Just like last year, it was Love Tomorrow founder Joris Beckers who had the honour to open the Conference. In the Atmosphere stage, he took his time to address the attendees and give them an overview of the evolution of Tomorrowland and Love Tomorrow.
Being the proud father of four children, the future is always on the forefront for Joris. In 2001, he met Michiel and Manu Beers, who would become the founders of the Tomorrowland festival in 2005. Joris was with them from the very first edition onwards. And what a journey it turned out to be.
Tomorrowland grew from 7500 visitors in the first year, to 400.000 visitors in 2023. Being a seasonal event, organising Tomorrowland requires a lot of transport and logistics. There are no two ways about it: this way of working is not only challenging for the organisation, but also a strain on the environment. Love Tomorrow was created in 2013 to address these sustainability challenges, in the broadest sense of the word.
IT’S ALL ABOUT VALUES
When growing from a festival brand to a global entertainment brand with 10 locations globally (including two schools), your values need to be at the center of the evolution. The Tomorrowland key values are Creativity, Entertainment, Unity and Magic. The brand is captured in the characteristic baseline: Live Today, Love Tomorrow, Unite Forever.
THE MOST SUSTAINABLE FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD
The goal is clear: to become the most sustainable festival in the world by 2030. The past ten years, plenty of initiatives have been launched and the roadmap is set to reach our goal in seven years. In line with Love Tomorrow’s specific values (Responsibility, Nature, Innovation, Health and Respect), we chose to anchor our different programs around six of the seventeen SDG’s of the United Nations.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE
Love Tomorrow’s first focus was on waste: since a few years, we have launched reusable tents for Dreamville, named Camp2Camp. Our visitors love this concept, and it has inspired other festivals to do the same. Then, we created ‘Route 360’, where we track the lifecycle of a plastic bottle around the world. The results were shocking and urged us to act.
At our holy grounds, we have designed and manufactured ‘flower bins’, our own take on trash bins. The introduction of the flower bins – and later, the ‘Calyx’ bins – led to a huge decrease (40 tons per year) of litter on the festival site. Every year it shows that people just love using the Calyx bins and even gather around it when taking a rest. There are now more than 800 Calyx bins and more than 200 wooden bins on-site.
In Dreamville, we added another twist. In the ‘Recycle club’, our visitors combine depositing their waste in the right bins with a spontaneous party.
In addition to that, we relaunched our famous recycle backpacks. 70 enthusiastic volunteers walk around the holy grounds with backpacks and green overalls and naturally draw attention and awareness for waste collection.
Besides: did you know that the Tomorrowland mainstage are designed and created locally, in the surroundings of Boom, where the original festival is held?
WHAT WE ARE DOING
Every year, Tomorrowland hosts 20.000 visitors with a ‘Global Journey’ pack. 44% of them come by plane, 29% by bus, 27% by train. In close collaboration with a few travel partners, we are working on launching ‘SAF’, sustainable aviation fuel. A technological innovation which can drastically reduce the festival-associated CO2 emissions. The next few years will be pivotal for this project.
Power supply is one of the main stressors in our sustainable approach. We installed a fixed grid system at De Schorre to replace the generators that are currently used around the festival site, which will further expand in 2024. In the meantime, the generators recently switched their fuel from propane to bio-propane. Our goal is clear, we want to operate on 100% green energy by 2030.
Finally, we are working with the Flemish government on the implementation of the mandatory reusable cup. We have some suggestions to improve on the concept, as Joris himself explained beautifully at the end of his presentation.
IT ALL STARTS WITH POWERFUL PEOPLE WHO SPEAK UP…
… And it takes courage to do so. We are committed to making Tomorrowland the most sustainable festival in the world by 2030. If we all join our efforts, we’re confident we can do it, together.