Tomorrowland Around the World performers Katy Perry, David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Nervo and Dimitri Vegas joined Tomorrowland co-founder Michiel Beers and moderator Sean Dhondt in an online press conference today to preview what fans can expect from the virtual festival.
Scheduled for July 25 and 26 on the Tomorrowland website, Tomorrowland Around the World has combined 3D visuals with innovative game design to present an interactive digital festival meant to mimic the in-person experience. Attendees of the conference were given a preview of the performances, which utilize green screen technology to give the event a real-life touch.
Each act recorded its respective set at green screen studios across the world, allowing the artist to be placed in the virtual playground of Tomorrowland with similar lighting and resolution. And because DJs naturally feed off of a crowd’s energy, Tomorrowland Around the World programmed a reactive crowd for each artist that sings along, hums melodies and cheers. For Aoki, this development was a game-changer.
“Before I started recording my set, they showed me some of the renderings of what the crowd looks like, and there’s camera pan shots of this digital crowd full of energy and I’m like, ‘S–t, so I can do my call and response with the crowd?'” said Aoki, who famously lobs cake at his audiences. “There is a crowd that Tomorrowland is going to give to you, which has never been done before… We all need someone to communicate to, someone to look at, someone to feel the energy off of. So if you can create that environment, it changes the game for artists.”
Perry even decided to bring her band along to record her set — which promises to put an EDM spin on her most popular tracks — but had them dress up in comical top hat costumes that completely hide their faces. Besides matching the circus theme of her forthcoming sixth album, “Smile” (out Aug. 14), the outfits also had health benefits.
“My band members, you can’t see them because they have these huge clown top hats on — which also doubled as masks,” Perry said. “We did [the set] a bunch of times. We did basically all of the hits because as any DJ knows, that’s what the kids come for. And, we made dance versions of all of them.”
Tomorrowland co-founder Beers said that he wanted to make sure the virtual festival was held to the same standard as the physical one. Along with a team of 200 people and millions of dollars invested in the project, Beers is confident that Tomorrowland Around the World will be the ultimate Tomorrowland experience.
“We make our stages in 3D, we make our light shows in 3D, so we had everything digitally already,” Beers said. “We thought we could bring our favorite artists together with all the 3D designs we have in one enormous world, which on one hand feels surrealistic, but on the other hand feels very real… The fun part of this whole virtual adventure is that we can design things that we’ve dreamed of that are not possible yet in real life.”
Guetta, who was on a boat with his family in France during the call — his first vacation since he was 17 — believes a virtual Tomorrowland festival is not too much of a stretch from the real thing.
“I think what is really incredible with Tomorrowland is that since day one they took us in a fantasy world,” said Guetta. “So it’s actually not so crazy to do a virtual Tomorrowland because it was always kind of virtual. We always created our own world the way we were dreaming it, so this makes total sense to me.”
Perry admires the festival’s creativity most of all, and guaranteed viewers that the festival will be nothing like other virtual events they’ve attended during quarantine.
“I just thought it was so innovative and so resilient of a festival to just say, you know what, f– it, we’re just going to pivot and we’re going to bring something really technically advanced and difficult, but we’re going to create something beautiful out of this mess,” Perry said. “All I will say is that the performances are not on Zoom and not on our couches. They are a high level, and they’re going to be different than anything you’ve tuned into during quarantine.”
Tomorrowland Around the World’s line-up also includes Afrojack, Martin Garrix, San Holo, Tiësto, Gryffin and more. Watch the trailer for the event below.