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Eason Chan plays to empty Hong Kong Coliseum

Cantopop singer Eason Chan last weekend became the first artist to perform at Hong Kong’s leading large concert venue, the Hong Kong Coliseum, after restrictions on performing at the venue were lifted.

Chan was scheduled to play 25 shows at the 12,500-seat Coliseum in December and January, but the performances were pulled amid unrest in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy protesters continue to clash with Beijing-backed security forces. The local star instead played to an empty venue on Saturday 11 July in aid of industry charity HKLPPIA (Hong Kong Live Performance and Production Industry Association), whose pandemic fund is supporting Hongkong artists and crew through the coronavirus shutdown.

The charity event, dubbed ‘Live is So Much Better with Music’, comprised two 30-minute performances: One at 6am local time (‘sunrise’) and one at 5pm (‘sunset’). Despite being performed without a crowd, the shows created nearly 100 jobs for local crew, according to the Straits Times.

At the end of the video, Chan says in Cantonese: “It feels strange to have no audience, so we will clap for ourselves. Even if there is no applause, I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has worked so hard on this performance…”

Live is So Much Better with Music comprised two 30-minute performances: One at 6am local time and one at 5pm

Chan’s performance came as popular Hong Kong festival Clockenflap confirmed it would again not take place this year, this time as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 threat. Clockenflap 2019 was called off at the 11th hour as a result of the same unrest that cancelled Chan’s original Coliseum shows.

Mike Hill, co-founder and CEO of Clockenflap promoter Magnetic Asia, explains the decision: “The biggest challenge for us is the uncertainty of international travel. Would artists be able to come without having to spend 14 days in quarantine? There is a strong chance this may not improve before November. That makes it impossible to create the kind of Clockenflap people want.

“But 2021 will be bigger because we now have a date secured and it’s 18 months away. We have never had that level of venue certainty in the history of the event. That, matched with the hunger to perform, means our booking team should be in the best position ever.”

Clockenflap 2021 will take place from 26 to 28 November.


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