25 Years of Boom in 2022
“Rocks in my path? I keep them all. With them I shall build a castle”. This sentence, from a Brazilian blog, captures how we feel: challenges birth teachings which can in turn, birth beautiful things in the future. Due to the pandemic we are, once again, unable to celebrate together in the summer of 2021; but the community is reuniting for something unique, the 25th anniversary, a quarter century of existence of Boom Festival in 2022. It will be taking place under the auspices of the New Moon, the symbol of new beginnings, between 22 and 29 July 2022. All tickets purchased for 2020/21 are valid for 2022.
In our last newsletter, from 12 February 2021, we shared our efforts in trying to make Boom happen this summer. The most recent updates are that:
- Numerous licenses are required for the festival to take place. Hence, we continue to be represented in workgroups alongside the Ministry of Culture, the Directorate-General of Health (DGS), among other official entities. Since December 2020 proposals have been made for the production of pilot-events, with policies and sanitary regulations that would allow the comeback of cultural activities in Portugal. However, the government response so far has been evasive, no official decision answers the actual question of whether or not it is possible for festivals to take place in the summer of 2021. And if so, under which conditions?
- On 11 March the Portuguese Prime-Minister announced the plan to loosen the lockdown. Amidst measures to lift restrictions, he stated that from 5 May “large scale outdoor and indoor events are allowed, with reduced capacity”. He added that, in order to take place, these events must comply with the regulations imposed by the Directorate-General of Health (DGS). To the day we write you these words (23/24 March 2021), the aforementioned regulations remain a mystery. This announcement wasn’t followed by the required instructions from the DGS. Since 12 March, Boom Festival has contacted the DGS in writing four times and we have yet to receive a single reply.
The pandemic is wreaking havoc with a different beat around the world. Festivals and other events are taking place where they can. Meanwhile, an avalanche of tests, rapid, slow, nasal, anal, vaccinations, Russian, German, American, Oxfordian, prevention tactics, clinical trials and speculation as well as suppression vs expression of civil unrest is turning Covid-19 into a dynamo of social asymmetry on a global scale. A festival uniting people from 175 countries and territories such as Boom, carries an immense responsibility for the collective wellbeing of its entire community, and considering each Boomer’s condition and origin is essential for our decision making process.
A festival is its community - our concern for the public guides our choices. That’s how we laid out the non-negotiable prerequisites for Boom to happen in 2021, which we shared in the 12 February newsletter. Our present status is the following:
- PREREQUISITE 1: Physical distancing and masks must not be mandatory during the festival;
- Present Status: To this date there are no official guidelines to regulate the production of summer festivals in Portugal. It is known that masks are mandatory until at least 5 July 2021, and this rule is subject to extension;
- PREREQUISITE 2: It must be possible for the entire global community to attend;
- Present Status: Several flight restrictions are in place and the conditions to travel to Portugal from Europe and other continents, remain very much undefined. To expect that this situation will significantly improve by July 2021 simply isn’t realistic.
- PREREQUISITE 3: There must be clear protocols, issued by the Portuguese Ministry of Health, on how festivals can operate;
- Present Status: As explained above, no such protocols have been issued. We can’t keep waiting indefinitely for them to be finally issued, whilst keeping the whole Boom community in a state of limbo. We refuse to extend the agony of uncertainty for Boomers alongside a policy clusterfuck curated by Portuguese health authorities dealing with the festivals.
- PREREQUISITE 4: There must be a clear procedure regarding vaccinating or testing, in such a way that allows freedom of choice.
- Present Status: Because there are no official protocols as of yet, we do not know what guidelines will be ultimately applied to festivals.
- PREREQUISITE 5: It must be possible for us to start building at Boomland from 1 April.
- Present Status: Travel difficulties and lack of guidelines on how to deal with potential health risks on Boomland render unrealistic the possibility of starting the build on that date. That means that the standards of art, architecture, design, the gardens and other areas, would be significantly compromised. We would never present the community with a caricature or a “redux version” of Boom Festival.
Friendship, unity, freedom, nature, the party, personal and collective discovery, is not compatible with a list of rules and unknowns such as the ones brought by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. We will not contribute to a collective experience that may put your health at risk, or limit your freedoms. We believe the current situation is only temporary, there are multiple signs of culture and festivals slowly reemerging around the globe.
This double rescheduling is also a massive challenge for our organisation. Not being able to make Boom happen puts the survival of the festival at risk. We have a resident team managing the Boomland and its several ongoing eco-regeneration projects, there are hundreds of culture professionals on our staff and the resources needed to actually put together the festival are considerable. We don’t remain unharmed by Covid-19. These are extremely complex times and all your support and understanding is deeply appreciated.
All 2020 tickets will still be valid for 2022. A comprehensive FAQ follows to guide you through practical issues regarding tickets and what to do in the pandemic.
The last 12 months have been nothing short of intense. The struggles to create the conditions necessary to make the festival happen, obtaining information from decision-makers and establishing the prerequisites to welcome the community back to Boomland, safely and freely, has been sharpening our ninja jedi skills. We are all facing a unique, and pretty unprecedented moment in history. The 25 years of Boom Festival on the New Moon of July 2022 is building up to be quite the moment to herald a new era, a new cycle!
Our patience, kindness and resilience is being tested. If there was ever a time to be united it’s now. We can almost feel the vibrations of the dancefloor. We’ll be dancing together at Boomland again soon.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your unconditional support.