Japanese musician Yoshiki finally given approval to play in Hong Kong after earlier concert was cancelled

The Thursday concert was cancelled after the organiser failed to apply for licences, prompting a furious response from fans

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 December, 2016, 7:25pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 December, 2016, 7:26pm

Thousands of Hong Kong fans of Japanese musician Yoshiki Hayashi are being given a free show on Friday 24 hours after Thursday’s performance was cancelled – because its local organiser failed to apply for relevant licences.

Best known as the leader and a co-founder of heavy metal band X Japan, Yoshiki was scheduled to stage a concert at the AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) on Thursday as part of his world tour. However, he was told to cancel the show two hours before the concert was due to start because the venue had not received the licences required from local organiser Puffin Entertainment.

About 4,000 fans, who had paid between HK$580 and HK$1,280, were left in limbo on Thursday night. Some had already arrived at the venue near the airport.

To make it up to fans, the 51-year-old drummer and pianist decided to stay one more day in Hong Kong to stage a private show free of charge at the same venue on Friday. Existing ticket holders can bring one friend to the performance. They will also get a full refund for Thursday tickets.

In another twist on Friday afternoon, AsiaWorld-Expo said in a statement issued around 1pm that it had “serious reservations” about whether the free performance could go ahead as planned, because it had yet to receive the required licences from the organiser.

Licences issued by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department are required to host musical events in Hong Kong.

Angry fans lashed out at the organiser on social media for what they called its “stupid mistake”.

“How come you didn’t remember to apply for a licence! No experience or what?” a Facebook user surnamed Li asked in a comment on Puffin Entertainment’s official page.

“4pm already! Should I set off or not?” another user asked.

But the green light was finally given at 6pm – two hours before the show began – as the event organiser finally obtained the licences.

“Since the event organiser has obtained the relevant statutory approval for the Yoshiki music event to be held at AsiaWorld-Expo tonight (30 Dec), AWE will work with the organiser to ensure the show will be held in a safe manner,” the exhibition centre said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said it had confirmed the organiser had met all requirements after a site inspection by its officers on Friday.

She added the department did not receive any licence application from the local organiser on Thursday.

Puffin Entertainment did not reply to a WhatsApp inquiry from the Post.