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Good Vibes Festival’s cancellation sends Shockwaves through Malaysia’s entertainment scene

The abrupt cancellation of Good Vibe Festivals (GVF) significantly affected artists’ and concertgoers’ trust in Malaysia’s entertainment industry.

Livescape Group’s CEO cautioned that this incident might discourage international artists and have far-reaching implications for organizers, fans, sponsors, and the government.



MALAYSIA: The cancellation of Good Vibe Festivals (GVF) last Saturday (22 July) rattled artists’ and concertgoers’ confidence in the local entertainment industry.

Last week, The 1975 had their performance at the Good Vibes Festival (GVF) 2023 cut short after Healy criticised Malaysia’s anti-LGBT (lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender) laws before proceeding to kiss his male bandmate on stage.

Following the incident, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil ordered an immediate cancellation of the festival.

Livescape Group CEO Iqbal Ameer said shutting down the three-day event solely because of one act on Friday night will now make concerts in Malaysia significantly less attractive to international artists.

“Event organisers will now have to think 10 times about whether to get a music festival up and running. Why would anybody want to take a risk?”

“It will be the same for artists, sponsors, fans, tourists, food vendors, and the government, who will now think several times before granting approvals,” he told Free Malaysia Today (FMT).

Iqbal urged the entire entertainment industry in Malaysia to rally behind the approximately 100 live events scheduled between now and December, proving that one individual’s actions should not overshadow the whole industry.

The incident at GVF involving The 1975’s lead singer, Matty Healy, criticizing Malaysia’s stance on LGBT and his subsequent actions, sparked widespread condemnation and led to the cancellation of performances in Jakarta and Taiwan.

Is Good Vibes Festivals a scapegoat?

Ben Law, the founder and director of Future Sound Asia (FSA), the organizers of GVF, expressed grave concern that the actions of a single individual have posed an “unprecedented threat” to the decade-long event.

Law referred to the incident as a “catastrophic financial blow” for FSA and highlighted that its impact would extend beyond their company, affecting the entire industry.

“I think the industry has to unite and show that we can continue doing this,” he said.

Wan Alman Ariffin, FSA head of entertainment at FSA said it took a long time for GVF to shut Healy down due to the band’s tour manager hesitation.

He claimed they told The 1975’s manager to get Healy to stop but the manager seemed hesitant.

“We told them ‘This has to stop, you have to stop Matt Healy, have to stop the band from doing this’,” Wan Alman said.

When it looked like the manager was not going to tell the band to stop, the organisers along with the authorities had to stop the show.

FSA should not have been penalised

Another industry insider and lawyer, David Gurupatham, said the general consensus among industry players was that FSA should not have been penalised by being forced to shut down the concert.

Instead, Gurupatham said, the festival should have been allowed to carry on with assurances that such incidents would not happen again.

Gurupatham also suggested that The 1975 might have breached its contract by failing to abide by performance guidelines, including those which require the band to avoid touching on sensitive issues.

“Millions have been lost in ticket sales, food sales and hotel bookings because of this irresponsible behaviour by one artiste,” said Gurupatham, the co-founder of trade group coalition Industries Unite.

Meanwhile, FSA is mulling legal action against Healy following the fiasco at GVF.

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