Tomorrowland denied permit for 2021 iteration, may be forced to bank on digital Around The World affair
As dance floors across the globe continue to reopen and event lineups quickly slide back into the collective line of sight, we’re abruptly reminded that the impacts of the pandemic are not completely in the rearview mirror just yet as Tomorrowland announces the cancellation of their 2021 run. Originally slated for a summer comeback in July, the event already took preventative measures by moving deeper into the summer, and pushing back to the weekends of August 27 – 29 and September 3 -5. Then, when the Belgian government gave the go-ahead of a 75,000-person gathering earlier this month, it seemed Tomorrowland’s comeback was all but ensured. Now, it appears 2021 simply was not in the cards, though, the cancellation news does come as a relative surprise.
The mayors of Boom and Rumst held a joint press conference wherein they described the reasoning behind the ban this year as being too great a public health and safety risk, citing police preparedness, and more specifically, the lack of a ministerial decree officially allowing such large-scale events to take place. Tomorrowland organizers accepted the blow, calling it a “giant disaster” in a statement given to Dutch newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws,
“Giant disaster! As Tomorrowland, we want to organize a safe festival first and foremost and we have stated several times that we will always continue to evaluate and anticipate the epidemiological situation. The mayor of Boom and his counsel have indicated to us that we can go to the Council of State against this decision.”
While an appeal is still possible, for the time being it appears Tomorrowland 2021 will not be allowed to go on as planned. Though, it seems the festival did hedge its bets earlier this year with the announcement of a second annual digital event, Around The World, which was named Dancing Astronaut‘s top virtual event of the year in 2020.