new universe, but they will also be able to communicate with other festival visitors.
“I can proudly say that we are setting new standards for web-based online music experiences, pushing the boundaries of the latest technology that is available, but on the other hand making sure that the platform is even working on a device that is a couple of years old.”
“Combining the live action performances of the artists into gorgeous, high-resolution virtual worlds has been a logistical and technological feat”
The Tomorrowland team filmed the performances that appear as part of the festival at the festival site in Boom, Belgium, with green-screen studios also set up by the Tomorrowland team in Los Angeles, USA; Sao Paolo, Brazil; and Sydney, Australia to film artists based in different world regions.
A full-sized DJ booth was built in the studios and all locations were made to have the exact same set-up, with cycloramas, or infinity walls, measuring 6 metre tall and 8 metres wide.
The performances were filmed on six 4K ultra HD cameras in collaboration with stYpe, which provides camera tracking technology to achieve real-time augmented reality and virtual studio effects in live broadcast.
The final elements of the shows will be assembled by Depence, a platform that visualise elements such as lighting, lasers and other effects, and Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, which allows for photorealistic landscaping and scripting of certain elements.
“How do we bring new experiences from great artists to remote audiences? This is the pressing question that’s being posed, and one that’s now being answered by real-time technology,” says
“What the team at Tomorrowland has been able to do in a very short period of time is seriously impressive,” adds Ben Lumsden, business development manager at Epic Games – Unreal Engine. “Combining the live action performances of the artists into gorgeous, high-resolution virtual worlds has been a logistical and technological feat.”
Fans will navigate through Pāpiliōnem with a PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet. Day tickets for the event cost €12.50, with weekend tickets – including a week of video-on-demand content to relive the experience – priced at €20. Tickets are available to buy here.
The Tomorrowland stages can be viewd on the festival’s Instagram page.
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STAGE PREVIEW: MAINSTAGE – Feel the energy at the magical Mainstage with @afrojack, @alanwalkermusic, @arminvanbuuren, @davidguetta, @dimitrivegasandlikemike, @dondiablo, @katyperry, @kolschofficial, @lostfrequencies, @martingarrix, @nervomusic, @oliverheldens, @iampaulkalkbrenner, @steveaoki, @sunneryjamesryanmarciano, @tiesto, @timmytrumpet and @vintageculture.