Stop Tomorrowland
Alpe d'Huez

From March 16 to 23, 2024, the fourth edition of the Tomorrowland Winter festival will be held in Alpe d'Huez. In 2023, articles in the Dauphiné Libéré (Grenoble editions of February 16 and March 3) reminded us of the extravagance of "this immense techno festival considered one of the most popular festive events on the planet, [...] with its 20,000 festival-goers, over 150 artists, 10 stages including one covered stage capable of accommodating 10,000 people per evening".

This festival raises a number of questions, the first of which is environmental. At a time when scientists are alerting us of the absolute need for sustainability, Tomorrowland continues to generate an enormous carbon footprint, for the benefit of a handful of mostly very wealthy people. To question this festival is not to oppose cultural events, but to question its relevance in the midst of an environmental catastrophe. Also, the cultural benefits of Tomorrowland for the region are more than questionable: what place is there for the local scene?

While this festival, hosting world-famous artists in a magnificent setting, can be the stuff of dreams for many, this dream is contributing to tomorrow’s climate nightmare.

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The Collective

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The Stop Tomorrowland Alpe d'Huez collective is made up of citizens opposed to the festival as it exists today. Among them are activists from various environmental and social associations and movements, but also regular folks with no previous activism experience. The future of our fabulous alpine landscapes is everyone's business.

What unites them is a vision for the future of the mountains that excludes the ecocidal interests of a few wealthy, profit-blinded investors..

These organizations support the Stop Tomorrowland Alpe d'Huez collective:

5 reasons to say no

Economy: the quest for unlimited profits

The impact highlighted by the festival's promoters is primarily economic. The Dauphiné Libéré reported in 2023 that "rarely has an event put such a smile on the faces of Alpe d'Huez shopkeepers. If festival-goers sleep in the resort, they also consume... And a lot! “

Is this something to celebrate? While we're obviously not opposed to Alpe d'Huez shopkeepers earning a living, we say no!. Just read the testimonials in the Dauphiné Libéré: it's all about superprofits. Against a backdrop of ecological catastrophe, is mindless economic growth desirable? Alpe d'Huez is already an internationally known resort, which local oligarchs could perhaps be content with (Tour de France, skiing).

It's worth noting that the festival's promoters are more discreet about public subsidies they receive. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region was particularly generous, granting €400,000 to the festival for its first edition. For a music industry with an estimated turnover of €25 million in 2018, this is understandably questionable...

Social: a festival for everyone?

Mr. Badjily, director of the Alpe d'Huez tourism office, said in 2023: "Tomorrowland is the ultimate event [...] with people who have high purchasing power, [...] in our bars, it's December 31st every night". And indeed, the budget required to come party gives an idea of the target audience: in 2023, packages with accommodation started at 875 euros per week per person (excluding transport), and went up to 7,000 euros (source : Le Monde)... We believe that such a quantity of energy and human, material and financial resources could be put to better use than Tomorrowland.

Certainly, not all festival-goers consider themselves "rich", and we'll probably find a few examples of people who have managed to set aside enough to live the experience of their dreams, at the cost of a few "sacrifices". Nevertheless, it's important to bear in mind that only a tiny proportion of the population can afford to spend so much on leisure activities, especially in a context of high inflation. This raises the question of social justice.

"Live Today, Love Tomorrow, Unite Forever": a strong slogan for the festival, inspiring uplifting values of inclusivity and solidarity. But what kind of unity are we really talking about here? Between whom and whom? Can we really see in the Tomorrowland audience a reflection of unity and solidarity among humans?

Environment: an outrageous carbon footprint

It can be estimated (based on the breakdown of the festival's clientele provided in the Dauphiné Libéré) that the carbon footprint of the festival's air travel alone exceeds 6,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent; in 2022, 60% of the festival's clientele came from abroad! According to Extinction Rebellion, if we include all car travel, festival logistics and (over)consumption during the festival (energy, food, accommodation...), the event’s carbon footprint is comparable to the yearly footprint of all the residents of Alpe d'Huez. It's also greater than the average annual carbon emissions of over 50,000 people in Uganda, where the Tomorrowland Foundation prides itself on its humanitarian work...

We believe that the wealthiest people with the largest carbon footprints should be the first to apply principles of sustainability, and that our social model must change to avoid the environmental and social impacts of such lifestyles. Climate justice requires everyone to make a fair contribution to the environmental effort, which is impossible when an event such as TomorrowLand drives a few people to emit so much carbon.

The question of water resources is also worthy of discussion when, for example, a single ice statue (admittedly impressive!) alone uses 3,600 m3 of water, the equivalent of an Olympic swimming pool.

Finally, what about the noise and light pollution generated by this festival? Let's not forget that the stage, at an altitude of 3,300 metres, is only 500 metres from the edge of the Ecrins National Park.

Culture: a music industry

While many festivals can be credited with bringing local scenes to life and enabling local residents to enjoy them, this is clearly not Tomorrowland's objective. As the Alpe d'Huez newspaper puts it (special supplement Tomorrowland - 2022): "Tomorrowland is an experience in a class of its own: a week of oversized emotions and pleasures, a sublime enchanted interlude that grabs you, comforts you and transports you, a week of unforgettable skiing and music forever engraved in every People of Tomorrow." The problem is, it seems that this enchanted "cultural" interlude is not so much for locals: more than half the clientele comes from abroad (60% in 2022, 88% in 2019).

The local cultural scene itself was aghast when a €400,000 subsidy was granted to the festival. In an attempt to calm tempers, Laurent Wauquiez, president of the region, finally explained that the €400,000 would be taken from the tourism and economy budget, not the culture budget... Now that's clear!

Democracy: citizen consultation?

One might have thought that "the world after" would be different. We might have hoped that the quest for profit would no longer be the alpha and omega of our Western societies. We might have dreamed that respect for nature, of which we are a part, and for life in all its forms, would become our new compass. And, according to the NGO Mountain Wilderness, whose French representative Vincent Neirinck is quoted in Le Dauphiné Libéré, we're not the only ones: "There's starting to be a kind of general fed-upness. The Covid crisis has brought a number of mountain values back to the fore, in particular its capacity as a refuge area". This event shows that for the People of Tomorrow, this is not the case. On the contrary, access to the Alpe d'Huez resort in 2019 was simply conditional on holding a festival pass.

Despite its much-criticized first edition, Tomorrowland seems to be just like many other industrial tourism projects trying to force their way into our mountains: the third section at La Grave, the reservoir at La Clusaz and the Lyon-Turin project, to name but a few. But the rumblings from the peaks are getting louder and louder, indignation is spreading to our valleys and the word in the streets is STOP!

Take Action

✍ Comment on Alpe d'Huez and Tomorrowland Winter social network publications to share your concern about this festival of excess in a benevolent way (#stop_tomorrowland_alpedhuez)

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Revue de presse

Édition 2024

Édition 2023

Édition 2022

Éditions 2020 et 2021

Annulées pour cause de COVID-19.

Édition 2019