WATAIN‘s concert in Singapore has been canceled over concerns about the Swedish black metal band’s history of “denigrating religions and promoting violence.”
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) released a statement today saying it had earlier allowed the show — which was due to be held at EBX Live Space — to take place with a rating of Restricted 18 (R18). However, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) determined that the performance should not go ahead.
“Given the band’s history, IMDA imposed further stringent requirements including the removal of songs which are religiously offensive, that the band cannot make references to religion or use religious symbols and that no ritualistic acts are performed on stage,” IMDA said in the statement.
“MHA has expressed serious concerns about the concert, given the band’s history of denigrating religions and promoting violence, which has potential to cause enmity and disrupt Singapore’s social harmony.
“MHA has therefore asked IMDA to consider cancelling the concert for reasons of public order, and IMDA has agreed.”
One of the concert organizers told Channel NewsAsia he was expecting a crowd of about 150. It cost between S$15,000 (approximately $11,000 USD) and S$20,000 (approximately $14,700) to bring the band to Singapore.
“Everything was fine, we followed the rules and protocol,” he said. “We had everything solid and because certain things happened, it was canceled.”
Singapore home affairs minister K. Shanmugam explained to reporters why authorities canceled the WATAIN concert just hours before the group was due to perform.
“Over the last few days, there were a lot of concerns expressed,” he said (see video below). “And if you look at the band, they do have a history — very offensive towards Christians, Jews, supportive of violence, including encouraging the burning of churches. They have even said they encourage any terrorist act in the name of the band and various other statements which are quite offensive.”