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International music festivals don’t come cheap. But exactly how many dollars do you have to drop to attend Tomorrowland? The answer varies wildly — I’ve met festival goers who get by on the cheap by pitching their own tent, bringing in food and generally being frugal, and I’ve met straight up party people who drop what I spent the entire weekend on bottle service in the VIP tent for a night.

This is my personal real for real breakdown of what I spent at Tomorrowland Brasil, as someone who I think stacks up somewhere in the middle. Flight costs are not included, though read this post if you’re wondering how to score a bargain one.

Essentials

Ticket: $419

This was a significant increase over the $300 we paid for our tickets in Belgium. At Tomorrowland Brasil, a Full Madness Pass covering all three days of the festival was $419. Comfort VIP passes, which provide access to a separate viewing deck with bottle service and free snacks occasionally passed around, were $889.

Day passes were also available for $189, or $379 for the upgraded comfort VIP version. All tickets and Dreamville packages were listed and sold in USD currency.

Dreamville Camping: $1,130

Again, this was a big price bump over the $661 we each spent in Belgium, and unfortunately I can’t rave that it was money well spent. This included four nights of glamping in the Dream Lodge village. If I had been able to look into the future and act accordingly, I would have gone for the Spectacular Easy Tents instead and saved myself a cool $705 in the process.

Next up, read all about camping in Dreamville!

Shipping: $30

In Belgium, there were $70 tacked onto each of our tickets in surprise “service costs,” “payment costs,” and “fulfillment costs.” So I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when we got to the checkout and saw a sneaky $30 per person shipping fee for our festival entry bracelets.

Tomorrowland Shuttle: $34USD or 135BRL

Unless you rent a car or cough up for a cab, there’s just one way to get to Itú — the official Tomorrowland Shuttle. Driving sounds like a nightmare, and cabs are insanely pricey. On one message board I saw a traveler was quoted $130 each way from Guarulhos Airport to the festival grounds, yet I met a group at the festival who arrived at the airport, missed their pre-booked transfer, and paid $200 for a cab on the spot. Yikes.

So, the official shuttle it is! Three shuttle lines are available from Guarulhos Airport, Viracopos Airport, and downtown Sao Paulo. By the time we scooped up tickets, the ones straight from the international airport Heather was flying into were sold out — which was fine by me, as I’d been hanging out in the city sleeping off my jet lag for a days. So Heather took a cab to my hostel and we went together to the Sao Paulo line after grabbing a few essentials at a nearby market. We paid 135BRL/$34USD round trip — one of the few bargains of the weekend. And it would have been even cheaper if we’d booked before February 21st, when prices were just 90BRL!

An Uber to Vila Madalena on the way back into the city after the shuttle dropped us off was about $5.50USD — not included in these totals, but crazy cheap.

Read more about the shuttles to Tomorrowland Brasil in my festival survival guide.

Supplies

Campsite Food and Alcohol: $38USD or 150BRL

This is where things start getting cheaper than Belgium — on the ground in Brazil. Heather and I spent $38 each on food and alcohol from Sao Paulo to bring into Dreamville. A few pieces of fruit and granola bar snacks go a long way when you have a hankering but don’t want to leave your tent, and it’s nice to have a few drinks at the campsite before you head into the festival. We actually had tons of snacks leftover that we brought with us on the next stages of our trip.

However, we made a critical mistake when planning for Tomorrowland Brasil — we didn’t consider that the regulations for what you could bring into Dreamville might be different than they were in Belgium! In Belgium, the only rule was no glass; otherwise it was a pack-what-you-wish free for all. Not so at the Brazilian version, where we later learned we were limited to:

12 cans of beer (269ml)
12 cans of non-alcoholic beverages (350ml)
12 bottles of water (1.5 liters)
Unlimited nonperishable 

We also needed an authorization voucher to bring in food and drinks, which Heather had printed out and packed with our tickets and other vouchers. However, we got massively lucky and the one and only bag that wasn’t thoroughly searched on our way into Dreamville — I’m talking they opened every single thing in my makeup bag and sniffed our water bottles for booze — was the one in which we had all the brand new bottles of premium liquor, juices and sodas we’d just stocked up on. I would have been devastated if we’d had to toss them! We don’t drink beer, so following those rules would have been a massive bummer, and I’m not sure how strict they are — ie. if canned cider or malt beverages would pass the test.

We didn’t even realize how inadvertently lucky we were until later when we were the only people in Dreamville with liquor. Since we didn’t know we were doing anything wrong until later, we hadn’t even tried to hide it from security! I give this rule two major thumbs down, though to be fair it may be a local regulation rather than a Tomorrowland one.

The one upside to this crazy vetting into Dreamville was that security from Dreamville into the festival itself was pretty lax — we walked through with all kinds of food and drink and were never hassled.

Costumes: $42USD

Heather and I planned out a few fun costumes and matching outfits we wanted to wear ahead of time, mostly using things we already had. We did however order a few fun little extras, including American and Caymanian flags (the iconic Tomorrowland uniform),  (which we got a bajillion compliments on and were definitely the highlight of the trip!), and our  (which sadly were stolen in Dreamville).

Tomorrowland Brasil Budget Cost Breakdown

Tomorrowland Brasil Budget Cost Breakdown

On Site Purchases

Pearls: $186USD

Pearls are used to buy food and drinks at Tomorrowland — the festival is completely cashless and purchases are made via your Tomorrowland entry bracelet. Overall, we did a little less damage than we did in Belgium, where we spent $208 each on onsite food and drinks.

We loaded up our bracelets with pearls about a week before the festival, spending 800BRL/$228USD upfront on 128 pearls and as every load of 200BRL received a 2.5 pearl bonus until April 19th, we also got a 10 pearl bonus. About a month later, we received the promised refund for our unused pearls minus the one pearl we were charged for the refund.

Generally, food prices were a bit more favorable than what we paid in Belgium. For example,  breakfast at the posh Dream Lodges was just 5 pearls or 31.25BRL, around $9USD. It included eggs, coffee, pastries, fruit, and more — and we thought it was a great value. Here are some other examples of what things cost in pearls. Remember, each pearl is worth 6.25BRL, or $1.79USD at the festival weekend’s conversion rate.

Breakfast buffet at Dream Lodges – 5PRL
Acai – 3PRL
Fruit salad – 4 PRL
Gnocci Bolognese – 4PRL
Pizza – 3.5 PRL
Mac n Cheese – 4PRL
Fritas – 8PRL
Quesadilla – 4PRL
Yakisoba – 4 PRL
Ice cream bars – 2PRL
Sodas (Pepsi, Guaranaja) – 1.5PRL
Water – 1PRL
Chandon Passion from Bubbles Bar – 5PRL
Frozen drinks at SKOL – 3PRL
Vodka soda – 6PRL

Read more about the food at Tomorrowland Brasil in my festival survival guide.

Tomorrowland Brasil Budget Cost Breakdown

Tomorrowland Brasil Budget Cost Breakdown

Lockers: $16US or 60BRL

As the lock box in the Dream Lodges isn’t large enough to fit dSLR cameras, we split one locker ($32US or 120BRL ahead of time, or 150R if bought onsite — so prebook to save!) at the Dream Lodges. And we are glad we did. It was big enough for our laptops and camera equipment, and it was easy to pop by on our way in and out of the festival. Again, considering we had a few non-essentials swiped from our tent, I’d recommend locking up anything of even nominal value.

VIP Upgrade: $113US or 400BRL

This was our big spontaneous splurge. On the last night of the festival we were kind of restless and looking for a new experience, and several of the friends we had made in the Dream Lodges were in the VIP section. We inquired about price at a small upgrade booth near the VIP tent and decided to just go for it, and told the girl staffing the booth we were heading back to our tents to get our credit cards. It was a bit of a hassle considering the Dreamville layout disaster, but we were excited. When we returned, we found the upgrade booth empty and the lights off. One of the security told us they’d closed for the night. Thanks for the heads up, booth girl! Determined not to have missioned back to the tents in vain, we kept pressing the issue, and eventually with much persuasion and insistence and waiting in lines and explaining our situation to like a dozen people with whom we shared no language, we were able to exit the festival, purchase the upgrade outside, and return. It was a mission!

Once we were in, we found our friends, gawked at the amazing views, had fun with the characters and even managed to grab one snack off the last of the rotating appetizer trays. It was wild in there!

Was it worth it? Yes and no. I wish we’d upgraded first thing in the morning that day and enjoyed the VIP stage and perks the entire day and without hassle, in which case I’d say it’s absolutely worth the splurge, especially when you consider the cost of getting a VIP ticket upfront. Considering how much of our night we ended up wasting and how little time we actually spent in VIP as a result, the value is a little less clear.

Tomorrowland Brasil Budget Cost Breakdown

Tomorrowland Brasil Budget Cost Breakdown

Total cost for four nights:
$2,008 per person

Again, I greatly wish I could turn back time and save over $700 by going for the upgraded easy tent, which would have brought us down to less than the $1,525 we spent at Tomorrowland Belgium. This was unquestionably the most expensive four nights and five days of my life. Um…. yolo?

If you’ve been to Tomorrowland Brasil, please share your own experience in the comments below!

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22 Comments...
  • Dang, Tomorrowland, you are not cheap! What I can’t believe is how expensive it is compared to, say, Bonnaroo. Granted, we usually go on a free Artist pass, but then spend about $80/day on food and booze. I estimate even if we did buy our pass and pay to camp, it would only run us about $500/person for the four days. And many people in the US think THAT is too much. Can’t see myself ever paying $2000 for the same amount of time, so I’m glad you took one for the team and did it so I could experience it nonetheless 😉
    Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 18 2016

      Actually, they are pretty equivalent — Bonnaroo is actually a bit more, comparing apples to apples. If you did the cheapest ticket and camping pass at Tomorrowland, that would also cost around $500. Yet according to this , the VIP camping at Bonnaroo runs $1,500-2,500. Good thing I have an even more luxe option at Casa Luna 😛

      • Ah, I see. I guess I didn’t realize how VIP your VIP experience was 😉 Or how #blessed I’ve been to a) never pay for a Roo pass and b) never had to camp there! I actually didn’t even know that they did fancy camping options like Tomorrowland does. Doesn’t seem very Bonnaroo, and all the times I’ve meandered through the campgrounds, I’ve never seen anything but homemade campsites! Still, I think I’d rather stay at home and shuttle to and from the Farm 😉
        Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

        • Meihoukai
          October 23 2016

          Yeah, VIP festival camping is a crazy indulgence. I think it makes more sense to do when going to an international festival because the hassle, cost and ridiculousness of flying with all that kind of gear you’d need to regular camp is just tenfold nutso when you’re talking about doing it on a different continent. I’m not sure I’d make the same splurge stateside — it’s too easy to just run to Target and get a tent!

  • Sarah
    October 17 2016

    I don’t think Tomorrowland would really be my scene, but it’s still great fun to read about all the same!
    The thing that really caught my eye in this post though: is that sushi I see in your hand?! It looks awfully like a little hand roll, getting over your aversion by any chance? 😛

    • Meihoukai
      October 18 2016

      Ha, that was Heather’s! I just grabbed it for the photo 😉

  • joannerambling
    October 17 2016

    I often wonder why do things have to cost so damn much
    joannerambling recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 18 2016

      Haha — I ask myself that quite a bit too!

  • Cate
    October 17 2016

    This was a really interesting breakdown! Was Brazil overall more expensive than Belgium? If so, that’s fascinating, as brazil in in south america and belgium in high price Europe! Looking forward to the survival guide, here’s hoping I can try it out someday
    Cate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 18 2016

      No, overall Brazil was definitely cheaper! We spent less on things like cabs, groceries, and festival food at this one — the tickets and camping were just exorbitantly more expensive… and I have no idea why. I’d love to hear an explanation from the organizers, perhaps there is a good reason?

      • Thomas
        October 23 2016

        Probably shipping costs for the stages and other stuff and most importantly: The lineup/DJs. They get paid in USD and since the Brazilian Real devalued massively over the last couple of years and only recently started to regain a bit, those artist salaries got way more expensive than e.g. back in 2011/12.
        So putting up a lineup like Tomorrowland Brasil did, in Brazil, got quite expensive and in the end we all know, that this means higher prices in the end.

        • Meihoukai
          October 23 2016

          I could understand DJ rates going up explaining a bump in ticket prices, but I’m not sure the shipping costs justify a doubling in prices of Dreamville prices. That just seems kinda crazy!

  • Kate
    October 17 2016

    Yikes!!

    I always think that I want to try out festivals, but then I read the price tags and decide… eh, maybe not. Especially being half of a couple, the price is basically doubled in my mind.

    Looks fantastic, though! I’ll admire from afar for now. 😉
    Kate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 18 2016

      Yes, it’s a bit of a bummer that we had some regrets considering what an obscenely expensive expenditure it indeed was! After Tomorrowland Belgium I was on such a high I didn’t regret a single cent, this time I do kind of cringe looking at the total. Ah well, you can’t unspend money… and we did have a blast.

  • Stephanie Craig
    October 18 2016

    Love these kinds of breakdowns! Thanks for sharing.
    Stephanie Craig recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2016

      Sometimes they are painful to do, ha ha, but they definitely help me be realistic when making future festival decisions so they benefit me, too!

  • Rachel
    October 18 2016

    no way did I expect a festival in Brazil to be so expensive, even if it is part of the Tomorrowland franchise. And all the rules too?! 269ml is a very small can of beer, I’m not sure you can even buy that size here in the UK! It did look fun though, and that churros….mmmmmmmm

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2016

      Yeah, the restrictions on what you could bring into the campground were kind of ridiculous. Definitely glad we got around them, albeit unintentionally!

  • Laura Bronner
    October 18 2016

    Yowza! I hadn’t realized how expensive these festivals were! I’ve never been to one but they always looks like SO much fun. Perhaps I should get saving for Belgium!
    Laura Bronner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2016

      Belgium definitely reflected better value. Not what I was expecting!

  • becky hutner
    October 18 2016

    Thank you for being real Meihoukai! Even when it’s painful. I don’t think I’ve EVER tallied a trip cost, let alone share it with the world. Oh the number of people who would judge me for my shameless spending in Ibiza!

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2016

      Ha ha, I know, I did kind of cringe before pressing publish on this one. Oh, the joys of not having a mortgage…