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Future Sound Asia threatens 1975 with legal letter

The Malaysian promoter is demanding the band "acknowledge their liability and provide compensation" for GVF2023's cancellation

By James Hanley on 07 Aug 2023

The 1975 are represented by Matt Bates, Primary Talent, worldwide

The 1975

The promoter of Malaysia’s ill-fated 2023 Good Vibes Festival (GVF) has threatened The 1975 with legal action over the event’s cancellation.

The ministry of communications and digital issued an “immediate cancellation directive” to promoter Future Sound Asia (FSA) in response to the actions of the band’s frontman Matty Healy’s actions during their aborted 21 July headline set.

Criticising Malaysia’s strict anti-LGBT laws (homosexuality is a crime in the country), Healy told the festival crowd: “I made a mistake. When we were booking shows, I wasn’t looking into it. I don’t see the fucking point, right, I do not see the point of inviting The 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with.”

After kissing bassist Ross MacDonald on the mouth, Healy then added: “I am sorry if that offends you and you’re religious and it’s part of your fucking government, but your government are a bunch of fucking retards and I don’t care anymore.”

The 1975’s slot was subsequently cut short after 30 minutes and the remaining two days of the festival axed.

It was revealed today (7 August) that FSA, which described the cancellation as “a catastrophic financial blow”, has served the UK band with a letter of claim – demanding the group “acknowledge their liability and provide compensation to FSA for the damages incurred”, warning that “failure to comply will lead to FSA pursuing legal action in the courts of England”.

“FSA would like to reiterate their strong disapproval of the band’s behaviour during their performance at GVF”

“FSA would like to reiterate their strong disapproval of the band’s behaviour during their performance at GVF2023,” says a statement by the firm. “In particular, lead singer Matthew Timothy Healy’s use of abusive language, equipment damage, and indecent stage behaviour not only flagrantly breached local guidelines and Malaysian laws but also tarnished the reputation of the 10-year-old festival.”

Representatives for The 1975, who previously played GVF in 2016, have declined to comment, but Healy appeared to make light of the controversy during the group’s Lollapalooza headline slot in Chicago on Friday (4 August), telling the audience: “You want my travel tip? Don’t go to…”

In a press conference held late last month, FSA founder Ben Law said GVF was curtailed due to Healy’s “unruly conduct, which included the use of abusive or provocative language, destroying equipment and engaging in an indecent act on stage”.

“He blatantly contravened local performance guidelines and violated our country’s laws and regulations,” said Law. “We do not accept or condone such behaviour, and Matty Healy’s conduct deserves to be condemned. His display has left a trail of consequences for Malaysians. This incident was isolated and unforeseen, and contrary to the agreement we have with the band.

“Every artist, local or international, that we contract undergoes a clear discussion regarding these guidelines. We had The 1975’s management team assurance that they would adhere to local laws and regulations — in writing. We even further reiterated it with the tour manager prior to their performance.”

GVF’s 10th anniversary edition was scheduled to run at Sepang International Circuit from 21-23 July and feature performances by the likes of The Strokes, The Kid Laroi and Dermot Kennedy. The controversy has reportedly led Sepang Municipal Council to rule that only local artists will be permitted to perform in the district “for the time being”.

The 1975 could also face a class action lawsuit from Malaysian artists and vendors.


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