The Egyptian Syndicate of Musical Professions has canceled a permit for Travis Scott’s end-of-the-month concert at the Pyramids of Giza, citing claims that the hip-hop star’s show would “contradict the identity of the Egyptian people.” The decision comes on the heels of unsubstantiated claims that the “Sicko Mode” rapper promotes “Masonic thoughts” and “carries out strange rituals” during his live events.

The musicians’ syndicate, a local group responsible for approving permits, on Tuesday revoked the issued permit that would have allowed Scott to perform and livestream the concert in Cairo’s Sound and Light area on July 28 — an event meant to debut his forthcoming “Utopia” album. The concert had initially been supported by the Egyptian Tourism Authority and quickly sold out after tickets went on sale earlier this month.

The syndicate’s president and board said that after reviewing the opinions of Egyptians on social media and after receiving several reports about Scott, they decided to cancel the issued permit, according to a translated Arabic statement cited by Egypt’s state-run Al-Ahram newspaper and other Arab media.

“Photos and reports showed that Scott [uses his concerts] to hold rituals that contradict with our values and traditions. The [syndicate] thus decided to cancel the license for the concert which is not in line with the Egyptian people’s cultural identity,” the statement said, according to Alarabiya News.

“The syndicate is committed to preserving the security and stability of our beloved homeland and rejects any actions that go against its societal values,” the statement added in response to social media reports linking the artist with “strange rituals.”

Scott, 32, was accused online of allegedly being affiliated with Freemasonry and being involved in “anti-Egyptian Afrocentrism agendas,” “satanic rituals” and actions that were perceived as violations of Egyptian societal values.

Representatives for the musician did not immediately respond Tuesday to The Times’ requests for comment.

The nine-time Grammy Award nominee announced “Utopia” and its accompanying livestream in Egypt on Instagram earlier this month and weeks after a Houston grand jury decided Scott would not face criminal charges in the deadly 2021 Astroworld festival.

Al-Ahram reported that the opposition to Scott’s concert in Egypt primarily stems from the fatal crowd crush at Astroworld, which killed 10 concertgoers. Fringe conspiracy theories and viral misinformation campaigns about the concert ran rampant after the festival and claimed that Scott — who founded and performed at the fest — orchestrated it as a massive satanic ritual.

Among the pundits and influencers who officially requested that authorities cancel the show at the pyramids was lawyer Amr Abdel-Samie, who made several TV and newspaper remarks vilifying the rapper and denouncing Egypt hosting an artist that he described as a “masonic, satanic, and devil worshipper with a dark history,” Al-Ahram reported.

And many critics didn’t hold back on Scott’s Instagram posts announcing the concert earlier this month, repeatedly commenting with sentiments such as “You aren’t welcomed in Egypt,” “We don’t need you in Egypt” and “Your fans dont live in egypt bruh.” Others came to his defense, writing, “Trav apparently isn’t welcome in Egypt but his tickets sold out in 20 mins” and “fly me out brother man i need to hear this at the pyramids.”

The syndicate regulates the music industry in Egypt to preserve the cultural heritage of the conservative, majority Muslim nation. It enforces conditions and regulations to “maintain a balance between artistic expression and societal values,” according to Egypt Today. And although the syndicate has approved a variety of events over the last few months, Egypt Independent reported that the organization did so through strict conditions to ensure that the customs and guidelines of Egyptian society are followed.

The syndicate in 2017 banned the Mashrou Leila Band from performing in Egypt after a crowd member at a Cairo concert raised a rainbow flag in support of the LGBTQ+ community. Last year, the syndicate temporarily banned mahraganat music (electro-folk or working-class rap that has roots in Egypt’s 2011 revolution), suspending permits issued to mahraganat singers amid an investigation into bribery allegations and concerns about the genre’s artistic criteria.

It’s unclear whether Scott’s concert will officially be canceled because neither Egypt’s Ministry of Culture nor other government agencies have issued statements regarding the permit being pulled, Egyptian Streets reported. That outlet also said that Scott might not be bound by the decision because he is not a member of the syndicate himself.

After the Astroworld tragedy, the “Trance” artist scaled back his high profile for about a year. He first returned to the stage in November 2022, a year after Astroworld. In March, Scott headlined Rolling Loud California, although he cut his set short because of a hard 11 p.m. curfew. That same month, he performed at the Wireless Festival in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and headlined a concert at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with Calvin Harris.

Times staff writer Alexandra Del Rosario contributed to this report.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *