Mega dance festival Tomorrowland is taking its New Year's Eve celebrations online.
After the success of its debut digital event, Tomorrowland Around the World in June, the Belgian music festival returns with another star-studded list of DJs who will perform within eye-popping new virtual worlds and multiple stages created from scratch.
The festival, called Tomorrowland 31.12.2020, which streams tonight on its website until Thursday, January 14, features leading spinners Armin Van Buuren, David Guetta, Martin Garrix and Lost Frequencies.
Due to the technological aspects at play, all of the artist pre-recorded sets at purpose-built studios in Belgium and Los Angeles during November, with a green screen and dozens of cameras capturing every break and fade on the decks.
Speaking to The National, Belgian artist Lost Frequencies, real name Felix De Laet, described the recording experience as both thrilling and daunting.
“I'm not an actor so I'm not really used to these kind of settings, and surely not for a DJ set. It was super impressive to be here but also a little bit intimidating as you are trying to fit into a particular vibe,” he says.
“I think this event is going to be a big game changer in what you will be able to do. And I think a lot of people will then be able to connect through these events. Even if you're not a big fan of electronic music, you will be able to feel connected with a lot of people like yourself that are hyped and talking about what's happening.”
In what can only be counted as a rare silver lining when it comes to the damage caused to the live music industry by the pandemic, Tomorrowland spokesperson Debby Wilmsen says the event was spoilt for choice when it came to hiring the right people to execute the vision for the festival.
“The teams working on this event are known from the Olympic Games, the Super Bowl and the game development world,” she says.
“We had the unique opportunity to have all these teams available at the same time and allowed us to create this technical set-up that has never been done before, certainly not with this high amount of content that needs to go through the production pipeline."
While nothing can beat the physical version of the event, normally home to 400,000 people for back-to-back July weekends in the Belgium town of Boom, Wilmsen says the pandemic pushed Tomorrowland to invest in digital - with satisfying results.
Even when things return to normal, she envisages the digital format will become a regular addition to the company's list of annual events.
"We could see virtual festivals becoming an ongoing experience we provide people," she says.
Tomorrowland 31.12.2020 is streaming from the festival website from Thursday 11pm to 6am UAE time, after which it is available to stream until Thursday, January 14. Tickets begin from €20 (Dh90) for a day pass, or €25 (Dh112) for the live stream and additional video-on-demand content. For details visit tomorrowland.com