Tomorrowland: dream world of Beers brothers

Recently, the brazilian edition of Tomorrowland sold out after only 3 days. Time to look back at the origins of the dance festival. Michiel and Manu created Tomorrowland and are the owners of ID&T in Belgium, the joint-venture overseeing the festival. This major dance event has repeatedly been voted the best dance festival in the world in recent years.
It goes without saying that the line-up determines the success of the festival to a large extent. But the worldwide success is also due to the setting and the enchanting atmosphere conveyed in this event. Festival-goers are offered a total concept, a dream world in which to immerse themselves fully for one or more days. The psychedelic stage is an eye-catcher. However, quite a lot of little things also happen behind the scenes and that makes all the difference.

Base camp: Het Zuid

A team of fourteen young people works behind those scenes under the leadership of Michiel and Manu Beers, the creators of the festival. From their operating quarters in Het Zuid, they conquer the world.

Even though choosing Het Zuid as their base was rather coincidental, an anonymous industrial estate would obviously have been less ideal for them as a creative company. The brothers find this a more comfortable place to receive clients, but working in Het Zuid also inspires them ideas for Tomorrowland. “We love the fresh baguette that we get in the neighborhood in the morning. That’s why there’s been a bakery serving freshly baked goods on the camp-site of Tomorrowland since 2011.”

Honing their professionalism

“We are a company that specializes in youth events, because that’s what we are very good at,” says Manu, “and especially in electronic music.” This success did not happen overnight. The brothers had to work hard to eventually get to the world’s top position. In the early years they were distributing the flyers themselves. The first editions of Tomorrowland barely attracted 10,000 visitors. The first year, three thousand additional people were even invited to make the meadow look more crowded.

“We love the fresh baguette that we get in the neighborhood in the morning. That’s why there’s been a bakery serving freshly baked goods on the camp-site of Tomorrowland since 2011.”

Nonetheless, the brothers continued to believe in their concept and stayed true to their own terms. They did not have to adjust their ambitions too much and kept coming up with ideas that young people found attractive. This is how these creative entrepreneurs gradually became genuine business leaders. “At a certain point, you conclude that more than just organizing an event, you are mainly managing a business,” explains Manu. “Then you realize that you need to be more professional and that you need someone capable of providing the business side of your company with a solid backbone.”

That’s why the brothers set up a joint venture with the Dutch ID&T at the time. This provided a strong back-up and especially more breathing space for creativity. Even though the creative dimension is what makes their events successful, the figures also have to add up, of course. “You have to surround yourself with experts who have extensive knowledge of the financial side,” adds Manu. “Because, before you know it, you’ve drifted away too much from the creative aspect.”

Spring 2019 was very successful for several key players from different industries in Antwerp as their work and dedication was internationally recognised and awarded.
Antwerp is making major progress as an international city for businesses and investments. The city has been included, for the very first time, in the renowned ‘Global Cities of The Future 2018/19’ ranking of the Financial Times. The ranking awards Antwerp a third place for ‘connectivity’ in the category ‘large cities’, ahead of cities such as Copenhagen, Helsinki and Seattle. Antwerp also wins a ‘fDi Strategy Award’ for encouraging innovation, featuring on the list of innovative business cities such as Barcelona, Glasgow and Bogota. 
Smart City Expo World Congress exists in order to empower cities and collectivize urban innovation across the globe.

Through promoting social innovation, establishing partnerships and identifying business opportunities, the event is dedicated to creating a better future for cities and their citizens worldwide.