City Weekend

What’s the future of the indie scene in Hong Kong?

Revival of Hidden Agenda is symbolic of city’s increasing passion for alternative music, according to industry insiders

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 November, 2016, 2:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 November, 2016, 11:50pm

Indie music club Hidden Agenda’s miraculous revival symbolises the booming popularity of alternative music in Hong Kong, industry insiders say.

The rock music showcase was brought back to life after a successful crowdfunding initiative saw HK$500,000 raised in just one week. It will relaunch at the Hung To Industrial Building, Kwun Tong, on December 15.

Chris B, founder of live music showcase The Underground HK, said she was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming support for Hidden Agenda, both locally and internationally, and added that it showed Hong Kong’s indie scene was going from strength to strength.

“I thought the crowdfunding was bizarre, I did not think people would pay that,” she said. “The organisers of Hidden Agenda are quite political; they do that deliberately. That is really cool; that would not happen in China. This shows that we are still Hong Kong.”  

Originally from Hong Kong, the long-time rocker said she had witnessed the steady growth of the indie scene in the city since performing with grunge girl band Sisters of Sharon during the 1990s, and expected its popularity to continue. She said the variety and regularity of gigs here had increased significantly in the past 25 years.

Speaking about the development of The Underground HK, she said she could not have predicted its huge success, particularly as she did not charge entry fees for its first two years. “It was an accident that grew into a monster,” she said.

Meanwhile Kung Chi-shing, founder of the Kung Music Workshop and live music enterprise Freespace Happening, said he also hoped Hidden Agenda’s revival marked the continued growth of the indie scene.

“It was wonderful that they managed to raise HK$500,000,” he said. “It is a shame the government keeps trying to shut them down. I hope they will survive. They are one of the most important live houses for this type of music in Hong Kong.”

Kung said the government should endeavour to legalise the use of more industrial buildings and make them safe for the public, because local artists were being restricted by high rents and limited space.

“It is really sad when these spaces are not utilised; it makes no sense to me,” he said.