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Confusion reigns over Travis Scott pyramids concert

Egypt's state-affiliated Musicians Syndicate claims it has revoked the licence for the show, while the rapper and promoters forge ahead

By Lisa Henderson on 26 Jul 2023

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With just days to go until Travis Scott’s scheduled concert in front of the Pyramids of Giza, it is still unclear as to whether the livestreamed performance can take place.

The Live Nation-promoted event, set for this Friday (28 July), has been shrouded in controversy after Egypt’s state-affiliated Musicians Syndicate claimed it was cancelling the licence it issued “to ensure the safety and protection of the audience”.

On 18 July, the Musicians Syndicate said the sold-out concert, scheduled to take place in the Sound and Light area near the pyramid complex, would not be permitted due to “the artist’s positions, images and documented information on the strange rituals he practises, which go against our traditions”.

“The artist’s positions, images and documented information on the strange rituals he practises go against our traditions”

“While the Musicians Syndicate has welcomed various art forms and concerts in recent months, it has set conditions and regulations to safeguard the customs and traditions inherited by the Egyptian people,” said Dr Mohamed Abdullah, in a statement on behalf of the Musicians Syndicate.

“After examining social media opinions and feedback, as well as the news circulating on search engines and social media platforms, which included authenticated images and information about peculiar rituals performed by the star during his performance, contradicting our authentic societal values and traditions, the syndicate’s president and board of directors have decided to cancel the licence issued for hosting this type of concert, which goes against the cultural identity of the Egyptian people.”

Scott hit back in an open letter, saying that such images and information were “bot generated” and “fake information”.

Later that day, Live Nation Middle East maintained that the concert, in support of Scott’s forthcoming album Utopia, was going ahead: “There have been no changes to Travis Scott’s show in Egypt, any reports to the contrary are false. We can’t wait to celebrate Utopia with you in Egypt!”

Confusion deepened when local promoter and ticketer for the concert, Ticketsmarche, days later said Scott’s equipment was seized and the organisers were prevented from entering the pyramids area.

The company’s CEO Mohamed Serag told local media at the time that the concert’s fate was unknown. “We do not know what we will do, especially if the last date for the equipment to enter was Wednesday. However, nothing new has happened given that most state institutions are on official leave until Sunday.

“We have all the permits and we do not know the reason for preventing the entry of the equipment, especially since the Egyptian Musicians Syndicate does not have the authority to cancel the concert, nor does it have the power to prevent the entry of the equipment. It also made it clear that the whole matter is in the hands of the authorities.”

Serag said that the size of the initial losses of cancelling the concert would amount to approximately LE 300 million (€8.7m)

Serag told the Egypt Independent that the size of the initial losses of cancelling the concert would amount to approximately LE 300 million (€8.7m).

However, Serag remains hopeful the Tourism Ministry will give the concert the green light, and Scott has continued to promote the concert on his social media channels. “Love ya more can’t wait to see ya in Utopia,” he tweeted nine hours ago.

If the concert goes ahead it would be broadcast live to about 200 million people, which would be an unprecedented promotion for the pyramids area and Egyptian tourism, said Serag.

He added that about 4,000 confirmed tickets have been booked by foreigners coming, each of whom will stay for at least a week, which means 28,000 nights in Egyptian hotels, all of which will be in foreign currency, which could constitute great profits for the tourism sector in Egypt.

The Ticketsmarche CEO also said his company has agreed on 10 concerts with renowned international artists in Egypt for the coming months but says they are unlikely to take place if Scott’s concert is cancelled.

Days ago, it was announced that Palm Tree Music Festival, founded by Norwegian producer Kygo and his manager Myles Shear, will be exported to the Pyramids. Other acts that have previously performed at the location include Maroon 5 (2022), Black Eyed Peas (2021) and Red Hot Chili Peppers (2019).


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