PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 October, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 October, 2003, 12:00am

Q What do you think of the Harbour Fest's organisation?

Free tickets, with just over half of the seats filled. Just by these simple facts, it's clear that the American Chamber of Commerce did not do a good job in planning and advertising this big event. And there goes our money.

Harbour Fest was a good idea, since Hong Kong rarely has many international superstar concerts. But we are seeing the results of poor advertising, despite the amount of money spent on the event. How is it people do not know about Harbour Fest if there is so much advertising going on?

If Harbour Fest fails, what happens to all the taxpayers' money? Do we get refunds?

AmCham's concept was a good one but it should have shared the financial risk. There is talk of making Harbour Fest an annual event. That's fine, as long as it is not fully sponsored by us taxpayers.

Vincy O'Dore, Happy Valley

I couldn't believe that AmCham would deny as it did in your report on Friday that it had advertised Joey Yung as appearing on the Asian All-Star night.

Regarding the withdrawal of Fly to the Sky and S from the itinerary, AmCham is not telling the whole truth as it told me that it was a problem with the contracts while it told you that it was because of a schedule change.

Now, AmCham has invited two other Korean celebrities to come to Hong Kong. However, the two are not popular here at all and are quite new to a Hong Kong audience. Maybe AmCham doesn't have to pay them as much money as it would have done to S and Fly to the Sky.

The name of the concert on October 31 should be changed since there are only Hong Kong and Korean singers - and besides, the local singers aren't so good. I hope AmCham can come up with something to make us feel better.

Yu Sze-wai, Tai Po

It is definitely not worth it to use so much money to organise Harbour Fest when it is not really helping to boost tourism or the economy. What tourists would visit Hong Kong just because of the festival?

Also, with the ticket prices so high, how many people can afford to see the concerts? In my view, the Harbour Fest is a waste of taxpayers' money. I would rather the government use the millions of dollars on promoting tourist attractions in Hong Kong.

Name and address supplied

The Harbour Fest is claimed to be an investment to boost tourism. However, from the very outset this has merely been the subjective opinion of the government.

How can senior officials call on citizens to simply accept the wasting of millions of dollars without any consultation?

Unfortunately, the irresponsible government just let American businessmen take entire control of our event.

The organisation is simply a mess. From the construction of the stage to the selling of tickets, it has been a total loss for Hong Kong rather than a gain.

I can't see any extraordinary boom in the influx of foreign tourists - instead, tourists may be bemused by how disorganised Hong Kong is. If the government had bothered to think twice, it would have realised that the fest is not the foremost means of reviving the slumping economy.

Emily Lam, Tsing Yi

Despite all the negative publicity surrounding the Rolling Stones concert, I think Harbour Fest has been organised in a professional manner.

The people of Hong Kong and tourists can certainly enjoy the many wonderful shows that Harbour Fest offers. Tickets are easy to buy and considering the quality of the performers, the prices are quite reasonable. The myriad artists ranging from new young stars to legends in the music business ensure that people from all walks of life and age groups can have a great time attending these concerts.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for Hong Kong people and tourists alike to see all these superstars at one time. Harbour Fest is certainly helping Hong Kong to raise its international profile and make a comeback from the gloom and doom atmosphere of Sars. The Tamar site is the best venue and it definitely shows Hong Kong at its best.

Jessica Chan, Sai Wan

The organisation is extremely disappointing. When I first saw the advertisements for the Harbour Fest in the newspaper, I was optimistic and looking forward to it, with pop stars like the Rolling Stones, Tatu, Westlife and Fly to the Sky, invited from all over the world. I expected the show would be a great success and boost the economy of Hong Kong.

However, it has failed my expectations, having been poorly organised. First of all, how can the American Chamber of Commerce, the organisers of the Harbour Fest, place advertisements for performers whose appearances are not yet confirmed? Just take the Rolling Stones and the Korean bands as an example. If a performer has not yet signed a contract and confirmed their appearance in the show, there is no doubt that the organisers should refrain from placing advertisements or promotions for them. It is not only unfair to the singers, but also to the public.

The reason why people buy the tickets is to appreciate and support the performances of their idols. If they are told that they are not coming, how will they feel?

Moreover, when there are any changes on the performance schedule, what the organisers should do is not only delete their names from websites, but also inform the public - for example, by placing announcements in the newspapers.

To conclude, it is not the time to blame anyone, but the organisers should learn a lesson from this.

I believe such an experience will allow them to better organise future events.

Jodie Wan Yuen-tung, Tsuen Wan

Despite all the controversy in the lead-up to Harbour Fest, I'm sure that the American Chamber and InvestHK had the best intentions of creating a world-class venue at the Tamar site with world-class facilities. However, after having waited for more than one hour to buy a drink, it quickly became clear that best intentions were simply not enough.

Yet, despite the suggestions that a private sector company may have organised the Harbour Fest more professionally, one only has to have attended the recent Joaquin Cortes performance to realise that this may not have necessarily been the case.

This particular event's organiser didn't understand the necessity for the audience to see a flamenco dancer's feet - a rather important aspect of the performance - and arranged the seating so as to make it difficult for all but people of Yao Ming's height to enjoy it.

Calling all event organisers: please attend events and appreciate an audience's perspective before organising your own.

Tanbir Rahman, Wan Chai

To support the Harbour Fest, I have bought tickets for four concerts, including both the opening and closing shows.

Having just attended the first concert, I'd like to offer some feedback.

Sound - too loud. The subwoofer covered the singing. The music sounded blurred.

I would have expected higher quality of speakers and amplifiers after having paid around $1,000 per ticket (or $2,000 for the Rolling Stones concert).

The seating plan showed on the web page is misleading. The real stage is at least a third smaller than indicated.

Sections 109 and 104 should have faced right in front of the stage.

However, they actually faced in front of an advertising board and are very far away from the stage. From seat 14 in section 109, you could hardly see the stage. You do not expect that when you pay $2,000 for a ticket.

Similarly, we had to pay $1,288 for section 110 for the Rolling Stones concert. We checked out the seats at the Prince concert and found that we would not be able to see the stage. We have never faced this problem at other concerts.

I really hope this situation will change. My suggestions are to move the advertising boards to somewhere else, so the audience can see through the gap, and ensure the performers stand closer to the very front part of the stage.

Our next concert is today, the classical music show. We hope we do not have to stand on a chair for this type of concert.

Name and address supplied