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Travis Scott’s Representatives Deny Reports That the Pyramid of Giza Concert Was Canceled

the show must go on

Update: Live Nation, the entertainment company behind the event, has issued their own statement saying that the concert will go on as scheduled. “There have been no changes to Travis Scott’s show in Egypt; any reports to the contrary are false,” the promoter shared in its own statement. We can’t wait to celebrate ‘Utopia’ with you in Egypt!”

We should have known that it was too good to be true to actually believe that in less than three-weeks, eager Travis Scott fans would finally be able to listen to Utopia, the artist’s fourth studio album that we’ve all been waiting for with bated breath for nearly five-years.

Last Sunday, the rapper (born Jacques Webster), revealed that he will be launching the project against the backdrop of one of the Seven wonders of the World, Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza on July 28. However, according to reports, Egypt’s Musicians’ Syndicate has refused to grant the artist a permit to perform, citing “strange rituals” and “Masonic thoughts” as some of the reasons as to why they decided to cancel the hotly-anticipated show.

“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,” an official statement said.

However, representatives for Travis Scott have denied these reports.

News of the supposed cancelation comes just a few days after one Egyptian lawyer filed a lawsuit in the Administrative Court of the State Council against the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, demanding the cancelation of the permit for the upcoming concert of American rapper, citing the “practice of satanic and Masonic rituals, drug use, and sexual activities” as reasons for filing the lawsuit.

Live Nation, the entertainment company organizing the event, has yet to comment, however a number of Egyptian fans have took to social media platforms to express their disappointment. And it’s not just fans from the North African country who were anticipating the event. In fact, tickets for the show sold out within minutes after its announcement. Fans from all over the world decided to change up all of their summer plans last minute and make a detour to Egypt just to witness the groundbreaking show live (those who were unable to secure tickets would be able to watch the concert unfold in real time via worldwide livestreams). The Jordan Brand, for whom Scott serves as an ambassador, even launched a “Road to Utopia” sweepstakes for 23 lucky fans for a chance to win two airfare tickets, a two-night hotel stay, and two event tickets for the event.

Of course, Scott wouldn’t be the first artist to perform against the backdrop of the Giza Pyramids. That was The Grateful Dead in 1979, begining a trend that continues to this day. Less than a year after this inaugural concert, Frank Sinatra performed at the same venue. In 1995, country music singer Shania Twain filmed the music video for her hit The Woman in Me at the pyramids after someone on her team gave her the idea. The singer and her production team arrived in the middle of July, when temperatures were sizzling but that didn’t stop them from producing a memorable music video that went on to win a number of awards.

More recent concerts at the foot of the Sphinx include The Red Hot Chilli Peppers in 2019 and Russ just last year. Meanwhile, Kim Jones, the artistic director of Dior Menswear, staged a full-on fashion show in front of the Pyramids in December. However, a Travis Scott show feels a little bit more significant.

“It’s definitely very cool and special that so many industries are starting to appreciate and celebrate our culture,” said an Egyptian fan, who opted to stay anonymous. “It feels like it’s building on Jay Z’s Big Pimpin’ and the Dior fashion show at the Pyramids earlier this year. I’m grateful and proud that the place we come from is getting celebrated,” he added.

“I think someone as big as Travis launching his new album in our country is a huge benefit for our country’s image if handled correctly,” said Mahmoud Siam, a young Egyptian who has been an avid Travis Scott fan since the artist first started making waves on the scene in 2015. “Utopia is arguably the most anticipated album of this decade so far. Travis is known for his marketing and it’s been shown through his multiple collaborations such as, Nike, McDonald’s, Fortnite, and Dior that he’s a marketing genius. I mention all this because if his marketing for previous projects has been extremely successful, then it is inevitable that the marketing for Utopia will have a lot of people’s attention from everywhere around the world, and we can really use this opportunity by welcoming these big artists, as it will definitely attract a surplus in tourism and give us relevance amongst different cultures,” he said.

Prior to the Astroworld tragedy in 2021, the fatal crowd crush that occurred during the first night of the 2021 Astroworld Festival, a music event founded by the rapper in Houston, the artist’s 2018 “Astroworld: Wish You Were Here” tour, which had rideable roller coasters, a traveling circus, and a ferris wheel, was dubbed the greatest show on earth by Rolling Stone. If there’s one thing Scott can do better than anyone else, it’s immersive world-building, and with the Pyramids of Giza as his personal playground, the rapper was invited to unleash his full creativity with the full blessing of the Ministries of Culture and Tourism, who have also yet to comment on the rumored cancelation.

Indeed, not allowing the show to happen would feel like a missed opportunity for the country. Given Egypt’s current profound economic crisis— rising food costs, a spike in inflation, and high unemployment rates exacerbated first by the COVID-19 pandemic and now by the Russia-Ukraine conflict— that threatens to potentially fuel social unrest, the concert signals respite and a much-needed break from the country’s economic woes in addition to offering a huge boost to tourism.

In other words, it is a big deal— all eyes are set to be on Egypt on July 28. Considering that Scott is arguably one of the most vital rappers in the world, earning more than $100 million through chart-topping singles, a multiplatinum album (Astroworld), the top-grossing rap tour in 2019, and lucrative brand deals with the likes of Dior and Nike, the fact that he chose Egypt— of all 195 countries in the world— to finally unveil what is probably his most hotly-anticipated project to date, is major. What’s more, the ripple effect a cancelation due to “satanic panic” could potentially have on international artists who could have followed in Scott’s footsteps, but will likely stick to the UAE and Saudi Arabia for their Middle Eastern performances, can’t be understated.

“The concert symbolizes the advancement of bringing an Arab country to the main stage of live entertainment within the Western world, besides Dubai,” said another Egyptian fan, who also wished to speak anonymously. “It allows Egypt to embed itself within the recognized music and entertainment industry based in the Western world,” they continued. 

One fan, who got hooked on the artist’s music after first hearing Wonderful and Through the Night, believes that the concert could be a great way to introduce a new stream of revenue into the country. “I think we all know that tourism constitutes a large segment of the Egyptian economy but we’ve always been more reliant on either historical or nature tourism. Meanwhile music and entertainment tourism has been somewhat ignored,” she said. “We had a good run a while back with a string of international concerts in the early 2000s but ever since the revolution and subsequent economic and political crises it died down again. But as tourism picks up again in Egypt, we see multiple entities attempting to tap into entertainment tourism with concerts and fashion shows. I believe this is a great way to put us on the map,” she continued, stating that the show represents a huge step forward.

“For Travis Scott, this is meant to be a listening party for his new album drop so the entirety of his fan base, which is significant, will have their eyes on the concert and Egypt. This level of attention is bound to be beneficial for us.”

Stay tuned for more on this developing story.

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