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The Survival Series is a resource highlighting my favorite festivals and parties around the world. Previously I’ve featured Burning Man, an epic week-long social experiment in the desert, Sunjam, an intimate annual rave on a deserted Central American island, The Full Moon Party, Southeast Asia’s most infamous monthly blowout, and Tomorrowland Belgium, one of Europe’s most sought-after EDM events.

Experiencing the magic of Tomorrowland Belgium was one of the highlights of not just a summer in Europe, but half a decade of travels. It was so good that two years later, my festival partner-in-crime Heather and I decided to hit the road and get a taste of Tomorrowland’s South American counterpart. Saúde to that!

Read on for the complete Meihoukai in Wanderland Guide to Tomorrowland Brasil. This post refers almost exclusively to the Brazilian event, with some comparisons to the European original.

Tomorrowland Brasil Survival Guide

Tomorrowland Brasil Survival Guide

What

Tomorrowland Brasil is the third iteration of the Tomorrowland brand that was born in Belgium, branched out to the USA, and eventually landed in Brazil.

Tomorrowland is known for being more than just a music festival — it’s a colorful and imaginative playground for grownups. Extravagant set design, costumed characters and elaborate mythology create an alternative world that attendees spend the entire festival unraveling. While there’s been little international coverage of the Brazilian version, it offers up that same magic, albeit on a smaller — Brasil serves up six stages as opposed to Belgium’s twelve — and slightly more chaotic scale. The upcoming 2017 edition will be the third Tomorrowland Brasil [Update: Tomorrowland Brasil has been indefinitely cancelled.]

Who

Latin American rave lovers, international EDM fanatics, whimsy addicts and those who couldn’t get tickets to Tomorrowland Belgium.

Where

Tomorrowland Brasil takes place at Parque Maeda in Itú, about 83km or 5o miles northwest of Sao Paulo. It’s a lush, naturally beautiful area with rolling hills and stunning sunsets. The full address is Parque Maeda, Rodovia SP 75, Km 18 – Itu/SP, CEP: 13312-500, Brazil.

When

The first Tomorrowland Brasil took place on May 1-3, 2015. The second, which we attended, took place on April 21-23. The dates for the next iteration have yet to be announced. Sets are scheduled each day from 1pm to 1am.

Those camping in Dreamville get to extend the fun by arriving the night before the first day of the festival — when the exclusive pre-party known as The Gathering is held for campers — and may leave the morning after the third, for a total of four nights.

There is also an official after-party on the final night of the festival at Anzuclub, however it is about ten miles away from the festival grounds and no shuttles or transportation options were provided, so this is really only an option for those who have a designated driver and their own vehicle.

Cost

Tomorrowland Brasil is a premium festival with a price tag to match. While it’s possible to keep costs down by planning carefully, it’s also possible to blow through thousands of dollars without too much trouble — we met several who did so! We splashed out on glamping in the Dream Lodges, upgrading to VIP for a day and making it a goal to eat every bit of junk food we could get our hands on and spent around $2,000 each — read my full cost breakdown here.

If I was going it all over again, I would have gone for the Spectacular Easy Tents over the Dream Lodges (major), and booked our locker and shuttles a tad earlier to take advantage of early pricing (minor). Otherwise I was happy with our decisions.

Getting Tickets

Unlike Tomorrowland Belgium, Tomorrowland Brasil has not sold out in either its freshman or sophomore years. That’s good news for those who dream of going to the European version but don’t luck out in the ticket lottery — this just might be your Tomorrowland!

These are the ticket options at Tomorrowland Brasil:

Full Madness Pass. The full festival pass that includes entry on Thursday, Friday and Saturday: $419

Full Madness Pass Comfort. The VIP pass that includes entry on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You’ll have access to a large VIP stage terrace over the main stage, which offers bottle service, upgraded restrooms, and complimentary appetizers that are passed out occasionally by costumed characters. At Tomorrowland Belgium, we were relieved we didn’t splurge on comfort passes as we never felt we missed out in the slightest not having them. At Tomorrowland Brasil, the VIP area was a much bigger deal, and we ended up upgrading our last day. However, we learned it’s cheaper to wait until the festival and upgrade on arrival than to buy this ticket upfront — see my tips section for more info: $889

Day Passes. My guess is that if you’re traveling internationally to come to this festival, you want to be there for more than a day! Day passes are mostly purchased by Brazilians who live nearby, but it is an option for everyone: $189

Day Pass Comfort. The VIP day pass: $379

If you order your bracelet in time to have it delivered to your house (which you definitely want to do in order to save yourself time at the festival) you’ll have to personalize your tickets and activate your bracelet once it arrived. If you happen to speak Portuguese, sweet! There’s a cute little showing you how. If not, you’ll be able to figure it out from the emails you’ll receive with your purchase.

What About Global Journey?

Global Journey is a much-discussed option for getting tickets in Belgium, where many, many people are willing to pay a massive premium in order to guarantee tickets to an event that is sold out within seconds. Global Journey packages include travel and go on sale one week before general sale does.

However, it’s a far less attractive prospect at Tomorrowland Brasil, which does not sell out — thus there is little incentive to pay such a massive markup. Additionally, there are no logo-emblazoned planes with DJs onboard like in Belgium. Here is a  from which Global Journey packages are available. Keep in mind that you will have no control over your departure or arrival times if you book Global Journey, and personally I would not be happy to pay for a premium package only to be assigned a 3am departure time.

Where To Stay

Itú

Itú is located about 83km or 50 miles from Sao Paulo. In Itú there are  (seven, to be precise!) but several enterprising locals have listed , many with the offer of round trip transportation to the festival each day. Renting for the first time? ! Keep in mind that unless you’re renting a house or room from someone who offers to get you there, you’ll have to make your own way to and from the festival each day and if you don’t speak Portuguese you may have a hard time communicating with your host.

São Paulo

In São Paulo the accommodation choices are endless, however you’ll have to make a long journey between the city and festival twice a day and the traffic in and out of São Paulo is legendary. For that reason, I would not recommend this option.

Tomorrowland Brasil Survival Guide

Tomorrowland Brasil Survival Guide

Dreamville

Personally, I can’t imagine not staying onsite in Dreamville! I wrote a full post outlining my experience and listing the various camping options onsite at Tomorrowland. Unfortunately as you’ll read I can’t whole-heartedly recommend the Dream Lodges based on the value we received, but I would give a thumbs up to the Easy Tents and Spectacular Easy Tents. For most international travelers, procuring a full set of camping equipment once in Brazil would be tricky, so the Easy Tents are a great option.

Keep in mind that at Tomorrowland Brasil it is mandatory to fill in a — in 2016 the cut off date was April 15th. Allegedly, you can be denied access to Dreamville without it. The form is required of those at all camping levels with the one exception of those on Global Journey packages, who will have the form filled out for them. A few other notes on Dreamville:

• Dreamville opens at 11am on Wednesday and closes at noon on Sunday. Because the campsite is less sprawling at Tomorrowland Brasil than Tomorrowland Belgium, it’s not as critical to arrive early to secure a site close to the festival entry. Still, I’d aim to arrive earlier rather than later.

• People who enter Dreamville on Wednesday must remain inside the campgrounds until after 4pm. After 4pm people will be allowed to exit and re-enter DreamVille as they please. Check in times are 11am Wednesday to 1am Thursday, 8am to 10pm Thursday, and 8am to 6pm Friday and Saturday. Check out is until noon on Sunday.

• In the Dream Lodge village, breakfast was served at the onsite cafe on Sunday morning and whatever food vendors still had inventory were also still open in the Marketplace, so you can fuel up before making your onward journey.

• Bathrooms in Dreamville have 220V outlets for hair dryers, razors, etc — you’re not allowed to charge your phones in these outlets. In the Dream Lodge Village, showers are free. For those at Magnificent Greens and the Easy Tents, there is a charge of 2.5 pearls (15.60R) for a four minute shower. Showers are open from 8am-8pm.

• It is possible to push the beds together in the Dream Lodges and Cabanas, but I can’t vouch for how comfortable it would be.

• There is a long list of what you can and cannot bring into Dreamville. See my tips section below for more information.

Getting There

Getting to Tomorrowland Brasil  requires a bit of advance planning. There are no trains whatsoever nor any direct public buses to Itú– if you really wanted to take public transport, you’d be routed through Campinas. Which leaves three options: private vehicle, expensive cab, or Tomorrowland shuttles.

International travelers are likely to fly into Guarulhos International Airport (airport code GRU), while domestic travelers may chose Viracopos Airport (airport code VCP). Avoid Congonhas Airport (airport code CGH) which is not on any festival shuttle route.

Tomorrowland Brasil Transfer Information

By Tomorrowland Shuttles

Tomorrowland offers round-trip transfers to Dreamville from central Sao Paulo, Guarulhos International Airport Airport and Campinas Domestic Airport. Prior to February 21st, they sold for 90R. After that date, they sold for 125R. I recommend booking as soon as you book your flight. There will be a 300 meter/.2 mile walk between the shuttle unloading and the Dreamville check in — and then further to your campsite.

Dreamville shuttles leave hourly and you must choose a departure time when booking, though return times are left open and we couldn’t get an answer on how often they departed as the staff at the Dream Lodges had zero information whatsoever about the official shuttles.

Here are the shuttle boarding points:

  • Line 1 São Paulo: Anhembi Sambadrome

    • This is the line we took. There is no Tomorrowland signage whatsoever around Anhembi, so arrive early to give yourself time to get lost, sign in and load your stuff — but not too early. Our voucher advised us to arrive an hour ahead but I was glad we were running behind, otherwise it would have been a long wait in a hot parking lot. We took the 2pm shuttle and arrived by 5:15pm after hitting bad traffic. There were still many, many unoccupied Dream Lodges left when we arrived. A map of Anhembi is . If you’re being dropped off, head to Gate 28 and plug “Avenue Olavo Fontoura, 1209 Santana” into your GPS. If you’re planning to park, head to Gate 30 and plug “Rua Professor Milton Rodrigues, 120, Santana” into your GPS — but I really don’t recommend it as the parking garage is closed on Sunday when the festival ends and Ubers are crazy cheap anyway. Our Uber to Vila Madalena from Anhembi was $5.50US. Get a free ride of up to $20 with Uber , and up to $25 with Lyft !
  • Line 2 Guarulhos: Guarulhos Airport Terminal 3

    • This is the first line to sell out, so book early if you are flying here — by the time we went to reserve our shuttle, the Guarulhos line was sold out for Heather’s arrival time and so we took the Sao Paulo line instead. 
  • Line 3 Campinas: Viracopos Airport Terminal 0

    • This is the closest airport to the festival grounds, so consider flying here if traveling from elsewhere in Brazil.

For those staying offsite in hotels in Sao Paulo and thus requiring daily transfer, the price was 250R before February 21st and 325R after. Single day pass transfer was available for 90R before February 21st and 125R after. The frequency and routes available are unclear — feel free to chime in in the comments section if you have more info!

There will be a 500 meter/.3 mile walk between the shuttle unloading and the festival entrance. Daily shuttles depart from 11:00am to 4:00pm and return from 11:00pm to 4:00am — though the last set closes at 1:00am.

By private vehicle

If you’re traveling internationally to attend Tomorrowland Brasil (which is probably the case if you’re reading this blog post!) then I highly recommend not renting a car to go there. But if you’re determined, here’s what you need to know.

Parking is about 1km/.6 mile from the festival entrance and 300 m/.2 miles from the Dreamville entrance. Before February 21st pricing is 100R per day or 275R for the full festival, while after is 125R per day or 350R for the full festival. On the day of, rates raise to 150R per day or 400R for the full festival.

Let’s say you got a huge crew and decided to rent a van (12 to 15 passengers), a minibus (22-27) or a bus (40-46 passengers). Sweet! Except get ready to pay up big time for parking. Before February 21st pricing is 225R per day or 600R for the full festival, while after is 275R per day or 800R for the full festival. On the day of, rates raise to 450R per day or 1,200R for the full festival.

From the parking lot to the festival entrance is a 1km/.6 mile walk, while to the Dreamville entrance is just 300m/.2 mile — unless you drove a bus, van or minibus in which case it’s 1.4km/.9 miles to the festival and 1.2km/.75 miles to Dreamville. Sleeping in your car, van or RV is strictly forbidden. Find more information about parking and when you can and can’t return to your vehicle .

By cab

Unless you’re on an unlimited budget, don’t plan on cabbing it to Tomorrowland. I read reports of travelers being quoted $130USD each way by cab companies ahead of time, yet I met a group of guys who arrived, missed their pre-booked transfer, and coughed up $200USD for a ride.

Those dropped off by cars and motorcycles will have a 2.5km walk to the festival entrance and a 2.3km/1.4 mile walk to the Dreamville entrance, while those dropped off by busses, minibuses and vans will have a 1.7km/1 mile walk to the festival entrance and a 1.5km/.9 mile walk to the Dreamville entrance.

By Global Journey

If you are on a Global Journey package, your transportation will be arranged for you. Shuttles will bring you from your flight or bus directly to your hotel or to Dreamville. If you are on a hotel package and staying in Sao Paulo, a free shuttle will bring you to and from the festival grounds each day. Remember that with Global Journey you have no say over your travel times. The earliest departures this year started at 3am on Sunday — when the last set had just closed at 1am!

Lockers

Lockers are a must at Tomorrowland Brasil, where theft is unfortunately a regularly discussed issue. Reserve your locker as soon as possible to take advantage of early pricing. Pre-booked lockers cost 40R for a day pass, or 120R for the full festival. On the day of, you’ll pay 50R for a day pass or 150R for the full festival. Those who have booked Spectacular Easy Tents in Dreamville have a locker included in their package.

We split one locker between two people and easily fit in our cameras, laptops, and other electronics. We also had a small lock box in our Dream Lodge, but it was too shallow to fit dSLR cameras. The lockers were right by the entrance and exit to the Dream Lodge village and thus it was super easy to pick up or drop off whatever camera equipment we wanted to take with us.

Cashless Purchasing

Tomorrowland Brasil is totally cashless and all purchases must by loading “pearls” onto your Tomorrowland festival entry bracelet. This was a huge improvement over the physical tokens of our previous Tomorrowland experience! Pearls can be used for food, drinks, showers in Dreamville, and even merchandise like portable branded phone chargers. Each pearl is equivalent to 6.25R. Pearls are sold in multiples of four with a minimum purchase of eight.

50R = 8 Pearls
100R = 16 Pearls
125R = 20 Pearls

If you purchased your ticket prior to January 31st and thus had your bracelet mailed to you, you’ll be able to load it using a Visa or Mastercard once it is activated. Those who purchase tickets last minute and pick them up at the festival will have to load the bracelets upon arrival. Until noon on April 19th, every load of 200R was awarded with a bonus of 2.5 pearls — sweet!

Throughout the festival it’s possible to recharge online with a credit card or in person with a credit card or cash. However, to save time, money and hassle it’s best to overestimate as unused pearls will be refunded to you. There are two methods for refunds:

• If you loaded your bracelet online, you’ll be automatically refunded after the festival for a charge of one pearl. Our refunds took about a month.

• If you reloaded your bracelet in person at the festival, you’ll need to fill out an application within a week of the festival ending for a charge of two pearls.

Staying Sated

Festival food sometimes gets a bad rap — but that’s not the case at Tomorrowland, which features a vast selection of global treats and sweets. Some our favorite meals and snacks from the weekend were yakisoba stir fries (4 pearls), passionfruit champagne — Brazilians love champagne! — from the Bubbles Bar (5 pearls), Brazilian açaí cups (3 pearls), the breakfast buffet at the Dream Lodge Village (5 pearls), and local flavor ice cream bars (2 pearls).

Some food stalls were all over the festival while others had just one location, so keep your eyes peeled for different options. Find more examples of what you can buy and how many pearls they cost in my Tomorrowland Brasil Budget Breakdown. Food and drinks could only be purchased through the less bracelets — no cash or cards are accepted. A fun little Belgian beer garden and food area was a nice nod to the festival’s roots.

One thing we were very disappointment in was that there was no recycling system set up whatsoever, in sharp contrast to Tomorrowland Belgium. Sodas were given out in plastic cups instead of the cans they came in, there were no recycling bins at the festival, and there was no cup return system in Dreamville like there had been in Europe.

Tomorrowland Brasil features just one specialty restaurants (as opposed to Belgium’s three). We had skipped the fancy eats for our first year at Tomorrowland Belgium and were excited to give it a go at Brasil. However, the one option was a Brazilian Steakhouse for 119R — and Heather is a vegetarian. Ever the good sport, we went to check it out in person to see if there were vegetarian options (there weren’t) or if she might want to go just for the sides and salad and the experience, but we weren’t impressed with the setup and were glad that we skipped it. For those that are interested, there are two beef and one chicken option but overall, it appeared to be a serious downgrade from the specialty restaurants in Belgium.

For information on the food and drinks you can bring into Dreamville, check the tips section below.

Staying Alive

Tomorrowland Brasil comes with the usual festival risks of overindulgence and dehydration. Unlike at Tomorrowland Belgium, we brought water bottles into the festival grounds of Tomorrowland Brasil every single day and were not stopped. We weren’t able to communicate with anyone well enough to ask if the water in the bathrooms was potable and drinkable like at Tomorrowland Belgium, so we took a gamble and went for it and we felt great.

While the official rules said otherwise, in reality we were allowed to bring in water and food from Dreamville into the festival (the one exception was when I was eating an open açaí bowl and made to wait, however every single day I brought in a granola bar or snack and someone looked straight at it and let me in), yet we saw that when someone purchased water in Dreamville or in the festival they were handed it without the bottle cap on like at Tomorrowland Belgium. So to save money and plastic while keeping hydrated, if you don’t want to bring your own refillable water bottle I’d recommend keeping a bottle cap in your back pocket and refilling the first bottle you buy.

In general, security was not taken as seriously at Tomorrowland Brasil and there were no drug-sniffing dogs, amnesty bins or stern-faced police loitering near the festival entrances like there were in Belgium.

My greatest concern in the event of an emergency would be my ability to communicate, as we often struggled to find festival staff who spoke English. I’d recommend installing some sort of translation app on your phone for this as well as day-to-day communication.

Meihoukai in Wanderland’s Tomorrowland Tips

Tomorrowland Belgium is notorious for being hard to procure information on or get answers about. But if we felt like we were a little confused then, we were in for a whole other dimension of chaos at Tomorrowland Brasil! Here are a few things I wish I’d known.

1. Book early

As you can see, prices are lower and bonuses are to be had for the early birds who book things like shuttles, lockers, and pearls ahead of time. Overbuy on pearls, as it’s a hassle to add more onsite and whatever you don’t use will be refunded.

You’ll also benefit from getting good flight deals, snagging the best accommodation and generally having more options with your trip.

The one exception? Don’t book VIP passes ahead of time! At the festival you can upgrade for 400R per day or 1000R for the full festival, which even if you did every single day individually would still be cheaper than buying a Full Madness Comfort ticket. Crazy! I’m glad we upgraded on Saturday but wish we’d made the decision early in the day as opposed to in the evening so we could have gotten the most out of our purchase. Especially if you’ve been to more than one Tomorrowland, upgrading for a day is a really fun and relatively affordable way to get a totally new experience. As far as I know, this kind of daily upgrade wasn’t available in Belgium.

2. Start and end in São Paulo

Don’t miss the opportunity to spend time in this amazing city. Arrive early to rest up and adjust to the local time zone, stock up on supplies and get in the party mood. Afterwards, take a few days to unwind, do some laundry, mail home festival souvenirs and supplies and enjoy a bit of Brazil before either traveling onward or heading home. I was amazed by the price and array of Airbnbs in the city — we found a gorgeous one with a pool, a gym and a kitchen in Vila Madalena that was the perfect place to decompress for a few days post-festival. Remember, you can your first AirBnb booking.

Whatever you do, don’t book an early flight the day of departure. Considering our disaster getting out of Dreamville, I would have been a wreck if we’d had an international flight to catch.

3. Pack thoughtfully

The hosts of the Airbnb we were staying in after the festival were kind enough to let us stop by before the festival and leave the majority of our things with them, which allowed us to pack light for the festival. It was a game changer! It made trekking to and from our tent far more manageable, and allowed us to keep ourselves a bit more organized once we’d arrived. Consider packing light or leaving the majority of your luggage elsewhere.

Pay close attention to what is and isn’t allowed at the festival. Technically, cameras with detachable lenses are on the list of prohibited items. Personally, I had no issues bringing my dSLR in and out of the festival. Drones and selfie sticks were also banned, though I saw my fair share of the latter.

Guests staying in Dreamville are allowed to bring the following amount of drinks per person. Glass is strictly forbidden. According to this list, wine and liquor is banned. (Tomorrowland Belgium was, in contrast, a free-for-all — I’m not a fan of these regulations!)

12 cans of beer (269ml)

12 cans of non-alcoholic beverages (350ml)

12 bottles of water (1.5 liters)

One major improvement over Tomorrowland Belgium? Ice was sold at certain stalls in Dreamville in Brazil! Hallelujah!

I’d also recommend packing festival snacks like nuts, hardy fruit, and whatever comforts you need to get through a hangover. Heather and I had a morning routine of starting the day with a triple liquid attack of , and and infused waters. They definitely helped us get through four nights and three days of partying!

Also, have fun packing some fun costumes and a flag from your home country. We noticed that people seemed much more into dressing up at the Brazilian version than the Belgian one, and overall people just seemed more stylish. Do your best to keep up!

Other must-packs you might forget include a padlock for your tent, a towel for showering, a portable cell phone charger, and a copy of your prescription for any medications you plan to bring. I recommend ear plugs and a face mask for when it’s time to get some sleep.

Don’t forget physically printed copies of any and all vouchers (festival tickets, shuttle transfers, locker reservations, Dreamville drink vouchers, exclusive dining experiences, etc.).

4. Load your phone

Download the in order to check timetables, maps, and read FAQs while on-the-go. Also be sure to install some sort of translator app if you aren’t fluent in Portuguese or Spanish. There is no wifi available anywhere within the festival or Dreamville, so be sure to tick this box before you leave home.

On another mobile related note, due to the prevalence of lost and stolen phones at the festival, Tomorrowland Brasil makes the following recommendation: Jot down your mobile phone’s IMEI. IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity, a unique number that identifies each and every mobile device. The IMEI number can usually be found on a sticker in the battery compartment. A simpler way to identify the IMEI is to enter the code *#06# in the call screen, as if you were about to make a call. After entering this code, your device will display the serial number (or IMEI) so that you can jot it down effortlessly.
Should the device get lost for any reason, simply inform the IMEI number upon reporting the event. This will make it easier to identify the device and enable your carrier to block the phone, therefore preventing misuse.

5. Join Facebook groups

Once again, I joined a few Tomorrowland Facebook groups once I started looking into attending, and they were a good resource. While the posts in the Tomorrowland Brasil groups will be almost entirely in Portuguese, you can use Facebook’s translate button for an idea of what’s going on, and when I posted questions in English I usually received a few replies.

This would also be a good way to connect with other English speakers ahead of time if you are heading to the festival solo and worried about being linguistically stranded!

Tomorrowland Brasil Survival Guide

Tomorrowland Brasil Survival Guide

6. Make a plan

Nature doled out one of our unexpected frustrations of the festival. At Tomorrowland Belgium, the sun set at around 10pm every night, which made for a perfect daily routine of heading into the grounds for a few hours when they opened at one, heading back in the late afternoon to rest up and enjoy our beloved “Middle Party” at the campgrounds, and then getting ready and heading back out around 8-9pm and raging until the grounds closed at 1am.

At Tomorrowland Brasil, the sun set at 5:45pm each night, and Dreamville was poorly lit at night, making it a struggle to get ready or socialize at the campgrounds once darkness fell. We struggled to find a groove with this timing and mostly ended up missing sunset, which was a bummer. In retrospect I wish we’d gone into the festival and played around, stayed and watched sunset on the mainstage and then headed directly back into Dreamville to chill for a few hours. However, we would have had to bring some extra lanterns and lights so as not to be trying to hang out and get ready in total darkness. So my suggestion? Pack some serious camp lighting, and then follow that plan!

A few other itinerary suggestions: go to the Fusion Pool Stage early, on the first day! We waited until Saturday and the lines were nuts and the water was a little gross after three days of partying. Also, if you want to try any of the sponsor attractions like the anti-gravity ride, make a beeline to them first thing after the gates open. We never had the heart to tackle the line and missed it entirely — whoops.

7. Prepare for chaos

I think we kind of came into Tomorrowland Brasil with the wrong attitude. To be fair, I think we had reasonable expectations based on our previous expectations with the brand, the fact that it is generally marketed as an international festival, and the price that we paid to attend. But it meant that we spent a lot of time being taken aback by organizational disasters, miscommunications and disappointments and that put a damper on our overall experience — the big three being the checkout disaster from the Dream Lodges, our ridiculous attempt to upgrade to VIP, and our daily struggle to find one English speaking staff member at a festival with thousands of attendees from English speaking countries. I think if I had read a post like this that basically told me to brace for impact, I would have been mentally prepared and been able to adjust my expectations and attitude before walking in. So future international Tomorrowland Brasil attendees, consider this my gift to you.

Know that there will be very little if any at all English signage or menus and some information booths will have not a single English speaker and it will take you upwards of ten tries to find someone who you can inquire about where to purchase ice or how often the return transfers to São Paulo leave. Regardless of how international the brand it or how diverse the audience, I get that it’s pretty much the quintessential Ugly American attitude to arrive in someone else’s country and expect them to speak your own language to you.

So my advice? Learn some of the local language before you arrive, and prepare to have some of the most convoluted and comical misunderstandings of your life (for example, my thirty minute attempt to purchase a glass of champagne in which I was continually pointed from one line to another until a frightened-looking employee thrust an empty champagne flute into my hands and ran away.)

While planning, there was a lot of confusion and a lot of questions we just couldn’t get answers to. For example, the official list of what we could and couldn’t bring into Dreamville listed the amounts in both imperial and metric systems — and they didn’t match. And sometimes the schedules would say AM when we thought for sure they meant PM or vice versa — but we couldn’t be sure.

Again, just arrive knowing that things will go wrong, you won’t always get a straight answer, and this won’t be just like the festivals you might be used to in Europe or North America, and…

8. Embrace the madness

You’re in a stunning natural setting in gorgeous weather and you scored tickets to a fabulous lineup of a festival, no waiting list necessary. Throw on a crazy getup, grab your flag, get on the dance floor and see if Brazilians can teach you a thing or two about how to party.

Tomorrowland Brasil Survival Guide

Tomorrowland Brasil Survival Guide

 And that concludes my Tomorrowland Brasil coverage! Next up? Decompressing in São Paulo!

 

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10 Comments...
  • Cate
    October 27 2016

    Wow! This was such a thorough survival guide, I’ll just have to put it to good use someday. Tomorrowland Brazil looks magical, and I can’t wait to attend one day. Looking forward to more Brazil coverage!
    Cate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 3 2016

      Thanks Cate! Such a fab trip, can’t wait to keep sharing.

  • This is such a comprehensive guide about the two venues. Truth be told, if I went I’d probably stick to the original Belgian one, as it’s in my corner of the world….!

    Fantastic pictures Meihoukai! 🙂
    Victoria @The British Berliner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 3 2016

      Fair enough! At this point, it probably represents better value for anyone who isn’t already based in Latin America.

  • Kat
    October 30 2016

    Hey Meihoukai. Just to let you know that I’ve recently started getting virus/spyware alerts (from McAfee) for your site when I try to load it on my mobile. I’m not at al ll tech savvy but it might be worth looking into.

    • Meihoukai
      November 7 2016

      Hey Kat! I had my crew hard at work on this and I think we finally got it resolved. Thanks for the heads up and sorry for the hassle in the meantime!

  • Laura Bronner
    October 31 2016

    This is a seriously comprehensive guide, Meihoukai! It looks like so much fun and I loved your instagram photos from the festival, but yowza it’s quite expensive! Maybe one day!
    Laura Bronner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 7 2016

      Ha yeah it doesn’t seem so bad when it’s spaced out over months… but when you total it up like this it’s a bit “ouch!”

  • Tom
    January 3 2017

    Nice article you wrote. Too bad there won’t be another edition in 2017, hopefully they return once the economical situation in Brazil gets better and they can picture a scenario where another edition of Tomorrowland Brasil actually could be done profitably.
    About your “Ugly American attitude”: I disagree with the idea of attributing this to ugly American attitude. I would agree if you came to Brazil and expected e.g. some street vendor to communicate to you in English. But this is a huge festival that explicitly caters to a huge number of foreigners, so I think it is very reasonable to expect some staff that besides Spanish/Portuguese is able to communicate in English

    • Meihoukai
      January 11 2017

      Hey Tom! Definitely a bummer on the festival being discontinued (what a waste of content here, ha!) and agree with your assessment. And yes, I think you are right… if you advertise a festival in English and market it to an international audience, having multilingual staff should be a top priority.