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Tomorrowland 2013: 423 artists, 15 stages, 10 moments you can’t miss

Tomorrowland will once again invade Belgium this weekend, marking its ninth chapter with an expected attendance of over 180,00 fans hailing from over 214 nations around the globe. With a lineup vast enough to boast over 400 artists, the pool of headliners alone trump rival events, no single dance music genre is left unacknowledged, and the odds of discovering new talent are in favor of the attendees. Before TomorrowWorld touches down in Atlanta this September, Boom offers a heavenly opportunity for festival-goers — but with endless options come difficult decisions.

Want to visit all 15 stages, see your favorite DJ, experiment with new sounds, all while taking the time to witness sets in full? Navigating Tomorrowland will be no easy task, but one all fans should be excited to attempt — and that’s where DA has you covered. In the midst of an endless sea of talent, here are ten moments you won’t want to miss…

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10. Jacked’s back-to-backs

Anything can happen at Tomorrowland; where DJs won’t hesitate to unite and the back-to-back set is honored. The recently added Jacked stage in particular will embody this cause, crossing talent on the decks hours before Afrojack will arrive to play host. At 4pm Bobby Burns and Leroy Styles will unite as two Jacked guerrillas set to deliver a raw and uncut subset of their host brand, amplifying their energy when playing together. Wasting no time thereafter, Bassjackers and Apster will take over side by side as two simpatico acts you won’t want to miss as one.

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9. Marco Carola’s Carl Cox & Friends limelight

Europeans, Tomorrowland attendees specifically, hold a special place in their heart for beat-driven music and its tech-focused conductors. Those who cant wait the 48 hours until Richie Hawtin and company set up shop will be pleased to call the Carl Cox and Friends tent home. And while Cox may have his name on the masthead, fans should be even more excited to see Italy’s tech ambassador ,Marco Carola, who will make the biggest splash in an arena that also hosts the likes of John Digweed and Loco Dice.

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8. GTA, Michael Calfan, Pete Tong set stage for Eric Prydz

Since Eric Prydz made his stateside return almost one year ago, he has made his case for the “king of dance” title and continues to strengthen it day by day. While Eric’s day two closing set is a unanimous must-attend, an eclectic selection of unique talents will occupy his Sessions stage from dawn to dusk. Unequivocally the stage that should be most frequently visited, GTA’s 2:45 set, and Michael Calfan’s that follows, will shape up to be some of the most impressive hours of the day. If conflicts cause you to miss Nicky Romero’s set (we wouldn’t recommend it), don’t forget to stop back to find Pete Tong in his element at 5:45.

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7. Paul van Dyk and Co. push trance boundaries

Armin van Buuren’s A State of Trance movement occupies the minds and hearts of fans worldwide as its annual tour represents trance through the warmest months of the year. But with Armin’s signature party out of the equation at Tomorrowland, the ‘trance family’ will shift focus towards the Trance Addict stage with Paul van Dyk at the helm. Those looking to squeeze in a mild dose of the habitual bliss that only trance could deliver have the simple choice to find van Dyk at 6:30pm. More experienced, and even more curious trance fans are gifted with an afternoon of exploration with the pure trance stylings of Aly & Fila and a back-to-back set from Andy Moore and Lange later that night.

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6. Dim Mak’s rising talent showcase

Steve Aoki plans on bringing more to Tomorrowland than his rider full of cakes and champagne bottles. The Dim Mak headhoncho is using the Belgium affair to showcase artists who have at one point or another called his imprint home. Selecting some of the most talented yet unrecognized artists in dance music, Dim Mak’s stage on day one is the destination to expand horizons and claim new DJ fixations. At 1:50pm, spend an hour at camp-Aoki and witness Botnek and Dzeko & Torres, each of whom will bring their A games to win over new fans. If you find yourself wanting more of the Dim Mak experiment, revisit the stage at 3:50 for Deorro and check back for a classic Space Invaders set from Joachim Garraud.

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5. Maceo Plex and Paco Osuna snag tech honors

Carl Cox has developed an avid following with his Carl Cox & Friends movement that is most prevalent across Ultra Worldwide festivals. And although that party will too host a Tomorrowland stage, it’s expected that Richie Hawtin and his M-nus stage will steal the weekend’s techno glory. Among Hawtin’s battalion of DJs, two stand out enough to dedicate your time while 14 other stages remain in full swing. Maceo Plex will take the decks at 5pm for a two-hour slot worth trooping through and, if his quicksand is as captivating as expected, you’ll be hard-pressed to leave before Paco Osuna gets underway.

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4. Superman, Ironman, & Batman

Bringing his global Super You & Me movement to perhaps its biggest stage, Laidback Luke and family will be nothing short of festive when targeting Tomorrowland dominance this weekend. Last year saw a special back-to-back-to-back set at the aforementioned stage, coming from DJs using their superhero aliases. Laidback Luke played the role of Superman, Martin Solveig took on Batman, and Chuckie costumed up as Spiderman. This year, Spiderman will be replaced by Iron Man for a special ‘Superman, Ironman, & Batman’ set. Assuming Luke and Solveig reprise their roles, it is still unknown who will complete the trio as Iron Man — but possibilities include Benny Benassi and Tommy Trash.

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3. Q-dance, Headhunterz, hardstyle homecoming

It’s recently been announced that the Q-dance brand will begin to spread its influence further into the American dance landscape after a mere tease at EDC Las Vegas. Trekking across the Atlantic to the movement’s origin, European attendees will gravitate towards the Q-dance stage. For Americans abroad, the wise decision would be to follow the hardstyle legion straight towards the fan favorite atmosphere. Whether you’re first getting your toes wet or you’re a hardstyle veteran, pay a visit to the man who is synonymous with the genre — Headhunterz.

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2. Markus Schulz’s mid-marathon Rabbit Hole

Members of the dance music community collectively tipped their hats to Markus Schulz when he announced that he’d be playing a twelve-hour set at Tomorrowland. Sure he’s done it before, and has experience with marathon sets pre-fame as a resident DJ, but taking the act outdoors at one of the world’s most popular festivals is something to celebrate. With 14 other stages and nearly 150 other artists to visit on day one, it wouldn’t be fair to expect fans to stay the duration of the marathon — which is why we suggest stopping by for a midday jaunt just as Schulz begins to plunge deeper into the Rabbit Hole portion of his set.

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1. Grand Finale at the Main Stage

The United States has Ultra Music Festival to provide memorable events (often dubbed only-at-Ultra moments) but the rest of the world has Tomorrowland to witness once in a lifetime festival occasions. This weekend at Tomorrowland 2013, three of the festival’s most popular artists will play an unprecedented back-to-back-to-back set. Gifting the festival with a grand finale after Steve Angello’s slot, David Guetta will play a closing set alongside former proteges Afrojack and Nicky Romero — ending the festival with a bang to compete with the accompanying fireworks.

Photo Credit: Rudgr

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