Indonesia: West Aceh bans outdoor concerts

11 April 2016

ady bergek
The regency of West Aceh has banned all outdoor concerts based on a recommendation from a group of Muslim scholars trained in Shari’a law, reported The Sydney Morning Herald on 7 April 2016.

Ulema, the body of scholars, believed that outdoor concerts had “more disadvantages than advantages”, leading West Aceh regent Teuku Alaidinsyah to no longer issue permits for music concerts. However, Alaidinsyah did say that small music events in cafes would still be permitted.

The ban comes after local pop star Ady Bergek was told his concert on 3 April 2016 was cancelled due to it violating Shari’a law. Promoters and organisers of the concert said the cancellation cost them a loss of 80 million Rupiah (about $6,100 USD).

“West Aceh’s ban on concerts is unfortunately, a depressing and sad continuation of the area’s lack of understanding of artistic freedom expression. We’ve been seeing it with the punk scene in the province and now with all music in general,” Freemuse executive director Ole Reitov said. “State bodies are not only denying artists the ability to express themselves musically, but are also depriving their society of enjoying the beauty of art produced by their very own people.

A strained relationship
Indonesia’s Aceh province, located at the northern end of Sumatra, has had a tenuous relationship with music and is the only province in the country that enforces Shari’a law. According to latest census results the province is populated by more than 98% people who define themselves as Muslim.

Aceh’s most notorious clash with music comes in the form of its capital Banda Aceh’s relationship with the punk scene. In 2011 a group of 64 punks were picked up during a concert and sent to schools to be “re-educated” with proper morals. Their heads were also shaved to rid them of their mohawks and other hairstyles that didn’t fit social norms.

» For more on Aceh’s punk scene read Freemuse’s in-depth INSIGHT story here:
Indonesia: Punk music and Shari’a law

Photo taken from YouTube footage of an Ady Bergek concert in the Aceh province from March 2016


» The Sydney Morning Herald – 7 April 2016:
Ban on outdoor music concerts in West Aceh due to Sharia law

» Kompas – 5 April 2016:
West Aceh regent bans music concerts

» Coconuts Jakarta – 5 April 2016:
West Aceh regency bans music concerts following advice from clerics

Related information

» – 12 January 2016:
Indonesia: Punk documentary released worldwide

» – 12 June 2015:
Indonesia: Punk music and Shari’a law

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