The evolution of the Tomorrowland main stage goes hand in hand with the meteoric rise of the festival itself.
From humble low-key beginnings over a decade ago, Tomorrowland has become the biggest dance music party the world has ever seen.
Reviving the fan favourite 2012 theme The Book Of Wisdom for this year's 15th anniversary festival, here's a look back over the evolution of the craziest music stage anywhere in the world.
- Tomorrowland 2019 FAQs
- Tomorrowland Announce 2019 Theme and Dates
- Tomorrowland's Most Memorable Moments
- Tomorrowland: 10 Things You Might Not Know About the World's Biggest Dance Festival
Back in 2005, Tomorrowland introduced itself to the world with a main stage that was pretty decent for a first attempt, but not exactly spectacular.
Even with some impressive headliners on the lineup – Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten and Sven Väth – it was impossible to know what the festival would grow into.
The second edition's design included the same original logo, along with a watchful eye that actually feels like it would be more at home at a heavy metal festival. But in hindsight, you can see the first steps towards the kind of epic artwork we expect today.
2007 was the last time the main stage appeared with such a simple look, although with four screens popping up in amongst a whole wall of lights, the visual show was starting to get a little more serious.
Is that a buffalo? Or a massive turtle, about to crash down on top of the DJ booth?
It's hard to say, but 2008 was definitely a big leap forwards, with the main stage forming a distinctive character for the first time.
(Ok, from this angle it looks much more like a turtle, but I still wouldn't put money on it.)
Look, I'm just gonna say it upfront: this one is creepy.
Bigger and more colourful than ever, sure. But wayyy creepy.
The stage was designed to reflect that year's Masker (Mask) theme, but there's something undeniably sinister about a maniacal laugh on a giant face with an octopus-like moustache and bright red lipstick. Right?
Especially when you zoom in real close. The fact that it was essentially eating each of the DJs doesn't help at all.
Luckily, 2010 brought peace and love back in a big way. The kind, smiling Zon (Sun) beamed out from under a rainbow frame, while waterlily towers (why not?) started to build the stage outwards with extra elements for the first time.
The face evolved again in 2011, as The Tree of Life sunk its roots and watched over an enchanted forest of lollipops and mushrooms.
The Book of Wisdom finally dispensed with the flat canvass altogether, completely rewriting the script on how to build festival stages.
Countless others have since copied this idea, but as the festival narrator told tales of DJs from all over the world in 2012, the crowd below had never seen anything on this scale before.
The Book went on to travel the world, starring at the first ever editions of TomorrowWorld, USA, in 2013, and Tomorrowland Brasil in 2015.
The Arising of Life placed artists at the foot of a flaming volcano, in an almost prehistoric scene.
And life also arose in the USA a year later, with the stage and theme appearing at TomorrowWorld 2014.
The Key to Happiness is another of Tomorrowland's most iconic symbols, as the benign face reclaimed the focal point of the main stage.
Just like the 2013 design, the 2014 stage made it to Chattahoochie Hills for TomorrowWorld 2015, and then to Brazil in 2016, for the second (and so far, final) year of Tomorrowland's South American edition.
A gothic cathedral of dance music sprung up in the heart of The Secret Kingdom of Melodia in 2015. Imposing, powerful, and reaching for the sky, it was the tallest design so far.
After the architectural homage of the previous year, The Elixir of Life reunited Tomorrowland with the natural world. The canopy of a hidden forest world loomed over artists and crowd.
This edition arrived with a full-blown circus atmosphere, across two weekends for only the second time. Amicorum Spectaculum put up a big-top main stage, covered in carnival details and performers on high-wires.
The Story of Planaxis brought with it a subaquatic wonderland, transforming the main stage into an underwater melange of coral, shells and the centrepiece: a giant seahorse.
Heading into its 15th anniversary this year has Tomorrowland waxing nostalgic. To mark the occasion, they're looking back for this year's theme, dubbing 2019 The Book of Wisdom The Return.
This is a resurrection of the famed 2012 theme, which upped the ante on festival stage production forever and challenged the rest of the festival world to try and keep up.
Whether it will be a straight up re-staging or if the theme will get a modern updating remains to be seen, but whatever they do you can be certain it will be epic.
More like this: