France's 15th Garance Reggae Festival, which was due to be held tomorrow (July 2) in Paris, has been canceled following weeks of protests about the inclusion of Jamaican artist Sizzla on the bill.
France's 15th Garance Reggae Festival, which was due to be held tomorrow (July 2) in Paris, has been cancelled following weeks of protests about the inclusion of Jamaican artist Sizzla on the bill.
Protestors, led mainly by gay rights associations, argued that headline act Sizzla should not perform because his songs contain what is seen as homophobic lyrics.
The decision was taken by hosting venue Paris-Expo and confirmed this week by promoter Garance Productions. "We received a lot of negative reactions, and a forceful movement is arising that gathers the gay community, anti-racism associations and media," comments Paris-Expo director Renaud Hamaide.
After consultation with the police department, the venue chose to take no risk with staging the event for fear of public unrest.
Other acts who were booked to perform at the festival included Admiral T, Ken Boothe and Seeed.
It is not the first time that Sizzla has been at the root of protests from gay rights lobby groups. British body OutRage organization last year cited Sizzla and other reggae acts in a letter of complaint to organizers of the Music of Black Origin Awards, claiming their music "clearly incites violence toward gay people." In late 2004, Sizzla was denied a visa to tour the United Kingdom.