3 things I learn from a $800 music festival (and camping) - Alvinology

3 things I learn from a $800 music festival (and camping)

3 things I learn from a $800 music festival (and camping) - Alvinology
mother of all raves. and it’s only 3pm!

The music festival: Tomorrowland

Simi Tomorrowland? The Holy Grail of rave festivals.  It’s a 3-5 day electronic dance music festival in Belgium. Every July, half a million party revelers from all over the world make the annual pilgrimage to the festive mecca.

Sounds crazy: You bet. Non-stop partying 12 hours a day, from noon to midnight. For four days. To very loud music going at 120 beats per minute.

3 things I learn from a $800 music festival (and camping) - Alvinology
the holy trinity of lasers, fireworks and flames. leave your sunnies on!

That’s a lot of raving. I need to rest! You can bring your own tent to pitch on the festival grounds, like 80% of the population. Or you can be atas and stay in the $25,000 mansions. Sounds way too similar to the housing situation here if you ask me.

Holy crap, I’m definitely choosing camp: Guess what, it’s $800. $800! And that excludes tent and sleeping bag.

So ex!  You don’t say. But it’s a bucket-list item for many. Some claim it’s a life-changing experience even. For me, it was the most surreal weekend of my life. All tickets sell out in less than an hour from the time they go on sale. That says something.


3 things I learn from a $800 music festival (and camping) - Alvinology
1 of the 15 stages littered around the area.

Tomorrowland is like a study in anthropology. I learn 3 important concepts about human behavior during my time here.

1.Guys revert to cavemen

Camp ground = Anarchy Land.

There were border disputes and guys displaying territorial aggression. Primal behaviour harkening back to the good ole’ days of T-rex.  

3 things I learn from a $800 music festival (and camping) - Alvinology
Anarchy land never looked so colourful

I blamed this on the organizers. Bits of empty land were opened in intervals once a certain area was filled.

The moment new land was revealed, people would just throw their stuff down to ‘chop’ space.

Like Singapore, land is prime property. Space is a luxury, and you have to compete with thousands others. 

3 things I learn from a $800 music festival (and camping) - Alvinology

The larger your tent, the more power to you.

I witness a my-tent-is-bigger-than-your-tent-so-scram moment between Switzerland and Israel.

The Swiss are in the pic above, right after they chased off their potential neighbors.

They were not very friendly, but they were hunky, so that mitigates some. 

3 things I learn from a $800 music festival (and camping) - Alvinology
clearly it’s not a first-time event for some

It’s a 40mins walk from the camping grounds to the stages.

It’s like a walk through a no-man’s land.

With more than 200 nationalities setting up tents in close quarters, we look like the world’s happiest refugees.

3 things I learn from a $800 music festival (and camping) - Alvinology
happy camper me in my modest tent

I’m not much of a camp person. I don’t even like it when the toilet is more than 10 steps away.

I’ve always assumed people who ‘rough it out’ were either Bear Grylls, broke or had something to prove. I was none of those, so I approached camping with some trepidation.

It may not be the wilderness, but it’s still a wild environment with animals of a different kind. 

Anyway, the main  factor in choosing camping was simply because it was the cheapest accommodation option at $800!


2. Guys pee EVERYWHERE

3 things I learn from a $800 music festival (and camping) - Alvinology
off all places, in the middle of an open eating area.

Yes, that’s a guy reliving himself in the middle of an eating area. I had a front view of the action while eating my noodles.

I’m a firm believer in the mantra “when you gotta go, you gotta go” but c’mon! Piss-poor etiquette indeed.


Every morning, I’d unzip my tent and be greeted to the sight of a guy taking an open piss nearby my tent.

Then again, if I see queues like this, I might just pee into the nearest bush/drain/bucket/cup/cat too.

That’s just the queue to the guys’ shower. Imagine the girls’.


To avoid this, I’d faithfully wake up at 6am to shower.

It’s freezing cold and I’ve barely slept.

But the thought of queuing up for 50mins in the cold when I’m cranky and grubby is impetus enough for me to wake up early.


Portaloos- an urban myth or shitty reality?

I tried to avoid them as much as possible by not eating meat/heavy foods, but I gave up fighting my body impulses by day 3.

There’s only so much crap you can take literally.


Toilets, they range from decent (rare) to turd rocket propulsion.

The toilet bowl is carnivorous, you see everything and I mean everything, inside. You cannot unsee it, because the gaping maw of the toilet bowl will occupy your entire vision once you open the portaloo door.

You also cannot unsmell it because people rarely flush. So you try to minimize contact with everything – the toilet lid, the wall, the flush button.

But! Toilet paper never runs out. There’s a god after all.



There are loads of wide open spaces, lakes and greenery around, since Tomorrowland is set in a quaint village area.

Although it may seem nice to take a breather and lie on the cool grassy ground, chances is someone just peed there.


Good luck if you suddenly get the urge to pee!


3. Music does a better job at creating world peace than most world leaders


My geography was much improved in the few days I was there than the four years in secondary school.

Many people swopped flags, while some enterprising minority nationalities tried to sell theirs.

Someone wanted to buy the Singapore flag off us. That’d be great…..if we had actually brought one!

I spotted only one China flag. It must have been going for a premium.

I spotted a few pockets of Singaporeans here and there. And somehow, someone in our party would know one of theirs.

I even bumped into my employer’s son for cryin’ out loud.



Earlier I mentioned Anarchy Land with territorial wars.

But once the music gets going, people get more relaxed and pleasant. And there’s no more boundaries after that.

I suppose music’s like a social lubricant with bass.


Politics and race  has no bearing here. China high-fived Japan, UK donated a poncho to France, while Israel hugged it out with Palestine.

…Ok I didn’t actually see the last one, but damn I wish I did so I could send the picture to Time and win Picture of the Year.


He ain’t heavy, he my bro.

Disabled people were given way to and lifted up in all sense of the word. You can’t help but appreciate such acts.

Singapore could learn a thing or two.

Speaking of which, our National Day Parade committee could also learn more about the Art of Fireworks from Tomorowland too.


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