The Good Vibes Festival, which was due to run from 21 to 23 July 2023, included over 50 local and international music acts, as well as the blood, sweat, desires and hard work of many more people (festival organisers, production, technical, logistics and event management teams).
Thousands of local music lovers and tourists had also travelled to Malaysia specifically to attend the festival.
The decision to cancel an entire festival based on one band’s actions is extremely heavy-handed and reactionary.
This follows a dangerous recent trend in Malaysia of authorities shutting down longstanding arts and cultural venues and events based on the actions of individuals in extremely isolated cases – actions which hijack the given platform and do not reflect what these venues and events mean to Malaysians.
It is unjust to penalise the many musicians, cultural workers, event suppliers and audiences who were committed to working at and attending the Good Vibes Festival, and to make them pay – literally – for the actions of an individual or one band. Bak kata, sebab nila setitik, rosak susu sebelanga.
Ultimately, this is destructive to the arts, cultural, creative, entertainment, and tourism ecosystems in Malaysia. It denies audiences the right to appreciate, enjoy and participate in the intrinsic value of music, live performance and the arts.
It directly and negatively affects the livelihood and work of already vulnerable cultural workers in Malaysia. It sends the wrong signals to regional and international visitors and investors. It contradicts the concept of “Malaysia Madani” (Civil Malaysia). It panders to and empowers the reactionary right-wing.
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We strongly disagree with the minister’s decision, and call on him and this current government to halt this dangerous precedent – where one ‘spontaneous’ act or behaviour is now used to justify the closing down of events and venues. – Five Arts Centre