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Tomorrowland Is Not Expanding to Asia
According to reports in the past few days, dance music festival Tomorrowland has been said to be looking into a new edition in Thailand, its first foray into Asia. A spokesperson for the company, however, debunked that story to Billboard today, citing it as a mistranslation of a story from the Thai publication Post Today. It would have been the fourth Tomorrow-themed festival from its founders ID&T, in addition to the original Tomorrowland in Belgium, TomorrowWorld in the United States in the state of Georgia and Tomorrowland Brasil, held outside Sao Paulo.
"We are not looking for another continent for the moment," a rep for the company tells Billboard. "We will organize Unite in two Asian countries this year: India and Japan." Unite is a one-day event presented by Tomorrowland which has been held in India and Mexico in the past.
According to Post Today, local promoter World Planet Entertainment's managing director Chatri Tungthiankul said the country should be looking to host an event such as Tomorrowland, saying it would help boost tourism to the Asian nation, but not that the expansion was in the works. According to Tungthiankul, the promoters believe a similar event could attract up to 450,000 attendees, and stressed the need for the government to help in preparations to accommodate international travelers. Both China and Japan are also reportedly interested in hosting a festival.
Since its inaugural edition in Belgium in 2005, Tomorrowland has become one of the most successful festivals in the dance music space, winning numerous international awards as a destination event. Its flagship, in the Belgian town of Boom which is set to host David Guetta, Tiesto, Axwell & Ingrosso, Armin van Buuren, Afrojack and more, sold out its 2016 edition in 40 minutes before even announcing its lineup. And it has been growing quickly in recent years; after SFX Entertainment purchased a 75 percent stake in its parent company ID&T in March 2013, it expanded to the U.S. later that year, adding its Brazilian edition in 2015.
But these are also uncertain times for the festival as SFX was forced to declare bankruptcy earlier this year and has begun selling off assets at auction. On Feb. 1, 2016, the day the bankruptcy became public, Tomorrowland spokesperson Debby Wilmsen expressed doubt about the festival's U.S. edition after 2015's significant issues with weather and transportation, saying Tomorrowland and SFX have had different "visions and goals, including a long-term strategy." Subsequently, the 2016 edition of TomorrowWorld was canceled, with festival organizers writing on its website, "Unfortunately in the current environment, it is not possible to give you the best and unique experience you deserve.