US pop singer Lady Gaga has received the dubious honor of becoming the first foreign artist to be denied a concert permit by Indonesian authorities.
Despite the long string of concert cancellations over safety concerns, Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that his force’s decision not to recommend that the National Police issue a permit for Gaga’s concert was a first.
Gaga was scheduled to hold a concert at Bung Karno Main Stadium in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on June 3. The gig could be one of the first stops on Lady Gaga’s world tour, titled “The Born This Way Ball”, slated to run from April to October.
“We haven’t done a similar thing before,” Rikwanto said in a text message to The Jakarta Post.
Earlier, National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Saud Usman Nasution said that his office had denied the concert after receiving recommendation from the Jakarta Police, along with hearing objections from various groups.
Lady Gaga, who is well-known for her controversial fashion choices, has sparked strong opposition from groups such as the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), notorious hard-line group Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and the United Development Party (PPP).
The PPP is an Islamic party holding 38 seats from a total of 560 at the House of Representatives.
Over the years, several foreign performers have cancelled their scheduled concerts in Indonesia for various reasons, but not one of them was banned by law enforcement agencies.
On May 1, US heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold cancelled a concert at the last minute, blaming the promoter for not ensuring the safety of the stage at Karnaval Beach in Ancol, North Jakarta, as they had demanded.
Last year, on Nov. 26, the failure of local organizer Starlight Management to meet Korean band CN Blue's demands, including over ticket sales, triggered the group’s management to call off their scheduled performance.
US glam metal band Motley Crue canceled their concert in Jakarta last October. Concert promoter Mlive Music claimed that provocative comments on Twitter had prompted the band’s decision.
In 2009, US hip-hop group N.E.R.D (No One Ever Really Dies) cancelled their March 22 Jakarta concert following an unpleasant experience in Malaysia, where local authorities held band members’ passports.
The group reportedly still performed in Kuala Lumpur, even though the local promoter’s request for a permit to hold a show in the country had been rejected by the authorities.
While the law enforcement agencies did not stop the show, group members were detained and their passports were held immediately after the show was over.
American singer Rihanna also pulled out of her planned gig in Jakarta scheduled for Feb. 12, 2009, after having a violent row with her then boyfriend, R&B star Chris Brown. Rihanna had also been scheduled to perform in Jakarta on Nov. 14, 2008, but she called off the show over security fears after the Australian government issued a travel warning for Indonesia following the executions of the three Bali bombers.
In 2008, Rappers 50 Cent and Akon also cancelled their planned performances. (asa)