Tomorrowland Will Host a Second Virtual Festival This July

Tomorrowland Music Festival
DAVID PINTENS/AFP via Getty Images

Tomorrowland Music Festival

Organizers say live version of festival in Belgium is also still on track for late summer.

Tomorrowland organizers will host a second iteration of their summer virtual event, Tomorrowland: Around the World, this July, event reps have confirmed to Billboard.

Debuting last July, Tomorrowland: Around the World happened in lieu of the actual live Belgian dance festival, which organizers canceled due to the pandemic. One of the first major festivals to go digital, Tomorrowland: Around the World sold nearly 140,000 tickets and compensated artists on a royalty-sharing compensation scheme based on overall ticket sales.

Organizers told Billboard that Tomorrowland risked €5 million (about $6 million), including money spent on talent and production, to put on the pay-per-view festival, which took two-and-a-half months of planning and featured a heavyweight lineup including David Guetta, Tiësto, Eric Prydz, Amelie Lens and Martin Garrix. Sets were pre-recorded in green-screen studios on four continents, with the virtual environments created using Epic Games' Unreal Engine software.

The festival company also hosted a more scaled back New Year's Eve 2021 virtual event featuring Garrix, Tchami, Boys Noize and more.

The live version of the mega-festival — which typically brings approximately 400,000 attendees to Boom, Belgium, over three days, and ran six days over two weekends in 2019 — is currently on the calendar for Aug. 27-29 and Sept. 3-5, 2021. The first weekend of the event overlaps with the U.K.'s own massive dance festival Creamfields, which will feature artists including The Chemical Brothers, Deadmau5, Charlotte de Witte and other scene stars, some of whom are also playing Tomorrowland.

Tomorrowland organizers said Wednesday that they expect the Belgian government to provide more information regarding safety protocols, rules, regulations and restrictions on May 11. (As of April 27, 6.7% of the Belgian population had been fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University.)

“We’re still positive, although we realize we’re in a very complex situation,” Tomorrowland co-founder Michiel Beers tells Billboard.

The event is one of several — including EDC Las Vegas and Bonnaroo — that remain on the calendar for late summer/early fall, leaving some questions about how organizers will safely gather tens of thousands of people for the shows. Other major gatherings such as Burning Man and Electric Forest have canceled for 2021, and set their focus on returning in 2022.

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