Islamic mob closes down music concert in Aceh over promotional poster

Detik News – July 8, 2019
Offending Base Jam promotional poster for the Aceh Culinary Festival (Kaskus)
Offending Base Jam promotional poster for the Aceh Culinary Festival (Kaskus)

Agus Setyadi, Banda Aceh – A Base Jam concert on the closing night of the 2019 Aceh Culinary Festival (ACF) has been closed down by a hardline Islamic group. The band, which gained fame through hit songs such as Not Pujangga, decided to leave the stage after the third song.

The music group, which was formed in 1994, was invited to Aceh to enliven the closing night of the festival being held at the Ratu Safiatuddin Park in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh on Sunday July 7.

The group opposing the Base Jam concert, which arrived at the beginning of the event, waited until Base Jam arrived at the festival.

After the closing event was over, at around 11 pm Base Jam began to entertain their fans in Tanah Rencong as Aceh is known. Men and women in the audience were separated throughout the concert.

After the band finished the first song, the group demanded that the concert be stopped and began negotiating with the organising committee. On the stage, Base Jam continued with the song Not Pujangga.

As they began the third song however, the protests became more intense with the mob approaching the audio mixer and demanding that the sound system be turned off. A scuffle broke out as people began pushing and shoving each other.

The organising committee eventually decided to turn off the audio mixer and the concert was halted, after which the Base Jam personnel left the stage.

“Thank you for your support and this opportunity [to play], Aceh. We’re sorry if there were some who were displeased and our play list couldn’t be played in full. Hopefully it will be more congenial at the next event”, wrote Base Jam on their Instagram account.

Objections to the Base Jam concert began to be raised two days earlier. The trigger for the protests was the ACF poster design for the band which pictured the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque in Banda Aceh below the band members.

Several days earlier a meeting was held between the head of the Aceh Tourism and Culture Office (Disbudpar), Jamaluddin, and the group Ahlussunah Waljamaah (Aswaja, a strand of Islam that strictly follows the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad).

In a press release received by on Saturday July 6, the Aswaja team said that during the meeting they asked that Base Jam not be allowed to appear on the ACF’s closing night. They asked that the band only endorse and promote Acehnese cooking nationally and overseas.

In addition to this, the meeting also discussed the poster design. The poster was designed by Indonesian Persona Generation (GenPI) under the authority of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (Kemenpar), not the Aceh Disbudpar.

“And because of this, the Aceh Disbudpar asked that the content be withdrawn, the Kemenpar has already apologised for the kekhilafan (flaw, defect) of their [design] team”, said Aceh Aswaja team chairperson ustad [Islamic cleric] Umar Rafsanjani in the press release. (agse/idn)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Konser Base Jam di Festival Kuliner Aceh Dibubarkan Sekelompok Massa”.]