The controversial Hong Kong Dome Festival this year will once again be held on July 1—the same day as the annual July 1 rallies led by the Civil Human Rights Front calling for democracy and freedom of speech, among other political concerns.
A promotional poster detailing the 2014 Hong Kong Dome Festival was uploaded earlier on Facebook by Scholarism, a Hong Kong student activist group. The dates on the flyer showed that, like last year, the 2014 festival will kick off on the afternoon of July 1, the same time the July 1 protests begin. No Hong Kong pop stars’ names appeared on the set list. Instead, all this year’s performers are über-popular Korean pop stars, including Super Junior-M, BoA and EXO-K—tough acts to compete with.
Last year, the public suspected that the government specifically chose this date for the festival as to prevent people from participating in the protest. The festival was first held last year at the old Kai Tak Airport by the Performing Industry Association of Hong Kong. Suspicions were aroused when it was revealed that the government leased the land to the organizer for a very low rent, and residents even created online campaigns to boycott the event.
Festival organizers denied the convenient overlap, telling SCMP last year: “We picked this day because we wanted to show the government that we need to be competitive in the region, and that would be through holding a big event in a mega venue. For example, Hong Kong Colisseum has a capacity for 12,500, but we need a place with a capacity of 25,000 to 30,000. Regarding the low price tickets, it was to help show public demand for mega shows.”
RubberBand was one of the local bands in last year’s lineup. They peget the memo that the show was beinghem to quit the event, but participated in the rally afterwards and donated all the proceeds in the show to the rally organizers. When talking to a reporter from Apple Daily, Number 6, the vocalist of the group, said that the band didn’t really get the memo that the show was being held again this year.
“We have asked our company for a day off on that day as to avoid being embarrassed like last time,” Number 6 said. He added that he would go to the July 1 protest this year to call for speech and press freedom.
Images Via Apple Daily
By Jennifer Hui