In the summer of 2016, I unexpectedly ended up at Tomorrowland after missing out out on the general sale. Here’s how I managed to get the coveted Tomorrowland tickets. [Updated October 2017, after my second trip to Tomorrowland!]
Going to Tomorrowland in Belgium is on every raver’s bucket list. In the beginning of each year, hopeful festival-goers have several chances to obtain the coveted Tomorrowland tickets. Here are the six ways you can obtain Tomorrowland tickets.
6 Ways to Get Tomorrowland Tickets
1) Being one of the First 10 In Your Country to Pre-Register (January)
If you’re among the first 10 people from your country to pre-register for tickets, then you are guaranteed the rights to purchase up to 4 tickets to the festival. The way you prove you’re from that country is by your mailing address, which Tomorrowland sends tickets to. So, if you have connections to a small country (i.e. relatives or best friend living in Aruba?) then your chances of being among the first to pre-register is pretty good.
I actually was one of the first 10 people to pre-register from Taiwan. However, because I never touch my “Promotions” inbox in my Gmail, I missed the email until after the purchase link expired. Yes, I know, I’m stupid.
I sent Tomorrowland a pleading email to let me buy a ticket after the deadline, but they did not take pity on me.
2) Purchasing a Global Journey Package (February)
The next available option is purchasing tickets via Global Journey, which is available a couple weeks before the General Sale. If you get Global Journey, which is a ticket package with hotel, flights, and/or train, the competition for tickets is relatively low (as in, the tickets don’t sell out in 5 seconds).
The catch here is that some ticket + travel prices are severely marked up – up to 2x to 3x more. If you were to book your own accommodations and travel, then you’d be spending a lot less. You don’t have the option to “try your luck” at General Sale and if that fails, to buy a Global Journey Package, because the good (and cheaper) Packages always sell out within the first couple of hours. Since it is the safest and easiest way for you to obtain a ticket, if you are set on going to Tomorrowland then it is worth it to spend a couple hundred Euros for this option.
In general, the hotel packages or the flight or train packages from nearby European cities are best value, and are the ones to sell out first.
3) Being Belgian (February)
If you have a Belgian address then you are eligible for the Belgian sale. If you have a Belgian friend you can ask them for this favor. However, it’s not that much easier to get a ticket in the Belgian sale than the global sale. My Belgian friend tried to get a ticket for me but failed.
4) Queuing in the Global General Sale (February)
Most people’s Tomorrowland dreams end in heartbreak in the General Sale, by waiting in the queue for 2 hours only to see this message:
5) Second-Hand Tomorrowland Tickets Sellers (February – July)
Now that the general sales were over, the only ways to get Tomorrowland tickets were through unofficial channels. You can find tickets via the ticket resellers like Viagogo and Stubhub. The prices here tend to be quite elevated (up to 2-3 times more). However, tickets purchased via Viagogo are guaranteed (it is an official reseller of Tomorrowland) so it is safe to purchase from there.
The best time to buy from Viagogo is around the time that the bracelets are mailed out to Tomorrowland attendees, which is also when people are looking to get rid of them. Bracelets are generally mailed out about a month before Tomorrowland begins.
The prices on Viagogo were out of reach for me, which leads to the last option…
6) Facebook Groups & Good Old Word-of-Mouth (June – July)
If you’re the living-on-the-edge type of person, you can get last minute tickets relatively easily via Facebook groups and Word of Mouth. In 2016, I obtained my ticket the same weekend of Tomorrowland and in 2017, I obtained mine a couple days before before, both via Facebook. I live in Amsterdam so I had the advantage of not needing to book travel in advance if I choose to pop down to Belgium for the weekend.
Via the Tomorrowland Facebook Groups, I obtained a ticket for $200 last minute – a bargain! However, we also had to Paypal someone in blind faith that the tickets will be delivered by mail. We “vetted” the profile seeing she was a real person, but beyond that it was a risk we had to take. Thankfully, they arrived without incident.
Once you receive the tickets, the first thing you should do is to personalize it by putting your name on it. This ensures that if it’s lost, you can get a replacement bracelet.
If you buy a bracelet and someone else’s name is already associated with it, you’re supposed to ask them for a copy of their passport to prove that you are authorized to use this person’s ticket (although I found that you’re never actually asked for ID at the event). This may become a problem is if your disingenuous seller reports their wristband stolen, and this would invalidate your wristband. So make sure you buy your ticket from someone that looks trustworthy.
Trip to Tomorrowland
Now, even though Tomorrowland is only 2 hours away from Amsterdam by car, it’s in Boom, which is a middle-of-nowhere town. Going by public transportation at that hour would have taken me at least 3-4 hours, 3 transfers, and costed around 40 euros. Thankfully, I found a car on my beloved service Blablacar that was leaving at 9pm, costing 16 euros, and would drop me off at Boom. I’ve used Blablacar to deliver myself to 5 festivals already throughout Europe and I freaking LOVE the service!!!
Side plug for Blablacar: Blablacar is a real Sharing Economy, while having a sustainable business model (20% of bookings). While AirBnb and Uber have become like seller-client relationships, with Blablacar it’s like you’re taking a road trip with a couple friends. People who drive for Blablacar don’t do it for a living and honestly just make some gas money for the trip – they are also trying to get to their destinations and want some company for the long journey. It’s a win-win-win: The driver makes some gas money & has people to talk to on a long trip; the passenger(s) save at least 50% of the price, get to their destination faster, meet some cool people; Blablacar makes 20% and also makes a lot of people happy!
I was dropped off at the Boom train station at 11:15pm. According to Tomorrowland website, there should have been shuttles from the train station to the festival (the festival is from 12pm to 1am). Instead, the Boom station was deserted. Like, literally not a single person or vehicle in sight. Seriously?! 185,000 people at Tomorrowland, yet not a person in sight at the train station. I stood there for several minutes not knowing what to do. Then, I heard some voices in the distance that started to get louder.
Hallelujah! I ran towards them. It was 3 festival-goers. I asked them if they know if there’s a shuttle to Tomorrowland – and they were like, no, we walked from Tomorrowland to here. We finally found 1 Tomorrowland staff in the train station. I asked about the shuttle and he said there’s no shuttle right now. He tried to help me a call a taxi, but all the taxis are busy, lining up at Tomorrowland to take people back to Brussels or Antwerp. He told me that I could just walk – it takes 30 minutes! As he was giving me directions, a shuttle appeared at Boom station. It appears that I arrived so late that the first shuttle for the return journey has already started running. Naturally, I was the only person who was taking the shuttle towards the festival so close to closing time, at 11:30pm.
In retrospect, it seems like the shuttle only saved me about 15 minutes of walking, because when I got off the shuttle, I was no where close to Tomorrowland. Walked another 15 minutes to get to the entrance that my ex was meeting me at, with my bracelet (the General Admissions entrance, meaning no camping). Here comes another plot twist: Because I arrived so late (circa 11:45pm at this point), they don’t allow people into the festival anymore through the general admissions entrance. So, we had to walk to the Dreamville festival entrance, which took another 20 minutes. Then from the festival entrance to Dreamville, it took another 15 minutes walking. Then from the Dreamville entrance to our campsite, 10 minutes walking. So now you can already see a pattern: Throughout the whole festival I WALKED SO F*CKING MUCH.
This was something perusing blogs, forums didn’t prepare me for – that I’d be doing a ton of walking. My ex averaged close to 50,000 steps per day on his Fitbit. That’s around 25 miles, or the equivalent of running a marathon.
One upside of walking all this way is that we walked through the little town of Boom. Some locals had chairs out to watch the fireworks of Tomorrowland from the outside. Other houses had food & drinks stalls out to sell to famished festival attendees. However, most of the houses seemed to have vacated for the weekend in order to AirBnb their houses for the weekend to festival attendees – and make a killing while they’re at it, I’m sure!
Last Notes about Getting Tomorrowland Tickets Last Minute
On another note, I’ve seen a lot of people who buy second hand Tomorrowland tickets fret about whether or not they will check your ID to match your name with your ticket. From what I saw, they really didn’t give a crap about who was holding the bracelet. My friend very blatantly gave me my second hand purchase bracelet, while speaking with Tomorrowland staff and surrounded by 2 other Tomorrowland security guys. No one even batted their eyelids. That being said, buying second hand Tomorrowland tickets is not without risk – I heard horror stories about how people bought a wristband, only to have the wristband reported stolen by the original owner – thus losing hundreds of euros.
The moral of the story is… Where there’s a will, there’s a way. There are always people selling Tomorrowland tickets last minute. Make your way to Belgium, then check the Facebook groups, ask around other Tomorrowland attendees, and you WILL find a ticket.
So you’ve got a ticket and am ready for the madness! What’s going down now?