Arts preview: Freespace Fest
The Renaissance Festival and Clockenflap are behind us, but the fun is moving on.
Even though construction at the West Kowloon Cultural District will not be finished for more than 10 years, the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) is already moving ahead with a series of events, concerts and festivals on a scale unprecedented in our city.
And so this weekend it's time for something completely different: Freespace Fest, a multidisciplinary festival with artists, performance artists, street performers, musicians and even talented members of the public all sharing the spotlight.
The venue mirrors the boundlessness of the performances: a seemingly endless expanse of open space, the whole thing anchored by two main stages, facing out over the harbour, where a rotating roster of more than 20 bands will provide near constant music in a variety of styles.
The festival highlights include: Osadia, a street theatre company from Barcelona; The Dream Engine, an aerial dance troupe from Britain; Joao Marcos Mascarenhas, a Brazilian jazz and fusion performer; the dub reggae band Sensi Lion; and many more.
Yes, there are some big names, but the real draw is what happens when all of the different performers come together to make something spontaneous and unique.
Underneath all of the celebration and unbridled artistic expression, Freespace will be quietly serving a more practical function. The design for the WKCD is being finalised over the next year and much remains unknown. As Louis Yu Kwok-lit, the authority's performing arts executive director, puts it: "We are not Australians." He means that Hong Kong people have historically been resistant to going outdoors for fun.
Freespace Fest - and the two festivals that preceded it - will give designers an idea of how the space is used, and what the public needs in terms of venues and facilities. So do your part in designing the future of Hong Kong's premier cultural venue: show up and have as much fun as possible.
The festival is free, but space is limited so be sure to register.
West Kowloon Cultural District, Sat-Dec 16, 1pm-10.30pm. To register for a space go to www.freespace.hk