The 2021 Events Worth Saving Your Annual Leave For

The 2021 Events Worth Saving Your Annual Leave For

2020 is shaping up to be a year of limited events. In an effort to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, major sporting events as well as music, arts and cultural festivals around the world have been forced to cancel or postpone.

However, in light of the situation, many events have stated they're returning next year – and no doubt, with a bang.

You might be holding onto your annual leave now, but in 2021, these are must-attend events to put those precious holidays toward.


1. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo

Although much fanfare was made over the eight new venues, including Kengo Kuma's timber Olympic Stadium, originally slated to host activities throughout the summer games, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will now take place in summer of 2021. The regular games will now be held from July 23, 2021, through August 8. Similarly, the Paralympics will now take place from August 24, 2021, through September 5. As it's been noted, this leaves only six months between the end of the summer games and the start of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on February 4, 2022.

The Tokyo Olympics have already radically changed the city, and the reorganization went far beyond the construction of new stadiums. As Atelier Bow Wow documented at Manhattan's Japan Society last year in Made in Tokyo: Architecture and Living, 1964/2020, the capital flowing into the city primed it for a mass redevelopment, much as it did during the 1964 Summer Olympics. Everything from housing to transportation has been affected, but for international travelers, it may be quite some time before you can see that shift firsthand.


2. Salone del Mobile.Milano

Salone del Mobile in Milan—the world's largest furniture trade show—was originally pushed from April 2020 to June, but last week news broke that the show will take place in April of 2021 instead. Citing “medium-term uncertainties” at a time when Milan is still under lockdown (although Italy's weekly death toll is reportedly dropping due to the strict distancing measures imposed by the government), Salone's organizers emphasized that a 2021 show would be extra special, given that it would be the 60th anniversary. The show will now overlap with several other trade festivals under the Covid-19 restrictions.


3. Tomorrowland Winter, France

Europe in summer is what bucket lists are made of. There are island beaches aplenty and festivals around every corner. However, for something a little left-of-centre, try it in winter.

You can enjoy ice skating, Christmas markets and winter music festivals. One of the best is the winter edition of Tomorrowland, which runs at the end of ski season in March.

Held in the French Alps, it's an indoor affair that was set to feature Armin Van Buuren and Steve Aoki in 2020. It's been cancelled for the year but is sure to make your friends jealous in 2021 if you go.


4. Expo 2020 Dubai

While the much-hyped Expo 2020 Dubai, a worldwide showcase for innovative design, is still technically scheduled to open on October 20, 2020, that may soon change. Three days ago, the festival's organizers gathered for a conference call and recommended that the expo be delayed for a year.

"The UAE and Expo 2020 Dubai have listened. And in the spirit of solidarity and unity, we supported the proposal to explore a one-year postponement at today's Steering Committee meeting," said Reem al-Hashimy, director general for Expo 2020 Dubai. According to Aljazeera, the United Arab Emirates has already spent upwards of $8 billion on infrastructure projects related to the expo, but with international travel currently locked down, it's looking increasingly unlikely the event can proceed as planned. Elements of the show have already been partially installed, such as Asif Khan's 70-foot-tall trio of entrance gateways.

Photo of a large, barn-shaped freestanding lattice for Expo 2020
The 70-foot-tall structures will welcome visitors to the expo’s three districts. (Hélène Binet/Courtesy Expo 2020)

The final decision of whether to postpone or not will come in June, at the behest of Paris’s Bureau International des Expositions, who administers the international expo.




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