Hong Kong is gearing up for seven nights full of live music, with the return of The Week HK, a festival which celebrates the city’s indie scene. Organised by Paul Sedille and Elaine Ip, this is the third time the event has been held, and this year features the most diverse and innovative line-up so far. Sedille, who’s a full-time videographer and journalist, spoke to Young Post about The Week’s origins and values.
“We had a vision this would be to support the scene in three main senses,” explains Sedille. “First, the musicians: to give up-and-coming musicians and local music more opportunities to get on stage in front of an audience, in the most professional setting possible.
“Second, venues. It’s not just in one place, but to exploit an existing eco-system of venues – which can be hard to get together here.” The pair also use spaces they feel have great potential as concert spaces, to help show owners there is an audience for it, as well as a profitable avenue for their businesses.
Sedille continues, “The third factor is the audience. Hong Kong is very segregated between languages, geography [Kowloon vs HK Island], and then the subgenres of music. There are all these differences, but the more we can cater for each of these aspects, the more people are willing to pay for a show; the healthier the scene, the more artists can make a living from it, the more venues can thrive, and the more opportunities there are for those who want to see more music live.”
Organising a festival is a massive commitment. Sedille and Ip, who is a full-time event organiser, have to make arrangements up to nine months in advance, which initially caused a lot of doubts from others.
“A lot of people were telling us it was crazy, and to limit it to a weekend because of the costs, but taking that chance was actually really helpful in terms of knowing what was possible later on,” Ip said. “It allowed us to keep that scope from the very beginning. It was a bet we made, and it worked out.”
The Week prides itself on diversity; it’s hosting seven genres in seven venues over seven days. This year’s festival includes headline sets from acts like Twisterella, David Boring, 24 Herbs and Nowhere Boys, and gigs by post-punk, world music, blues and folk acts, as well as more established genres such as metal, hip hop and alternative rock. Despite the wealth of talent in Hong Kong, Sedille has noticed the difficulties local musicians face in trying to build a career in such a small market.
“We want to have up-and-coming acts – bands that you might not have heard before but hopefully will love, and that’s what we try to push, unknown bands to a new audience,” she said.
“It’s really frustrating to approach event organisers because you don’t have a name or reputation yet, but how do you get a name if you can’t get on the bill?”
Another challenge bands face, Sedille said, is that music lovers can get gig fatigue, and tire of seeing the same few acts at the same few venues. “Once [a band is] in the circuit, they play everywhere, and you’ll have bands that you see almost every week, so it’s equally challenging to draw a crowd to every show.”
With The Week, she and Ip hope to bring that variety and joy back to the lives of fans and musicians alike.
Tickets available from Ticketflap
Edited by Karly Cox
The Week HK Listings:
- 3 Mar – Showcase – The Hub, Wan Chai – Twisterella / Wellsaid / Brother Plainview
- 4 Mar – Blues & Folk – Lost Stars – Henry Chung / Tomii Chan / The Pineapple Jam
- 5 Mar – World Music – Ping Pong 129 – Chris Polanco / The Zero Point / Hak Gwai
- 6 Mar – Metal – This Town Needs – Rain In Time / The Priceless Boat / Parallel Horizons / The Ancient Mental
- 7 Mar – Post-Punk – MOM Livehouse – David Boring / Say Mosquito / The Pafala / The Viscose
- 8 Mar – Hip-Hop – The Space – 24 Herbs / Geniuz F / JB aka Jiggie Boy / PPC records / Matrix (Beatbox) / DJ Blaze / Lazyboi Dri & King $aral
- 9 Mar – Alt Rock –1563 - Nowhere Boys / Seasons For Change / Bamboo Star / Black Coffee