Hong Kong festival organiser fears music events on course for sidetracking by Formula E race
Central to expect heavy traffic as route runs next to performance venue
Two long-awaited international musical events to be held near the site of Hong Kong’s first Formula E’s race are set to be disrupted by transportation diversions and road closures for the major sporting event.
The organiser of the 4th Hong Kong International Piano Competition and Joy of Music Festival has expressed concerns that as many as 1,350 music lovers might be affected daily, with some possibly discouraged from attending the events due to heavy traffic.
The festival – originally scheduled to take place two years ago but postponed due to the Occupy movement – is now set to be held between September 26 and October 13 this year.
Yet the event organiser is faced with similar traffic challenges.
Andrew Freris, chairman of Chopin Society of Hong Kong, said it was not just the two days that caused him concern “but the spilling out of the disruption to Central” over the festival’s nearly three-week run.
The international race is to be held October 8 and 9 and is expected to draw some 44,000 tourists and residents to the Central harbourfront.
Dozens of local bus routes are to be diverted and five roads blocked during the two-day race. But traffic disruptions could span three weeks for the installation and removal of temporary supporting facilities, which would lead to some roads being closed or narrowed at night.
Freris said the construction dates coincided exactly with the festival’s events at City Hall, which is located adjacent to the Formula E race site.
“Our audience will find it difficult to get to City Hall or will be dissuaded from trying if the trip will take several hours as opposed to a few minutes,” he said, adding that people tended to buy tickets closer to an event’s actual date.
Freris also claimed the festival’s right to use a plot of land in front of Memorial Garden was instead given to the Formula E organiser, despite the government granting the festival permission“in principle” for three years.
Alan Fang, chief executive of race organiser Formula Electric Racing Hong Kong, said he was aware of the festival organiser’s complaints. He said concertgoers should have no trouble entering City Hall during the two-day racing period, claiming the roads leading to the venue would not be blocked.