Review- Freespace Happening- WKCD


By: Rachel Barton


Freespace Happening is a showcase of Hong Kong’s local talent in the great outdoors. Well, close enough… West Kowloon Cultural District. Outdoor art events in Hong Kong are few and far between and I was happy to see that this event was about promoting local artists and making art affordable and accessible. Each Freespace Happening will feature music, handicraft market, street performances and a selection of special attractions and take place on the second Sunday of each month.


I haven’t attended the Freespace Fest of the past but I know this project was inspired by it. There were a variety of performances in different styles: street dancing, parkour, busking, metal music, acoustic guitars and weirdly, skateboarding and artistic soccer displays. It was nice to see people enjoying the art and the freedom for buskers and local craftsmen to put their wares out on a blanket to enjoy. It was a friendly vibe and people seemed to be enjoying themselves despite the sweltering heat and pounding rain that came later in the day. 


My main critique of the event is that they did little to help people beat the heat or find their way. The bathrooms were placed in non-sensible places and there was little signage to help people who were English speakers find their bearings. Overall, the event was very focused on the Chinese speaking audience members.


This festival is a great idea but was a little mish-mash in the organizing. There seemed to be little or no thought put into the lineup. It might have been better for them place the family friendly performances earlier in the day and present a variety of performers that spoke different languages. Little kids at the festival were cranky, tired and sunburnt by 3pm and they missed a lot of the showcases I think were tailored for them.


The most enjoyable part of the day was the buskers. They performed a variety of acts and were very talented. Oftentimes, more talented than the artists on the main stage. They were seasoned and well rehearsed. I especially enjoyed the juggling.


Skateboarding and artistic soccer seemed to be a big focus for the event. I think they were trying to reach out to the male demographic but I can’t help but think skateboarding and soccer aren’t art. If this is an art festival, I think it needs more art and less sports. I don't know if the artists were paid for their time but the quality on the stage was quite uneven. I think organizers needed more focus on the talent on stage so it felt more polished, rather than like a block party. Overall, Freespace Happening is free and enjoyable- you'll just need to do your research beforehand to see what activities best fit you.


Freespace Happening will be presented at WKCD, the second Sunday of every month. For more information, click here.


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