Alexander Vandriessche (pictured), one of the organisers of arena dance event I Want To Dance Again, tells Access that high demand has led to a venue upgrade despite no show date having been confirmed.
Originally planned to take place at 8,000-capacity Lotto Arena in Antwerp, the event has now been scaled up to the 23,000-capacity Sportpaleis – the biggest indoor arena in Belgium, which Live Nation acquired in April 2019.
Billed as the “first post-Covid rave”, the event is being organised by Live Nation, Belgium, radio station Studio Brussels and electro band The Subs, which Vandriessche manages. Organisers expect the event to take place in the autumn but despite no confirmed date more than 50% of the tickets, priced at €35 (£31), have been sold.
As an industry we haven’t been able to organise and promote any major parties since March. Now that we have a vaccine and have started the vaccination procedure across the world, we’re hopeful that the live industry can slowly start reopening – that after months of hardship, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. [It is] a hopeful signal that doesn’t only give energy to the people behind the scenes, but more importantly to the general public. People are yearning for social reconnection after months of social restraints. Therefore we felt it would be good to put on this event. Stimulating people to hold on for just a little while longer, respect the local safety restrictions, so we can finally get past this horrible period and can dance again together in the new year.
Who is Studio Brussels and why have you decided to work with them on this project?
Studio Brussels is a Belgian radio station that’s strongly rooted within the contemporary music and youth culture. They’re a key media partner for the live and festival circuit, with a lot of coverage at these events. They too felt the need to give some hope to their listeners, which are active music fans and youngsters who really want to get out there again. Together we want to build a campaign with a strong message of hope and reconnection.
What is the situation like in Belgium? Is there a real demand for this kind of event?
We’re currently in a semi-lockdown and have been since mid-October. We notice that there’s a huge desire for this kind of event. It helps to offer people some kind of hope to keep up the current efforts. To give people something to look forward to. Definitely during these cold and dark winter months, when we have to restrict our social life as much as we have had to for going on a year.
When do you think is a realistic time to host the event?
It’s hard to say. While we hope to organise this event as soon as possible, we can only start planning when the Belgian and EU health situation has vastly improved. We’ll have to be at a point where the Covid-19 crisis is stable and under control. The health of our visitors, staff and performers is vital, above any other concern, that goes without saying. We can only truly reconnect and let go when we know that we’re in a safe environment. Therefore we’ll only go ahead with the accordance of our local government and compliant to all safety regulations that are applicable at that time. We’re organising an indoor event without social distancing and face masks; to really return to ‘how it was’ as much as possible. We’ll have to wait until that’s possible, we believe it will be possible the fall of 2021.