Dance / Electro, Events, News — February 4, 2015 at 7:25 pm

‘Sexy Activities’ Lead To Cancellation Of KaZantip Music Festival in Cambodia


The organizers of popular Eastern European music festival KaZantip just can’t seem to catch a break. The festival, which has already had to shift location twice in the past two years, was due to be held in Cambodia for the first time, but local tourism officials are pulling the plug before the event even begins due to the festivals corrupting influence on Cambodian “tradition, culture and youth”.


Due to be held on 18-28 February, KaZantip has featured a who’s who of the electronic music world including acts like Dubfire, Ricardo Villalobos, Tale Of Us, James Zabiela, Adriatique, Seth Troxler, Lee Burridge and more. The event has been running since 1993 and was organized to be held on Koh Puos Island in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, describing itself as “an imaginary place where you can escape for a limited time during your summer holidays from the problems and limitations of the real world while listening to great music form hundredths (sic) of talented DJ’s.” Around 3000 revellers were expected to descend on the privately owned island, brimming with seaside villas, shops, restaurants and beautiful beaches. Previously the event was always held in the Crimean peninsula but due to regional conflicts between Russia and the Ukraine, the festival was moved to Anaklia, Georgia in 2014.

It now appears that KaZantip has had the rug pulled out from underneath it again with the Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Chhit Sokhom stating on Monday that he has cancelled the notoriously raucous festival, citing concerns over “sexy activities” as the reason for pulling the event. The trouble began when promoters uploaded a video of foreigners riding a motorbike naked through Kandal province, which led to public outcry and then led to the arrest and subsequent deportation of the cyclists and their cameraman. This was shortly followed by photos of a topless model posing in a temple in Siem Reap, and by the more recent nude photos of three French men at Banteay Kdei temple.


When Minister of Tourism Thong Khon saw some of the videos of previous KaZantip festivals on the web he stepped in to take action. “Cambodia does not have a policy to encourage indecent cultures; tourism in the country is [to promote] culture and nature,” Khon said. “We do not support the naked dance, because it affects the national culture, the concert cannot be held; we do not permit [it].”


The festival, which labels itself “a republic” and boasts its own “constitution,” were initially given approval by authorities on January 30, said Mr. Sokhom but he admits that it may have been premature. “We have seen through social networks that this festival has a lot of sexy activities including sexy dancing, having sex in public and gambling,” said Mr. Sokhom. “We decided to ban the festival because it could affect our tradition, culture and our youth,” he went on to say.


The last minute cancellation of the event is sure to affect the thousands of people who have already booked flights and accommodation in nearby Sihanoukville leaving hotels that were previously overflowing with reservations now facing cancellations and empty rooms. But firstly, guests need to be informed of the cancellation – at this point the outdated website still makes reference to their previous festival in 2014 and there has been no public announcement made by festival organizers that the event will not be running. Short of a last minute reversal of decision by Cambodian authorities, it looks like there’ll need to be yet another relocation for KaZantip or a whole lot of disappointed party goers.