The unexpected cancellation has come as a shock to many.
Only weeks after the organisers of Tomorrowland told Billboard they were feeling “very positive” about their in-person 2021 event, it now looks like the local government has forced the festival to cancel.
The mayors of Boom and Rumst who have jurisdiction over the location in Belgium where the event is held, has announced a ban on this year’s festival due to concerns over the international rise in coronavirus cases.
Making the announcement at a press conference in Belgium that was held on Thursday (17th of June), local officials told reporters they have made a decision to force a ban on Tomorrowland. Saying that after considering the new dangers of the COVID-19 Delta variant, they have decided Tomorrowland is too big a health and safety risk.
Jeroen Baert (N-VA) is mayor of Boom, and speaking yesterday he said: “We are concerned about the health situation. We bear a great moral responsibility. I would find it difficult if there were victims due to a local corona outbreak. That is why we cannot approve this application now. The experts have been very clear to us, we can’t ignore that.”
Tomorrowland’s 2020 instalment was cancelled due to the pandemic, and 2021’s edition had already been pushed back until later in the year after originally being planned for the start of the summer.
Talking to VRT news, Tomorrowland spokesperson, Debby Wilmsen said: “We have just been informed that the mayors of Boom and Rumst will announce a ban on Tomorrowland 2021. That hits like a sledgehammer, very hard and unexpected.
“We haven’t had a festival for two years, which is very hard both financially and emotionally for our entire team,” she continued. “We were so keen on this, and it all looked positive. After 15 years of intensive cooperation with the municipalities of Boom and Rumst, this feels very wry. We find this very unfortunate after the many constructive preparations and discussions. We do not know what is happening to us for a while.”
Following the mayor of Boom and Rumst announcement, The Brussels Times reports that numerous politicians are working to find a solution that means Tomorrowland can still go ahead. Bart Somers is Flemish Minister for Home Affairs, and is one of the people trying to make is so the festival can still happen. In an official press release, Bart Somers said: “This sector has suffered heavily from the corona crisis and we have supported them with financial means to get through it, but from 13th August onwards it should be possible again to organise larger festivals. If Pukkelpop can go ahead, I am convinced Tomorrowland can too.”
Belgian festival Pukkelpop is currently scheduled to take place between the 19th and 22nd of August in Hasselt, with the organiser Chokri Mahassine telling Studio Brussel that the event was aiming for its “full capacity” of “66,000 people a day.”
The festival’s digital offering, Tomorrowland: Around the World, will still go ahead on 16th and 17th July 2021.
H/T: DJ Mag