First of all, I would like to introduce myself!
I am Juan Bilbao (many people know me as Bilbo) and this year I have been the flamboyant Happy Lifestyle Manager of Vallformosa in Tomorrowland. For me, Tomorrowland is like home. I’ve been going to the best music festival in the world for 6 years (the same as Vallformosa! They do say that destiny is capricious! ) and for me, Tomorrowland is no longer just a festival, but has become a way of life (I’ll explain why later).
Before explaining to you the incredible experience I lived this July in Boom (Belgium) I will explain how I got here and how I have discovered that, if we want to, we can move the whole world to achieve our purpose.
It all started at the beginning of May, in Stockholm. I went to see the return of my favourite group (Swedish House Mafia) to the stages. Once the performance was over and I was on my way to the hotel, the Vallformosa contest appeared on Instagram and I only had to send a 15-second video to participate. Well I did, and a few days later, they said that I had been selected for the casting in Barcelona. I knew exactly who I had to go with: Gerard. One of my best friends with whom I’ve been going to Tomorrowland since day one.
Up to this point I did not have much hope, as I don’t usually participate in many contests, but this message made me feel REALLY excited. I went to the casting and right from the beginning I knew that I was the ideal candidate and the person they were looking for. Charismatic, cheerful, fun, open to people, and above all, very excited about living the experience with Vallformosa.
The casting was a lot of fun, the idea was to surprise the jury… And we did it! And after that, the final phase began with 12 finalists and popular votes. In this phase I knew that I could win, and with determination and a lot of confidence I made people take the contest as if it were their own. And thanks to all the people who helped me, we were able to fulfil a dream. And really, the one that made me happiest was to see the support of all the people, the esteem they showed me and all the help they gave me, because without receiving anything in return, they dedicated part of their time to make me happy! I was even voted by parents, relatives or work colleagues of people that I have almost no contact with! It became a matter of state almost, and this is one of the greatest things I have ever lived.
Thanks to all this we managed to win the contest, I couldn’t believe that this year I would go as HAPPY LIFESTYLE MANAGER of Vallformosa to Tomorrowland! Then they told me that we would have to go to the Vallformosa wineries to collect the prize and that they had some surprises for us.
Well said and done, 10 days before the festival started, we went to the wineries and they welcomed us with open arms. They gave us breakfast in their magnificent garden (Irene and Sara, one day I will come and have breakfast again) and then they took us on a quad route through the vineyards of the Penedès so that we could get to know the land of cava. As soon as this was over, they took us on a guided tour of the Vallformosa cellars and taught us the whole process of creating and producing cava. And to tell you the truth, we were really amazed!
When we finished, we made a tasting of their cavas, we met Jeff (our Vallformosa contact in Tomorrowland) and while we were eating they gave us the prize we had won: the long-awaited tickets for the festival, the camp where to stay and to enter the VIP of Tomorrowland! And without knowing it, Vallformosa had given us the best gift anyone could ever give us. And why? We go back to the beginning, where I told you that Tomorrowland has become a way of life for us.
Vallformosa not only gave us the opportunity to return to the best festival in the world, without knowing it, they gave us something that is much more important for us. They gave us the opportunity to reunite our Family (called Panda Family). A group of more than 50 people from all over the world that we have been forming over the years and that meet once a year, in Tomorrowland, to live 5 days of dreams, in a place where problems disappear, where happiness is breathed in every corner, where almost 200,000 people gather who think, feel and live the same passion that we do. It’s impossible to explain how it feels when you’re there if you’ve never been there.
Well, with the certainty that we were the ideal people and that Vallformosa would freak out with what we were about to do. We took the flight on a Wednesday at 6 am to Belgium, and that’s where we all met. The next day we were already heading for Dreamville (Tomorrowland campsite).
They opened doors at 11 am and that’s when we set up our “super” campsite, with more than 30 tents and 3 central tents where we all gathered. Once settled was when the show began, the Gathering began (it’s Thursday’s party at the campsite) and it was time to flag Vallformosa in the best festival in the world. Flag in hand, we began to give out bracelets of the brand to people of all nationalities, showing them one of the things that identifies us from our land: cava.
Having overcome the Gathering, we were already facing Friday, the first day of the festival! We got up at 9 am. (it is impossible to sleep for longer on the campsite), we got ready, ate and headed for the festival! The first thing you see as you enter, is the main stage, the Mainstage that stands out on the horizon. And personally, it’s the best Mainstage I’ve ever seen. The first day is very special, it’s to see all the things that have changed, to meet a lot of people, to eat a lot (the food there is FABULOUS, without exception, the quality is exceptional!), to see the new stages and to dance until the feet say enough! We were at home again, with the family and we were happy.
At 5pm, we did something that identifies us year after year and that Tomorrowland’s cameras are already waiting for. 30 of us dressed as giant pandas got up to dance and jump on the Lotus stage and, later, on the Mainstage. And obviously, we passed by Vallformosa’s Fountain Bar. This “show” appeared in the newspapers, websites and even on Belgian television as the “Panda Invasion in Tomorrowland! And as the day went on, we did one of the things we enjoy the most: discovering new stages and new artists: Cage, Core, Rave Cave (of the best), Lotus, Orangerie, etc.
On Friday, what we liked the most was the fantastic sword of Q-Dance (Hardstyle, one of my favourite genres of electronic music) and the Holosphere by Eric Prydz (a unique 4D show where what is happening on the screen seems real) on the Freedom Stage.
Saturday was very special, thanks to Vallformosa we had one of the best experiences in Tomorrowland. The B2B, a space in the Vallformosa Lounge with exclusive views to the Mainstage where we had food and drinks TOTALLY FREE. A real madness. Apart from that, we also had access to an area with a swimming pool and another with a Jacuzzi!
This day was the best, Da Tweekaz at the Mainstage (Hardstyle, a style well known in northern European countries), W&W (my favourite DJ’s), Brennan Heart at the Q-Dance (where we were dancing, jumping and enjoying with Vallformosa’s representative, Jeff) and Armen Van Buuren (the king of trance and electronic music without a doubt). The day was over and emotions continued to flare up, we had to face the last day of “Book of Wisdow: The return”.
Sunday, the last day and our strengths were no longer the same as the first day. Even so, when you arrived at the festival and felt the music, the batteries were charging and you were back to being a child with a new toy!
This day I wore the Vallformosa t-shirt (and I carried the flag, which accompanied me the 4 days) and people asked me what it was and why I was carrying the flag and wearing the t-shirt, so it was my opportunity to explain what Vallformosa was and all what it had done for us. That day, like the rest, was incredible. The best moments were Symphony of Unity on the Freedom Stage, which was a once-only thing and was in 2015 (I was also there) and consisted of over 60 musicians from the Belgian symphony orchestra playing electronic music with classical instruments and composed by Hans Zimmer (one of the best composers in the world). Literally, it was an hour of crying with emotion and goose bumps. A UNIQUE experience.
And the other highlight was the final performance of 3arelegend on the Mainstage. A session with the most representative hits of the last 15 years (since Tomorrowland celebrated 15 years). A whole hour of jumping and dancing reliving the best moments of Tomorrowland. And this was the end, once again, of the best festival in the world and it was time to return home with many new unforgettable moments, with new friendships, new sensations and new experiences. But, above all, it was time to return home with one thing for sure, next year we will return.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who trusted me, took the time to make me happy and voted for me. Thank you so much, because without you, it would not have been possible. And I would like to make a special mention of thanks to all the Vallformosa team that made it possible, despite the difficulties we have had at certain times. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, you have made me happy and this for me is what is really matters.
For all of you who read this, see you next year in Tomorrowland, because if one thing makes you happy, enjoy it and fight to never lose it!