Malaysia's Good Vibes Festival Cancelled After Matty Healy Kisses His 1975 Bandmate on Stage

Homosexuality is outlawed in Malaysia, with potential prison sentences of up to 20 years

Photo: Markus Hillgärtner

BY Kaelen BellPublished Jul 24, 2023

Matty Healy likes to do stupid shit while performing, but his most recent on-stage antic, at the very least, was well-intentioned — while performing with the 1975 at Malaysia's Good Vibes Festival (an ironic name, to say the least), Healy kissed his bandmate Ross MacDonald in protest of Malaysia's strict anti-homosexuality laws.

In response to the 20-second kiss and comments made by Healy — "fucking ridiculous to tell people what they can do with that and that," he said, gesturing to his crotch. "If you want to invite me here to do a show, you can fuck off. I'll take your money, you can ban me, but I've done this before and it doesn't feel good, and I'm fucked off" — festival organizers cut the band's set short. Malaysian authorities then went on to cancel the festival's remaining two days. 

Malaysia's Ministry of Communications and Digital officially cancelled the festival the following afternoon (July 22), and the 1975 subsequently cancelled their two upcoming Asian dates: their headlining slot at We the Fest in Jakarta, Indonesia, and a standalone concert in Taipei, Taiwan. 

In a statement shared by We the Fest, the 1975 said, "The band never takes the decision to cancel a show lightly and had been eagerly looking forward to playing for fans in Jakarta and Taipei but unfortunately, due to current circumstances, it is impossible to proceed with the scheduled shows."

Homosexuality is outlawed in Malaysia, with potential prison sentences of up to 20 years. 

While by all accounts well-intentioned, Healy's protest ultimately cost Malaysian music lovers (many of them likely queer) their festival. And, as reported by Billboard, event organizer Future Sounds Asia said in a statement that it fears the cancellation "will erode the confidence of music promoters and various stakeholders in the live entertainment industry across the nation and threaten the stability of our burgeoning live arts scene." 

Latest Coverage