Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Our Tomorrowland Journey Part 2 - The Gathering.

In the first part of our Tomorrowland Journey I talked about tickets, the Global Journey experience, and The Montagoe Area - our section of the Dreamville camping village. And you can check that post out HERE.

Today, though, in this second post, I'm going to talk about the pre-festival party that is The Gathering...

The Gathering

This is, as I just said before, a pre-festival party held on the Thursday night at the Marketplace in Dreamville. You can only attend The Gathering if you have Full Madness/Comfort Passes to the festival + Dreamville accomodation. If you're staying in a hostel/hotel or only coming on a day pass then you can't attend.

At The Gathering
And, I have to say, I was quite impressed with The Gathering. It really did feel like a mini-festival in itself, although, I have to admit, with that day's stupid heat it took us about an hour to walk there from The Montagoe because we had to keep stopping to sit down and find some shade and summon up the energy to walk a little further. The first thing we did once we got there was find somewhere to sit down, buy water, then food (the pizza in Dreamville was AMAZING!), and then the heaven's opened and it rained, which arrived to cheers in the queue I was standing in at the time for water. That rain made the conditions a little more bearable, and it was only a short shower, so once that was over, and we'd eaten and re-hydrated ourselves, we were ready to go!

Yves Deruyter was playing at this point, and he was good! This was where we had our first jump around, although we didn't go too crazy with the dancing. It was still quite hot! I think the secret with The Gathering is to try and pace yourself. It's quite easy to see how people get carried away, after all, it's the start of a weekend-long party, but being older we knew we had to take a step back, in reality, or we risked peaking too early! 😅😅

The Gathering
Anyway, after Yves Deruyter MANDY played a set - a female hardstyle DJ who really managed to whip up the crowd. She was followed by Robert Falcon, I think, some of that night is now a blur! And then it was time for the first of 3 surprise acts lined up for the evening - Netsky! Although not really my thing, he was much better live than he was when we were just watching his sets at home, and the lighting was amazing! Lasers and fireworks shooting up into the sky, there was no expense spared.

After Netsky, it was the act I'd been waiting for - Regi vs  Yves V. I was back up and dancing for a bit now we'd had a beer and a short rest. Next, it was surprise act number 2 - Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano. They aren't our favourites, but we hung around because we were curious as to who surprise act number 3 would be, and to be honest, it was nice to just sit down, soak up the atmosphere, and listen to some music while watching people go crazy! Mind you, a lot of them were sitting down, just like us, by this time. The heat, the travelling, it was all starting to catch up with a lot of us, I think. You kind of live on adrenaline and excitement for a long time, but once you sit down your body starts to tell you it's knackered! 😆 Others, however, weren't listening to their bodies and were really going for it! There were, as was to be expected, a lot of drunk (possibly drugged-up) people around, but we saw no trouble. The atmosphere was all good, from our perspective. People were friendly, on the whole, just excited to be there, I think. We did, however, witness one young lad being carried away by medics after someone alerted security to the fact he hadn't moved in a while. I have no idea if he was OK or not, but I hope he was. Maybe he'd just partied too hard too fast, a lot of people seemed to be doing that. We also witnessed a lot of people arriving really late, dragging their cases and camping equipment through The Marketplace as late as 1 am. I know that, because of the adverse weather, there'd been a lot of train/flight delays and cancellations, so this probably explained a good many of the late arrivals. But it made me glad we'd had an early, hassle-free flight and had been in our Relax Room by 3 pm. We'd had time for a (cold) shower and a little nap before we'd headed over to The Gathering. I can't imagine what it must've been like trying to pitch a tent in the dark, so I didn't envy that job at all. I was just looking forward to going back to The Montagoe and getting my head down!

The Gathering at night
So, anyway, the final surprise act of the night? It was W&W! And I actually really like W& W, although, to be honest, I prefer their alter ego NWYR, and because we were planning on seeing NWYR at the festival itself we decided to listen to the first half of W&W's set and then head back to The Montagoe. And we stayed seated, we really were starting to get tired by this point. I mean, I think it was around 1 in the morning by the time the last act came on, and we'd been up since 6 0'clock, had a long day of travelling, and the overwhelming heat hadn't helped anything, so we felt there was no shame in bailing early from the party.

Tomorrowland did a really good job of The Gathering, though. The stage was impressive, the sound incredible, and the lighting effects were amazing to watch! And The Marketplace itself was so much bigger than I thought it would be. Here there are lots of shops and stores from a bakery to a hair salon to a Carrefour supermarket. There are also loads of food and drink stands, and on that particular day, because of the heat, one of the drinks stands was doing buy one get one free on water. Of which we drank a LOT! There are lots of places to sit down and eat, and two huge fountains that were crammed with people from bottom to top once the bigger acts started playing. I wish I'd taken more photographs, to be honest, but I was too busy taking it all in. I also wished I'd spent a bit more time at the Marketplace, I was only there that night for The Gathering. But I think a lot of that has to do with the distance it is from The Montagoe. It's about a half hour walk (double that in the extreme heat!) so it's quite a way, especially with the weather we experienced over the course of the weekend, and we kind of had everything we needed back at The Montagoe Area so there never seemed a reason to head back there. However, if we go back next year (and we are planning on doing that, if we can get tickets) I think I'd like to visit The Marketplace on a normal day, when The Gathering isn't taking place. Let's hope we get to do that in 2020. 😊

Anyway, all in all, The Gathering really does set you up for the festival to come. And after a very hot, but very good nonetheless, night's sleep back in our Relax Room, we were raring to get to the festival itself on Friday.

Join me for Part 3 of our Tomorrowland Journey where I'll be talking about the festival itself, the stages, the food, and... the weather! 😮 And you can check that out right HERE!

Michelle x

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