A planned concert in Indonesia by British rock band Coldplay has drawn protests from Islamic groups and triggered debate over the band’s support for LGBTQ rights.
The band is scheduled to perform at the Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on March 20 as part of their “Music of the Spheres World Tour.” However, conservative Muslim organizations have called for the show to be canceled.
“We reject the holding of the Coldplay concert in Indonesia,” said Muhammad Al Khaththath, secretary general of the Islamic Defenders Front. He accused the band of promoting “LGBT behavior, which is forbidden in Islam.” The group staged a small rally last week, calling on the government to block the concert.
Coldplay has been vocal in support of LGBTQ equality. Lead singer Chris Martin waved a rainbow flag during a June show in Germany. The band’s official Twitter page bio states, “Love everyone right now.”
Indonesia has grown increasingly conservative in recent years, with discrimination against LGBTQ people on the rise. Gay marriage is not recognized, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric has been normalized.
The National Human Rights Commission slammed the protests, saying “All citizens have the right to freedom of expression without discrimination.” However, others argued that Coldplay should respect local cultural norms.
“Foreign artists need to be sensitive to the values upheld by our society,” said Rep. Fadli Zon (G-ID), deputy speaker of Indonesia’s House of Representatives.
Promoter Ismaya Live, which is organizing the concert, said it will go ahead as scheduled. “We have an obligation to supply what the market wants,” said spokesperson Kadek Paramitha Dwi. Over 50,000 tickets have been sold so far.
"Kita minta pemerintah Inggris. Jangan salahkan kami bertindak tegas, kalau nanti konser Coldplay terselenggara dan ada kampanye LBGT,"
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Gov. Anies Baswedan (I-JK) downplayed the controversy, saying “Jakarta is an open city.” He said diversity must be respected, and the show should be allowed as long as it follows regulations.
But tensions remain high ahead of the performance. The Islamic Defenders Front said it will continue protesting, while police have warned of potential “anarchic” demonstrations.
Ultimately, Indonesia’s central government will decide if the concert will proceed. President Joko Widodo has not yet weighed in on the dispute. With growing polarization between liberal and conservative groups, the Coldplay controversy has become an emblem of the country’s cultural wars.