Belgium's goal of reopening Tomorrowland by September gives it new life.
Tomorrowland, the massive two-weekend festival scheduled for late summer, received a boost on Tuesday (May 11), when the Belgian government announced a target of reopening the country fully by September 1.
Belgium expects to relax most lockdown measures on June 9 if the country's vaccine schedule remains on track and the number of people in intensive care units stays below 500, according to government officials.
Initially, the government would only allow indoor activities with a capacity of 200 people, such as concerts, exhibits, and theaters. Up to 400 people will be able to attend activities outside, such as festivals and outdoor screenings of the 2020 European soccer tournament, which was postponed from last year. And, regardless of where large events are held in the world, people would be expected to wear masks and maintain a social distance.
That may be a problem for Tomorrowland, one of the world's largest EDM festivals, which attracts about 400,000 people to Boom, Belgium. The 2019 version took place over two weekends and lasted six days. Because of continuing COVID-19 flareups in Europe, the festival rescheduled its annual flagship gathering, which is usually held in July, to Aug. 27-29 and Sept. 3-5.
It's unclear if the festival's scheduled dates or capacity will need to be adjusted to comply with Belgium's regulations. Despite this, organizers sounded upbeat on Tuesday.
Tomorrowland said in a statement, "We are pleased and thankful to hear that the Belgian Government has provided a concrete perspective for major festivals in Belgium towards the end of the summer." “In the coming days, we want to review the National Government's guidelines and parameters so that we can better convey the various scenarios and implications.”
With a combination of vaccinations and rapid checking at the entrance, the festival believes it can make Tomorrowland "a safe location." “Every measure and guideline will be taken very seriously by us, and we will follow all of the appropriate protocols,” the organization states.
If Tomorrowland's live event succeeds, it will not be the first big dance festival to resurface. The 20th anniversary edition of EXIT in Serbia, featuring David Guetta, DJ Snake, and Tyga, is still set to take place on July 8-11.
A few other major festivals, such as Bonnaroo (Sept. 2-5) and Creamfields in the United Kingdom, will take place during Tomorrowland's first weekend. Other major incidents, such as Burning Man and Electric Forest, have postponed their 2021 dates in favor of 2022.
Although promoters in the United Kingdom are still on track to resume large concerts after June 21, most major countries in continental Europe have struggled with higher infection rates and slower vaccination rates, according to Billboard. More than 53% of the population of the United Kingdom has received at least one vaccine dose.
Tomorrowland hopes to escape the fate of EDC Las Vegas, which had to postpone its proposed May festival to October after Clark County in Las Vegas modified its regulations for activities that could be held at 100% capacity without social distancing to include a requirement that 60% of residents be vaccinated. The festival had stated that it would announce its artist lineup within the next day.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stated that the country could reopen all sectors of the economy if 80 percent of the population with a pre-existing medical condition could be vaccinated and intensive care units could maintain a patient count of 500 or less.
According to Reuters, De Croo said at a news conference that the more people who are vaccinated, the sooner they will regain their rights.
Even if Tomorrowland's live event is once again postponed, the festival company still expects to host a virtual event in July called Tomorrowland: Around the World. So far, Adam Beyer, Armin van Buuren, and Nicky Romero have been confirmed.