Indie Hotspot Hidden Agenda is Crowdfunding for a New Venue
The underground venue is raising funds for a new location and an FEHD license.
In a Facebook live chat, Hidden Agenda founder Steveo Hui Chung-wo announced the start of fundraising and discussed ways to re-open and maintain the respected indie hub. Hui revealed that the current plan is to apply for a Food Factory License from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) so the spot could run as a takeaway food stall.
He said in the video that the team has found suitable premises in Kwun Tong, but declined to reveal the exact location. A provisional tenancy agreement had been signed and a deposit paid. Hui went on to say that Hidden Agenda needed to raise a total of $500,000 by Thursday September 15, enough to cover the FEHD license fee and furnishings for the new venue. As of 10:30pm on September 6, just one day after beginning the appeal, the organizers had raised $49,050. Hui promised that the donated money would be refunded if they failed to reach the target amount.
Hui also revealed a floor plan and photos of the new place, a roomy industrial space that can accommodate 500 people. He explained that, as there are no existing laws supporting the use of industrial building spaces for entertainment purposes, the project would be operating on an experimental basis as an alternative to closing down outright. "We are trying all means to save Hidden Agenda," volunteer Katy Ng said.
Ng told HK Mag that the team was optimistic about the crowdfunding scheme, saying they were "touched that it was able to raise such a huge amount of money in a single day." Some organizations from the alternative music scene, like Zenegeist, are helping out by organizing a charity sale to support the cause.
The popular gig space was forced out of its current premises by the Lands Department for a breach of lease conditions. They announced their closure two weeks ago, agreeing to return the current space to the owners by October 14. A farewell band show is planned for October 10. "The government has done nothing to support the local cultural scene... the only thing they've done is try to play the upper hand, always trying to put restrictions upon us. They once suggested we move our performances to West Kowloon Cultural District, but then we would have to host all the gigs for free. To us, music comes with a creative value; offering it for free would only depreciate that," Ng said.
Since its opening in 2009, Hidden Agenda has served as a performance space for notable local and international bands, and has gained substantial recognition among Hong Kong's indie fans.