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Tomorrowland Festival’s Event Management


Events of all nature have socioeconomic and environmental implications. The implications underline the need for engaging in environmentally and socially responsible processes for decision-making and integration of such decisions into the events planning, arrangement, and implementation processes (Stone & Millan 2011). The goal is to ensure responsible hosting and participation in events. For this goal to be realised, events stakeholders, including suppliers, clients, participants, contractors, and subcontractors, must be engaged in the event planning and implementation processes (Boyd 2013). This paper provides a critical analysis of how events managers should reduce environmental impacts at a festival. However, the paper narrows down its discussion to the Tomorrowland festival.

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Environmental Impacts of Events

Agencies in the private and public sector recognise the need to adopt sustainable approaches to events management. This finding holds due to the need for mitigating any negative environmental impacts of the events (Jepson & Clarke 2014; Davidson & Hyde 2014; Ferdinand & Kitchen 2012). However, Collins, Jones, and Munday (2009) note that even though event organisers and sponsors recognise the need to reduce the negative environmental impacts of events, they face the challenge of assessing the environmental impacts quantitatively. Collins, Jones, and Munday (2009) propose the use of environmental input-out and ecological footprint analysis as two important approaches, which can help in modelling environmental impacts of events. The approaches can also be applied to the Tomorrowland festival.

Marques and Richards (2014) propose the investigation of local narratives as an important approach to assessing the impacts of events. From Santorini as a Greece local narrative, it is clear that tourism festivals lead to a rapid transformation, which may have environmental, economic, and political implications. Considering that Tomorrowland acts as tourism attraction centre, Marques and Richards’ (2014) methodology of assessing environmental impacts of tourism attraction centres may find the application at Tomorrowland. The local community narratives may be important in the process of evaluating the environmental impacts of mega-festival, such as Tomorrowland. Indeed, organisations that are in charge of supplying products and services during the Tomorrowland festival can determine their environmental impacts, depending on the views from the local communities concerning the implications of products and product-associated wastes. They should then take proactive steps to mitigate any ecological effects on the local communities (Zeng &Yang 2011).

Events connect to the environment directly and indirectly (Tum, Norton, & Wright 2006). The impacts initiate right from the time people make travelling decisions to participate in Tomorrowland festival. David (2009) categorises these effects into fabricated environmental and natural consequences. Natural environmental impacts of events comprise all effects on ‘traceable lifeless natural resources, flora and fauna, as well as the landscape’ (David 2009, p.102). Fabricated environmental impacts involve all effects that are felt on facilities because of people involvement. For Tomorrowland, the facilities encompass recreational centres, amusement parks, and restaurants among other buildings.

In the analysis of the relationship between the environment and events such as Tomorrowland, events management theories differentiate various physical environmental factors from the context of implications that are encountered during and after an event. Natural environmental factors include air quality, water and sanitation, geological factors, negative effects on flora and fauna, and the impacts of various natural resources, which may be overexploited by the high population that may attend Tomorrowland festival (Newbold et al. 2015). The second physical environmental factor includes the ‘impacts on the artificial environmental factors, including buildings and visual impacts, changes in the land use, and infrastructure’ (David 2009, p.102). A third important aspect is an ecosystem.

Events involve the mass movement of people and transportation of various support services. This process, which increases the number of tracks on roads, translates into augmented environmental pollution (Zeng &Yang 2011). This situation influences air quality, especially within the surrounding areas of an events centre. During the Tomorrowland festival, consumption of packaged products is high. Therefore, the massive number of people who attend the festival increases the geological problem of littering. Littering has the implication of increasing landfills that are located within local communities where the Tomorrowland festival is held. The wastes have impacts on greenhouse gas emissions.

When green wastes pile in a landfill, the absence of air causes a breakdown of the materials into methane, CO2, mulch, and water with the help of anaerobic bacteria. In landfills, CO2 and methane come out in approximately equal magnitudes (Bogner & Matthews 2010; Burnley 2009). Further decomposition of methane to produce water and CO2 is necessary. If not burnt, its release to the atmosphere produces 24 times effect on global warming in comparison with CO2 (Bramryd 2007). This process produces negative implications to the local communities within events centres. A more concise understanding of the implications of Tomorrowland festival can be developed through the analysis and evaluation of various effects of any major events that draw a large number of people together as discussed in the next section.

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Analysis and Evaluation

Suppliers who are recruited during Tomorrowland festival need to exercise environmental responsibility to mitigate the negative implications of products and product-associated wastes on the environment. For example, fast foods are commonplace products during the Tomorrowland festival. From the work of Bowdin et al. (2011), this excess supply requires companies that deal with such products to have an immense concern about their environmental impacts. For takeaway foods during the Tomorrowland festival, product suppliers must wrap foods for their customers. The manner of disposal of these wrappings is of great concern. Tomorrowland festival is held in nations that have different policy frameworks to guide the disposal of products and product-associated wastes. For instance, the UK requires event organisers to comply with the established laws and regulations on recycling wastes as a measure of being environmentally green (Sharples et al. 2014).

The Tomorrowland festival is accompanied by high entertainment levels that produce noise pollution. The festivals’ hospitality industry and operations of entertainment centres accumulate both biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes. Together with the increased event participants, such wastes aggravate the degree of air pollution in all places where the festival is held. Litter decomposition may release toxic materials to the environment (Masterman 2004). Such undesired geological matters may find their way to the local community’s water supply systems through surface flows. The increased number of participants may overcome the design limits for sewer and sanitation systems, thus causing leakages into both subsurface and underground water systems of the communities that live within Tomorrowland festival centres.

The mass movement of people to attend Tomorrowland festival accelerates the usage of fossil fuels in their transportation. Such fuels may be excessively used in heating, in accommodation facilities, and in catering departments (Getz 2012). Wasteful usage of water during festivals such as Tomorrowland celebration impairs the sustainability of water supply and management systems within communities where the festivals are held. It also lowers freshwater supply resources. This observation suggests that festivals produce effects on the environment and hence the quality of life at the venues and the surrounding places.

The nature and effects of the festival on the environment suggest that the local communities may feel the environmental effects that emerge from the entire process of planning events together with their performance. In this context, some of the activities associated with a festival such as the ‘use of accommodation and catering facilities, travelling, participation in the festival itself, and the operation of the necessary infrastructure may result in significant impacts on the environment’ (David 2009, p.104). Therefore, the goal of any initiative for mitigating and managing environmental impacts should focus on reducing negative implications of festivals so that they can be held with little or no negative effects on both the venue and the local communities. This goal can be realised after embracing the concept of environmental sustainability in events planning, organising, and performance.

The degree of the impact of festivals on the environment varies, depending on the time of stay. Page and Connell (2012) support this assertion by claiming that due to the extended period of stay, events produce an insignificant level of positive effects but mostly negative effects on the physical environment. However, Nordvall et al. (2014) claim that the time of stay is not the only factor that determines the degree of harm caused by festivals in the physical environment. In fact, some events may take a short time but produce massive destruction due to a large number of people in attendance. This observation is perhaps the case for Tomorrowland festivals. For example, the Belgium Tomorrowland festival sold out 360,000 tickets within one hour. This turn-up indicated the huge number of individuals that the event attracts to limited space. The organisers of the event instruct the massive number of people in attendance to minimise their wastes. Where they must produce wastes, they have to dispose of them in the provided rubbish disposal centres. However, the waste ultimately ends up in landfills that are located within the local communities.

Application and Problem-solving

In dealing with challenges of environmental impacts of festivals, including Tomorrowland, it is important to reduce waste accumulation and generation during the events. This process includes reducing and or mitigating various negative effects on physical environments (Kats et al. 2003). One of the ways of doing is by ensuring that buildings and infrastructures at the Tomorrowland festivals are green. The building occupies space that was originally occupied by other natural systems. Therefore, even if the process of building does not degrade the environment via interfering with the ground structure, space is consumed, thus making most buildings fail to comply with the requirement that they make use of small space (Grubb Hope, & Fouquet 2002; Oberthür & Lefeber 2010; Philibert 2004).

Furthermore, green buildings need not to contribute to sprawling, which is defined as the tendency of structures to spread in a manner that does not follow any fashion (Kats et al. 2003). These rules that govern any green building are significant since the overall goal of going green in the development of environment friendly festival infrastructures is pegged on the idea that people must put in place strategies for ensuring that energy absorption or release to the environment is kept minimal. In fact, the International Energy Agency estimates that well above 40 percent of the total global energy consumption is due to the buildings (Pushkar, Becker & Katz 2005). Buildings are also responsible for the 24 percent of the global carbon dioxide emissions (Pushkar, Becker & Katz 2005).

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Environmental responsibility during festivals calls for people to adopt the appropriate behaviour. This strategy reduces the degree of degradation of the environment, which negatively influences the geological conditions of communities that live within areas where the events are held. For example, when left in the camp sites, camping tents end up in landfills. A solution to this challenge involves ensuring that one carries home his or her camping tents when the festival is over. During Tomorrowland festivals, various tents such as first aid tents and product promotion tents are erected. Although they have a limited implication to the geological conditions of the festival site, it is necessary for those who erect them to store them for future use, rather than leaving them assembled. A major challenge only emerges where people erect their individual tents. The cheap tents sold out at the supermarkets lower an incentive to dismantle a personal tent and take it home.

A major step in resolving the problems of negative environmental impacts during Tomorrowland festivals involves reducing carbon footprints during planning, performance, and after-event performances. Reduction of carbon footprints guarantees environmental sustainability (Brantley 2006; Nordhaus 2007). This goal may be accomplished through the selection of an appropriate means of transport to the festival sites. For example, through travelling by train, the amount of carbon emissions per person that is associated with the transportation of people to Tomorrowland festivals reduces when compared to travelling by vehicles or planes. This solution has the implications to event organisers since it requires the selection of an event site, which has connectivity to railway line system. Table 1 shows the potential carbon footprints savings that have been achieved by the selection of an appropriate means of transport to an event via minimising the amount of energy required to transport event goers.

Table1: Energy needed in the transportation of one passenger to an event per kilometre

Means of transport Energy consumption for 1 passenger kilometre Kj/ukm in coal par
Aircraft 6000
Train 2100
Coach 2200
Automobile with 1-4 passengers 7800-1900
Cyclist 120
Pedestrian 250

Source: (David 2009)

To mitigate the problem of depletion of natural resources, utilising environment friendly sources of energy during Tomorrowland festivals is recommended. Indeed, in environment friendly festivals, Kyong, Myong, and Hee (2009) observe that heating energy solutions need to come from solar, wind, and hydro sources. Similarly, water wastage, which influences the local communities by decreasing the quality and quantity of the available clean water, may be minimised by solutions such as the deployment of modern technologies in water recycling and adoption of positive environment friendly attitudes among festival attendants.


In Tomorrowland festivals, the assessment of wastes is important in the development of strategies for protecting the environment together with saving costs that are associated with wastes such as waste-collection and pollution of natural resources such as rivers. Some strategies that can be developed for reducing wastes can also lead to saving monetary resources for planning and performance of Tomorrowland festivals. For instance, a reduction of pre-consumption wastes by event goers can help in lowering the amount of wastes released during festivals (Weidenfeld & Leask 2013; Morgeson, Mitchell & Dong 2015; Ziakas 2014). Concisely, where recycling is an alternative waste management technique, the use of virgin materials in the manufacturing of products produced by 100 percent recycled materials from the festival may tremendously enhance environmental sustainability in Tomorrowland festivals.


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