Summary of Open-ended Opinions
Perception of the general public on the efficacy of Hong Kong Harbour Fest
In spite of the difficulties in collating open-ended responses, the 530 opinions expressed by the respondents under the question "Please list all problems, suggestions and opinions about HK Harbour Fest which you would like us to know" of the online survey could be consolidated subjectively into three major areas, namely, the positive views, the negative views, and other comments. For the whole set of open-ended opinions, please refer to the appendix.
On a macro level, the audience of the three particular concerts expressed satisfaction with the fundamental concept of organizing the Harbour Fest, a cultural event which aimed at promoting Hong Kong's image and reviving the local economy. However, because of its many perceived shortcomings in the prior preparation work and operational arrangements, some negative opinions were also voiced by the respondents. To start with, the positive views expressed are summarized as follows:
Good idea executed by inexperienced organizer - Most respondents found the fundamental concept of organizing the Harbour Fest good and essential, as large scale cultural activities of such kind was lacking in Hong Kong. However, many audience said the lead time was too short, and perceived the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, a layman in holding music festivals, to be an inappropriate choice of organizer for this event. For example, the American Chamber was criticized as failed to cater for the local Chinese audience, by making wrong choices in picking performers. It was suggested that similar events should be handed to local or international entertainment production companies in future.
Tamar a good choice of location, with room for improvement - Most respondents perceived Tamar an appropriate site for organizing the Harbour Fest, with a magnificent backdrop of the Victoria Harbour and the skyline, which was a unique attraction of Hong Kong. Many of them recommended making Tamar a permanent location for holding forthcoming events of such kind. Nevertheless, some of them expressed dissatisfaction with the inconvenience caused by the relatively long walk from the MTR stations to Tamar, and the admission time was also regarded as too long. Moreover, crowd control needed to be improved. Besides, some respondents showed concerns about the contingency arrangement in case of bad weather.
The Harbour Fest should be held as an annual event - A majority of the respondents showed enthusiasm in going to the Harbour Fest concerts again, and many of them encouraged the government to organize this music festival on a yearly basis, for it would not only enhance the overall cultural atmosphere of the local society, but also the local economy would also be benefited.
On the other hand, the negative opinions could also be consolidated into the following key points:
Insufficient prior promotions - A landslide majority of the respondents considered the promotional work done for the Harbour Fest as seriously inadequate on the whole, and many of them revealed that they were not even aware of the ticketing arrangements. Most respondents suggested more efforts should have been paid on the promotion and publicity campaign, especially on the details of the performers and programme schedule. Some recommended the future organizer to seek reference from the Hong Kong Arts Festival in terms of promotional strategies. Besides, many respondents also urged for overseas advertising of this music festival, so as to draw more tourists to visit Hong Kong for this event.
Tickets too expensive - Many respondents admitted that the general pricing of the Harbour Fest tickets were too high for the general public of local Chinese. This was particularly so for the younger generations who simply could not afford the high ticket fees. Meanwhile, the scheduling of the concerts were regarded as overly-packed in a short time span, making it rather unrealistic for people to consume many concerts in a row. Again, the HK Arts Festival was cited by many respondents as a reference for proper programme scheduling.
The idea of "East meets West" did not work - The performers were by and large well-received by the audience. Nonetheless, with respect to the much-publicized feature of the Harbour Fest, which was the "crossover" of local talents with international performers, the audience commented that such an idea was not as interesting as expected, owing to the fact that the local and international artists were just performing on the same stage literally, rather than performing "together" during the concerts. On the other hand, a majority of them also believed that the local and international performers should not be put together at the same show in the first place, because they simply appealed to different target audience.
Disappointing catering services - Practically all respondents who commented on the catering services provided in the venue gave a negative review at this front, as very long queuing time (between 45 minutes and one hour) was needed for buying beverages during the concert. Most of them asked for more beer stalls. Meanwhile, the overall hygiene condition of the portable toilets was considered as fairly acceptable, but many respondents said more toilets should have been set up in the venue.
Finally, it is also noteworthy that, many audience of the three concerts believed the overall successfulness of the Harbour Fest was, to a great extent, damaged by the many reports from the local news media, coupled with the criticisms made by the Legislative Councillors. Most respondents thought these negative coverage and open remarks were unfair and unjustified, which had given the event a bad name and scared off the general public, resulting in an overall dissatisfying attendance.