‘A drop in the ocean’: Tomorrowland doesn’t have to repay €1.8 million Flemish aid
Share article:
Share article:

‘A drop in the ocean’: Tomorrowland doesn’t have to repay €1.8 million Flemish aid

Credit: Belga

Tomorrowland does not have to pay back the full €1.8 million it received as aid from the Flemish government now that it will not take place this year, but this will not be enough to get the festival out of financial trouble.

The festival does not have to repay the full sum, but only the costs it can recover, Flemish Minister for Home Affairs Bart Somers explained on Flemish radio on Thursday morning.

However, that is “definitely not” enough to get the organisation out of the financial trouble for the second year in a row, Debby Wilmsen, spokesperson for Tomorrowland, told The Brussels Times.

“€1.8 million is a lot of money and we are very happy with the support, but it is a drop in the ocean,” she said, adding that the festival cancelled orders for a total of €50 million already.

Related News:


On Wednesday, the organisation of Tomorrowland announced that the festival would not take place this summer, after the mayors of Rumst and Boom refused to grant a permit, and consultations with both Federal and Flemish Ministers led to nothing.

“We were starting up already,” Wilmsen stressed. “The Mainstage was finished, we had to pay the advances for ordering materials, the delivery of the wristbands had been ordered, 140 people were working full time to make the festival, artists were booked… I can make a whole list.”

“A lot of advance payments had already been made, and we were already in action,” she added. “Organising a festival like Tomorrowland costs a lot of money, and a lot of things have to be paid in advance.”

To start organising the festival, Tomorrowland already received €1.8 million in support from the Flemish government, as an advance payment. According to the agreement, this amount would not have to be repaid if the festival could not take place due to the government’s coronavirus measures.

However, as the festival itself decided to postpone this year’s edition after the local authorities refused to grant the permit, things are now a little more complicated.

According to Somers, Tomorrowland will only have to repay the Flemish government the costs it can recover.

“It is a kind of guarantee in case they have concluded contracts, made payments to third parties, and are still faced with a ‘no’,” he said. “We are going to look into that. We are going to apply the scheme correctly.”

“I stand behind this 100%. Otherwise, a lot of cultural events, including small-scale ones, would not dare to start in these uncertain times,” Somers added. “At a certain point, you have to stand behind your cultural sector as a government and be prepared to make an effort for it.”

Latest news

Belgium imposes entry ban on travellers from southern Africa
Belgium is introducing an entry ban for travellers from several countries in the south of Africa following concerns about a new variant (B.1.1.529) ...
Cheat Sheet: New Rules, Quiet December Nights
It's been a while since we've had measures complicated enough to deserve a cheat sheet, but less than a week after Belgium rolled out new measures, ...
Brexit: trade and travel disrupted as French fishermen blockade ports and Eurotunnel
On Friday, the national committee for the French fishing industry has coordinated a blockade of three French ports as well as lorries bearing freight ...
Belgium implements ‘package of strict measures’
Not even a week after the previous measures came into force, Belgium is taking stricter measures to stop the fourth wave in the country, announced ...
Even with strong action now, ‘we will still have a few weeks of misery,’ says Vlieghe
Even if the Consultative Committee takes powerful and clear decisions today, Belgium will still have to endure a few weeks of misery while the number ...
Belgium records highest number of new cases since start of pandemic
An average of 16,762 infections per day is now recorded in Belgium, with an absolute record of more than 25,000 infections in one day last Monday, ...
Brussels tunnels blocked by Uber driver protest
Several tunnels in the centre of Brussels were blocked on Friday morning by Uber drivers protesting against a ruling by the Brussels Court of Appeal ...
Police strikes at Brussels and Charleroi airports cause delays
Police unions are taking action at Brussels and Charleroi airports this Friday morning, causing delayed services at both locations. At 7:00 AM at ...
Black Friday not your bag? Try Green Friday
Today is Black Friday: a North American custom that has made its way across the Atlantic and is when retailers aim to draw consumers in with low ...
Study links social media use with depression in adults
While social media has been linked to anxiety and depression in teens, a new study now suggests that adults are also susceptible. In Belgium, a ...
Nearly half a million of lives saved by COVID-19 vaccination in Europe, new study shows
A new study published on Thursday estimates that at least 470,000 lives have been saved among those aged 60 years and over since the start of ...
Nightclubs to shut, bars close early, priority booster shots for teachers: reports
Belgium’s Consultative Committee may have decided on a closing hour for the hospitality sector and closing nightclubs again for a three-week period, ...