A protest in support of local underground music is still scheduled for Friday 9 November after a general meeting by underground musicians and the organiser of the protest, Islam Ismael.
Ismael said the meeting turned into an impromptu press conference due to the attendance of several journalists and TV stations. “We have different parties who are now involved, musicians, people from the syndicate, the Sawy Culture Wheel et cetera. It turned from a protest into a conference with different people pitching in and trying to help us. Several veterans of the underground music scene, even those with syndicate IDs, are supporting us,” said Ismael.
A few things changed on the original list of demands since the meeting and they have become more realistic and more defined.
“We have abandoned the idea of founding a separate syndicate after discussions with lawyers. The process is too difficult to accomplish but we are still debating the creation of a separate section for independent artists in the syndicate of musicians,” said Ismael.
Ismael stressed that the musicians gathered now realise that the Sawy Culture Wheel is not the problem per se. “We are not against the Culture Wheel in any way but we are against the policies by both the Sawy and the music syndicate which bar us from playing. The Sawy is blaming the syndicate and the syndicate is blaming the Sawy.” Ismael added that on the day of the protest a meeting with a representative of the syndicate is scheduled.
The protest was initiated after the music syndicate cracked down on those playing without syndicate ID cards, effectively preventing most underground or independent musicians from playing. The protest is scheduled for 5pm in front of the Sawy Culture Wheel in Zamalek.