Joel Hoylaerts

No edition of Tomorrowland this year: "Didn't want to start a legal battle"

This year's edition of the popular dance festival Tomorrowland in 'De Schorre' in Boom has eventually been cancelled after the organisers threw in the towel. They did so after talks between the local mayors and the Flemish minister Bart Somers did not lead to a breakthrough. 

Organisers announced in a press release late yesterday that they made the final decision to stop the preparations for the event. There were hopes that the world-famous festival could ahead after all, a little later than expected, due to improving corona figures. It would take place at the end of August and the beginning of September, instead of July. 

But last week, the mayors of the local municipalities Boom and Rumst said they would not grant their permission, despite the fact that the government will allow events for up to 75,000 people by that time. 

But the mayors estimated it was still too early as we are just recovering from the third corona wave. Local committees were also against, as the new date would clash with the start of the new school year. Tomorrowland poses a major burden on the local neighbourhood. 

"With pain in our hearts"

The Flemish Minister Bart Somers acted as a mediator in this case, hoping to find a compromise, but the mayors stuck to their guns in recent days, with the support of some health experts. Organisers couldn't wait much longer and decided to throw in the towel: "We don't want to start a legal battle", they said. "But we obviously made this decision with pain in our hearts." 

It's obvious organisers wanted to keep a good relation with the local authorities keeping in mind the long term. Organisers (and fans) say they are looking forward towards the 2022 edition. 

A blow for various players

Organisers will be able to get back some of the investments they already made in the preparation of the festival, Somers said. "We have to cancel various orders worth 50 million euros now", Debbie Willemsen of Tomorrowland explained. "This is a hard nut to crack for us, but also for our suppliers and the freelancers we are working with. And for the hotel sector in Brussels and Antwerp that welcomes our guests."

Willemsen said that Tomorrowland had received 1.8 million euros in financial support from the Flemish government in times of corona, "but this didn't even cover one tenth of the costs we already made. It's hard, but it's part of doing business." 

(archive picture)

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