Festivals, Indie / Alternative, Pop — May 25, 2016 at 10:24 pm

Could Good Vibes Festival bring Malaysia’s festival scene back from the dead?


It’s getting tough to keep up with all the amazing festivals occurring across Asia. From large scale EDM festivals like Singapore’s Zouk Out, to major international music festivals like Hong Kong’s Clockenflap (have you seen this year’s lineup?!), Singapore’s Neon Lights and Thailand’s Wonderfruit, it’s a glorious time to be alive for music fans in the region. Unless, of course, you’re from Malaysia.



For a country with such an appetite for music, there has been very, very little to be excited about in Malaysia’s scene. Where there was once a stream of international talent coming into the country, it has now slowed to a trickle.


In order to understand how things got to this point, it’s important to take a look back at how we go to this point and it’s easy to see a pattern. The government’s last minute cancellation of permits to perform for ‘blasphemous’ heavy metal band, Lamb of God and police swooping in to shut down Future Music Festival 2014 on the back of a slew of drug related deaths has affected the scene. Increasingly, promoters and organizers are eyeing ‘safer’ operating environments in neighbouring territories rather than Taking on the risks associated with large scale shows when the police or government can instantly undo months of work and huge capital investment.


It’s an understandable position. In order for a concert to go ahead, there’a a whole lot of money that goes into making it happen. Venues need to be booked, deposits paid on sound equipment, artists deposits are required, flights and accommodation is organized, and marketing and PR activities are undertaken; and this is all before a single ticket has been sold. When last minute cancellations occur, it can mean financial ruin for the organizers so it’s easy to see why they are looking at less risky propositions like Livescape’s all ages friendly Electric Run or putting on events outside the country.



Ellie Goulding performs at Good Vibes 2014


It’s not just the bottom line of the organizers that has led to the current dearth of options in the country though. Consumer confidence in the ability of organizers to pull off shows was further eroded when Soulfest Asia cancelled their October 2015 event just days before it was supposed to run. Angry ticket holders were still taking to Facebook in January, venting their frustrations after refunds had still not been issued. Since then Soulfest has quietly limped into inexistence and the domain is now a Japanese medical website.



With such difficult operating environments for organizers, it’s easy to see why the past two years have not been a  great time to be a music fan in Kuala Lumpur. With the exception of the world-class Rainforest Music Festival, there hasn’t been anywhere near the amount of international talent coming to the country as other cities in the region have seen. In the past six months Manila has welcomed Kanye West at Paradise International Music Festival, Taylor Swift blew the roof off Singapore Indoor Stadium and Madonna toured right across the region. Everywhere, it seems, except Kuala Lumpur. It would be easy to discount these as one-offs but the frequency of omission of Kuala Lumpur from the international touring circuit is surely more than just a coincidence.


Good Vibes 2013 (credit: All is amazing)

It is for these reasons that the announcement of Good Vibes, and the stellar lineup that they’ve assembled for the event is so significant. After a brief hiatus in 2015, Future Sounds are bringing the much loved festival to a new venue at The Ranch @ Gohtong Jaya in Genting Highlands in August. They’ve played with the format too, turning the event into a two day affair with a bigger and better lineup than they’ve ever assembled.


Whilst the lineup was looking solid already, UK electronic production duo Disclosure have just been added to the bill for a DJ set. Add Manchester’s exhilarating  electro-pop maestros The 1975, Irish indie chart favourites Two Door Cinema Club and The Temper Trap – all of a sudden you’re looking at a lineup that could stand its own anywhere in the world. 

Joining the aforementioned powerhouses are Canadian dream-pop duo Purity Ring, Australia’s own beatmaker and renaissance man Ta-Ku and producer and remix wizard Ryan Hemsworth.

Local support includes Enterprise , Froya, Jumero, Juno and Hanna,  Seven Collar T-shirt , Ampangites The Fridays, and Edwin from They Will Kill Us All’s new rock and roll outfit Toko Kilat.



Good Vibes 2013 (credit: All is amazing)

The lineup is killer, the new venue looks amazing and the amount of people blowing up social media about the event shows how much appetite there is for a festival of this scale. There will be many eyes on Good Vibes, both at the event itself and within the industry as a whole, but the future of Malaysia’s concert scene is looking rosier already.


Good Vibes Festival

When: 12 & 13 August 2016
Where: The Ranch at Gohtong Jaya, Genting Highlands.
Tickets: from RM300 via Boxtix