"Given our long cooperation with the municipalities, we do not want to turn it into a legal battle," it reads in a press release. "Challenging the decision of the mayors with the Council of State is a path we do not want to take. We respect the citizenship of the mayors, but also our neighbors from the municipalities of Boom and Rumst."
Last week it was announced that both mayors will not give the green light for the organization of the dance festival . This year's edition had already been postponed to the end of August and the beginning of September, but mayors Jeroen Baert (Boom, N-VA) and Jurgen Callaerts (Rumst, N-VA) are too concerned about the health situation to have Tomorrowland even then take place. On Monday afternoon, the cabinet of Belgian Prime Minister Jambon held a meeting about their position.
Afterwards, the spokesperson for the Prime Minister told that the consultations had been constructive, but that the context is not such at the moment for the mayors to come back on their refusal. However, the organizers can always submit a new application, which can then be assessed by the mayors. The Flemish and federal governments remain available to help where possible, but the final decision remains with the mayors, it says. They confirmed tonight that their position does not change, so it would make little sense for Tomorrowland to submit a new application.
Thunder in a clear sky
"The decision of the mayors of Boom and Rumst came like a bolt from the blue," the organization said in a press release. "We did not act overnight when we applied for our permit with substantiated files. Governments, experts in various domains, our own covid team and all possible authorities were contacted, established and discussed extensively in recent months." The festival planned to take a lot of extra measures to guarantee the safety of festival goers, artists, employees and neighbours, such as working with the Covid Safety Ticket where only visitors with a full vaccination (+2 weeks) were allowed. In addition, only visitors from Europe would be admitted in this edition and not from all over the world.
Now Tomorrowland itself has decided to pull the plug for 2021. "Despite all our efforts, we have no choice but to move the 16th edition of Tomorrowland to next year. All technical and organizational matters were in order to submit a new application to the municipalities, but especially the lack of a balanced and unambiguous virological advice that fits in with our tight organizational framework is the reason why a new application makes no sense."
Canceled for more than 50 million eurosGoing into conflict with the mayors of Rumst and Boom also makes no sense, according to the organization. "Given our long cooperation with the municipalities, we do not want to turn it into a legal battle. To challenge the decision of the mayors at the Council of State is a route we do not want to take. We respect the citizenship of the mayors, but also our neighbors from the municipalities of Boom and Rumst." Moving to another municipality for the festival is also not an option, because Tomorrowland made many adjustments to the site, from upgrading the stages to installing fiber connections.
The fact that the festival is already being canceled for the fourth time - in addition to last year's edition, Tomorrowland Winter 2020 and Tomorrowland Winter 2021 were also deleted - is hard for the organization. "It is a huge financial blow for us as an organization to lose almost completely the annual turnover for the second year in a row; but also for the suppliers, freelancers, artists and associations involved who are always passionately involved in Tomorrowland. Today, with pain in the hart, canceled a series of orders for more than 50 million euros from many loyal Belgian top suppliers."
Despite the setback, the organization now wants to look to the future with a positive and open mind. "We will bring 'The Reflection of Love' to De Schorre in 2022."