Two international festival-goers proved that Australia really is the lucky country after they stumbled their way into a one-of-a-kind experience at one of Belgium’s biggest music events.
The two Aussie travellers made plans to attend world-class Belgian dance music festival Tomorrowland, but what they got was not only “all the dance music, DJs, beer, fireworks and lasers you could ever hope for,” but also four days of being treated like rock stars after the pair were mistaken for being VIP prize-winners, as News Ltd reports.
The unbelievable story comes from Michael, who recounts the entire tale on his Irresponsible Life blog.
After becoming obsessed with the idea of attending Tomorrowland via a YoutTube trailer for the four-day festival (“Can you see the imagination and effort put into every single aspect?” quizzes Michael), the intrepid Aussie wrangled Krissy (“an old friend and one that will not take a back seat when it comes to partying!”) to make the Flemish trek.
Once landing in Belgium in July 2012, the duo arrived an hour late to the event – via Tomorrowland’s own dedicated train, meaning they had to begin the painful task of finding a spot to set-up in the already crowded camp site. “Enjoyed four days of being treated like rock stars after the pair were mistaken for being VIP prize-winners.”
“As we scoured the meadow (now muddy), the only area with free spots was about half full with tents, all of which had various national flags hanging around their campsite,” writes Michael. “I had seen online there was a special international area, and being Australian we assumed it was set aside for people like us who had travelled from far away.”
As it turned out, the dedicated area was intended for winners of a once-in-a-lifetime prize, but in a case of mistaken identity, the duo wound up being confused for another set of ‘Aussie team’ winners that never turned up to the event to claim their prize.
Michael and Krissy then enjoyed the full benefits of their VIP package; including enjoying a lineup featuring Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, Carl Cox, Avicii, Skrillex and many more from the elevated Skydeck lounge, free drinks, upgraded access, and many other priority privileges. “The celebrity status continued when we were interviewed by the Tomorrowland radio station, and the newspaper,” adds Michael.
But what about the “Team Australia” captain known as ‘Ben’, the hapless prize-winner that Michael posed as to get the VIP treatment?
“To the fellow Aussie who never showed up to claim their prize, we thank you for letting us take your place,” concludes Michael’s astonishing Tomorrowland tour diary.
“Of course I’m not a total jerk. If they had shown up, then I would have handed it over (or at least tried to convince them to let us stay in the mud-free camping site).”
Is it the most amazing bit of festival luck ever? Or an unfair misuse of Tomorrowland’s generosity? You can read the mistaken prize-winner’s full account of his “truly magic” experience over at his Irresponsible Life blog, or an extract below, and decide for yourself.
Cruising the net one day I came across the below video randomly on YouTube.
What was to follow became an obsession that lead to an unbelievable four days in Flemish Belgium. These four days not only included all the dance music, dj’s beer, fireworks and lasers you could ever hope for. But also somehow being mistaken for a prize winner and getting treated to a VIP experience for the entire festival! Read on to find more.
Did you watch the video? I’m pretty sure I could show it to a classical music loving, tea drinking grandmother and she would want to go to Tomorrowland after watching that. Can you see the imagination and effort put into every single aspect? It was clear this was not just a festival, it was an experience beyond what could be experienced anywhere else.
Amazed by what I had just seen (about 50 times in a row) I shared the video to Facebook with the announcement “I think I’ve found my Euro Summer Festival, who wants to come?” It wasn’t long before a few potential Tomorrowland teammates emerged, mostly based in Australia and willing to pay a small fortune to be part of that experience (the power of YouTube at work). In the end it was just one. Krissy an old friend and one that will not take a back seat when it comes to partying!
Flash-forward to Brussels Centraal / Bruxelles-Central station, 4 months later. I meet up with Krissy after not seeing her for over 2 years. We are loaded with tents, sleeping bags and backpacks and ready to make our way towards the unsuspecting yet fittingly named small town of Boom.
First sign that this is an epic festival? It has it’s own train!
A bit of messing about meant we were an hour later getting to Tomorrowland than we would’ve liked, and this meant that the best camping places are likely gone. With rain starting to fall I was desperate to avoid sleeping in mud. But somehow being late ended up working remarkably in our favour. As we scoured the meadow (now muddy) the only area with free spots was about half full with tents, all of which had various national flags hanging around their campsite.
I had seen online there was a special international area, and being Australian we assumed it was set aside for people like us who had travelled from far away. We headed in and began to set up. It wasn’t long after that we saw people also trying to enter the same area and get turned away by security guards who were now blocking the path of anyone entering this area. “Must be locals trying to get into the international area” I thought.
After settling down and meeting our neighbours they all started to ask things like “how we won the competition?” and “wasn’t it great to win!”. I had NO idea what they were talking about, but just played along. By now it was clear we weren’t where we supposed to be. But with the campsite now full up and the only spots left being 6 inch deep puddles, there was no way we were going to move. We had to fudge it for another 4 days that we also won this competition, a competition that we had no idea how we supposedly entered, or what else we had done to win.
Where is Team Australia?” A Flemish accent cried out across the campsite. By now we knew the whole campsite, and they knew us as the Aussies and the quickly pointed us out to the stunningly beautiful Tomorrowland staff member who was looking for us.
“Which one of you is Ben, the team captain?” She enquired. Without much time to think I began some of the best bullshitting I’ve ever done in such a short amount of time.
“He’s not here yet, “I replied, “we think he’s having trouble with this international roaming on his phone, we can’t call him, but he should be here soon”.
OK”, she said, “tell him to come see me at the ticket office when he arrives, I have the welcome pack waiting for him, but only the captain can pick it up”
I looked at Krissy and tried not to smile. This was either going to go awesome or so bad…. but we had the camp ground pre-party to contend with first. This is a party that is held in the camp ground (known as Dreamville), and is just as big as a normal festival would be. I have no idea who played, but it coincided with the national day of Belgium so the locals where in a mood to celebrate. The stage was made up with tents with lights inside them so they all glowed in a pattern.
This was also a great time to explore the centre of the camping village which we found out included a Supermarket which baked it’s own bread onsite, a Laundromat (free courtesy of Samsung) and our media needs were looked after with our own radio station and daily newspaper.
“Australia, Wake Up”. It was the sweet Flemish voice again, I had dreamt of this voice waking me up, but not like this. Our tent was shaking and I quickly jumped outside to meet our visitor. “Is the captain here yet?”
“No”, I said “We still haven’t heard from Ben” – I dropped in the name she mentioned yesterday to try and sound more authentic.
“Ok, well at least you know his name. I can’t wait for him anymore, so I’ll give this to you. It’s your welcome kit, inside are some Australian flags to decorate your campsite, a few drink tokens and wristbands that get you entry into the International Party tomorrow in the Skydeck VIP lounge (I can’t remember if that’s what it’s name was, but it was up high and had the best view of main stage, so let’s call it that for now)
I calmly said thanks and threw the pack into the tent so that Krissy, who was inside, could check it out. As the staff member walked away, I found it very hard to control my excitement. After all I had to pretend that this was all coming and that I knew all about it. Once she was I out sight, I popped my head inside the tent. Krissy’s jaw had dropped in disbelief of how lucky we were. We did a few fist pumps and said a few “Oh My Gods”. The best festival ever just got better…
(All images: Irresponsible Life. Source: Irresponsible Life)