It was a huge setback for the KL Urban Music and Art Festival when Sepang authorities revoked its event permit one week before the actual event
The music event, dubbed "Malaysia's Largest Local Music Festival" because of its fully homegrown line-up, was scheduled to take place on 2 April 2016 at the Sepang International Circuit
Also known as EDM Rockstar, the annual event has been organised by local events organiser Tower Rocks since 2013. Last year's edition, which was held in KL Tower, pulled in more than 7,000 in attendance.
As of 18 March, Tower Rocks announced that 80% of tickets for the 2016 show have been sold.
It all began with one man's campaign to have the event cancelled.
Eddy Casmady, a political activist and member of BANGKIT, posted several missives demanding the cancellation of the event, saying that it will contribute to the moral decline of the Malay community
To promote his cause, Eddy cited issues such as drug and alcohol, fraternisation between sexes, Western liberalism, and even homosexuality as social ills that often happen at events like these. See all his posts here.
Suffice to say, he has been getting quite a lot of flack from his Facebook followers with some remarking that he should push to close nightclubs, gambling dens, and even beer factories in Selangor if he is so concerned about society losing its grip on moral values.
Inspired by Eddy's spirited campaign, a group of men - spearheaded by the UMNO Youth Chief from the Sepang division - filed a police report against the music festival on 23 March...
... Which led to the authorities' decision to invalidate the event permit, which was already approved two weeks before the police report was filed!
The letter said, "We regret to inform that we have to revoke the approval in regards to your application [for an entertainment permit] with immediate effect based on safety and racial concerns."
As expected, the organisers are pretty shocked by the sudden turn of events. According to Mohd Izwan, who is part of the organising team, authorities had no issue with the event when they applied for a permit.
According to Izwan, they have adhered to all the requirements for hosting an outdoor music festival and had even met up with the Sepang Municipal Council to explain the nature of the event.
Both the police and municipal council did not object to their permit request, hence the organisers were confident that there was no problem with the event... until they were told to come to the police station on 23 March.
“I went down to meet them at the police station. Without even giving me the opportunity to talk about our event, they issued me a letter that had already been signed in regards of revoking our permit,” Izwan told Pulse Radio, adding that the police also informed him about a police report filed in protest of the event.
Izwan also said that the permit was revoked based on false allegations made in the police report and the lack of proper investigation. This is in spite of their good track record in the past three years of organising the event.
“I don’t know how the police carry out their investigations, especially we have had a good track record for the past three years. How is the fourth one different? We have gone through the same procedures as we did before,” he told Pulse Radio.
“So basically, they revoked our permit based on assumptions and false allegations posed by the NGO without bothering to do any proper investigation.”
Stressing that their intention has always been about promoting local artists and entrepreneurs, Izwan hits out at the UMNO Youth chief's allegations that the festival promotes alcohol consumption among Muslims, saying that the festival has never sold alcoholic beverages in past events and has no intention to start doing so.
Now, for the good news. The permit only disallows the organisers to host the festival at Sepang International Circuit.
At the time of writing, it has been announced that the event will be held at the semi-indoor StarXpo Centre, Kenanga Wholesale City (KWC), Kuala Lumpur.