Pop band The 1975 fined over Asian festival behaviour

Pop rock band The 1975 have been ordered to pay more than $A4 million in damages for allegedly breaching a contract with a Malaysian music festival.

Future Sound Asia (FSA), organisers of the Good Vibes festival, said it had received “a pre-show written assurance” that the band’s set would adhere to “all local guidelines and regulations”.

During their set at the festival Kuala Lumpur in July, frontman Matty Healy made a speech about homosexuality, which is illegal in Malaysia, and kissed bassist Ross MacDonald on stage.

FSA alleged that Healy’s “abusive language, equipment damage and indecent stage behaviour” caused the event to be cancelled.

The three-day event was axed and headliners Australian singer-songwriter The Kid Laroi and American rock band The Strokes did not play.

On Monday FSA issued a statement saying that it has issued the band with a letter of claim calling for The 1975 to “acknowledge their liability and compensate FSA for damages incurred”, though the amount was not specified.

In a further statement shared with the PA news agency on Friday, lawyers for the organisation said it was demanding PS2,099,154.54 ($A4.1 million) in damages.

“The claim against The 1975 is essentially for breach of contract,” said David Mathew, legal counsel for FSA.

“They entered into a binding contract with Future Sound Asia to perform and the position of Future Sound Asia, among others, is that this contractual obligation was breached.

“Further, Mr Healy’s representative categorically provided a pre-show written assurance that Mr Healy and The 1975’s live performance ‘shall adhere to all local guidelines and regulations’ during their set in Malaysia.

“Unfortunately, the assurance was ignored.”

Mr Matthew added: “Future Sound Asia is taking action in response to The 1975’s breach of contract.

“Their actions have had repercussions on local artists and small businesses, who relied on the festival for creative opportunities and their livelihoods.

“In this connection, Future Sound Asia wishes to move forward in a way that will give the Malaysian community affected some closure.”

The FSA previously said if the final warning is not addressed, then legal proceedings in English courts will begin.

Following the incident the Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Digital said The 1975 had been blacklisted under a body that oversees foreign artists playing in Malaysia.

The 1975 then cancelled two tour dates, at the We The Fest in Jakarta, Indonesia, and at the Taipei Music Centre in Taiwan, in Asia following the event.

Representatives for Healy have been approached for comment.

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