After hosting Island Music Festival since 2013, the Terengganu government announced today that they would be canceling 2018’s upcoming edition. The event was to be held on the picturesque Redang Island between October 12 to 14.
State government has said that while previously the Ministry of Tourism and Culture had OK’d the festival, local officials did not approve of the event. They offered little explanation as why it was the festival’s sixth-year running, and only now were they taking organizer’s paperwork to task.
A recent promotional video posted by festival organizers, RedTix, a subsidiary of Air Asia, showed concert goers participating in football, volleyball and yoga, but also dedicated a fair amount of time to capturing bikini-clad women on the beach and scenes associated with EDM music, two sensitive topics for the conservative state government.
Comments on the video included flack from PAS-supporting netizens condemning the scenes, as well as general bewilderment that a conservative, PAS state government would allow for such an event to take place.
Many netizens praised the decision to quash concert-goers plans less than two weeks before the event.
Earlier today, journalists received a WhatsApp from state authorities outlining 11 rules that event organizers had to follow, should they want to put on shows in the state.
Among the regulations was ensuring that men and women would be separate in both the audience, as well as on stage. Another rule states that live performances are only to be performed by male singers, and dancers. Women may only perform for other women, and can only do so behind closed doors.
“Excessive mixing” between male and female performers on stage is not allowed; however, children’s shows are not beholden to the gender separation rules.
Another stipulated rule is that attendees of different genders who are not kin cannot mix freely with each other.
Terengganu has experienced a marked shift towards a more conservative stance, with the state most recently grabbing international headlines, and condemnation, after Sharia Courts decided to cane two women over attempted lesbian sex.