Local music festival The Weekend has announced that it will be cancelling this year’s edition at the West Kowloon Cultural District. Organisers “wow and flutter” cited venue constraints resulting from construction work at the arts and entertainment district.

First held in 2016, The Weekend featured local musicians and bands such as Tat Ming Pair, Chochukmo, Choi Sai Ho, tfvsjs, and more.

hong ka-chun
Hong Ka-chun. Photo provided by wow and flutter.

The festival made the announcement in a post on social media on Sunday evening. It said that  ongoing construction at the West Kowloon Cultural District meant that the size of the venue for the festival had shrunk and – together with restrictions that “could not be ignored” – it was not possible to put on the event they had in mind.

Founder of the festival Hong Ka-chun thanked everyone for their support and said in an open letter that he believed that the hiatus would give them  time to make better preparations for the next event.

See also: Keeping it local: Behind the scenes of Hong Kong’s new music festival, Weekend

“Everyone knows that we ultimately have to hand over the venue to the great Palace Museum project, but [we] did not expect that a small change would trigger significant developments,” Hong said, “[a]nd for this year, the venue would have been less than two-thirds the size of the last.” This would mean removing two stages, the market, and downsizing the main stage.

wow and flutter
wow and flutter’s The Weekend in 2017. Photo: Karen Cheung/HKFP.

“Please believe me, we’ve tried our best to come up with ways to change the situation and make the best use of the limited space, but this is an infinitely difficult task,” he said. However, as part of the construction will be completed next year, more space will be freed up for the festival, he added.

Hong said he still believed that the passion the festival ignited was something Hong Kong needed, at a time when the city has grown colder and its people more helpless. “We hope to see you in the near future – to sweat, scream and laugh together.”

The Palace Museum project sparked controversy last year as there was no prior public consultation before Chief Executive Carrie Lam – then-Chief Secretary and chairwoman of the Authority’s board, revealed it. The government then launched a six-week consultation process, inviting views on its design and operation with a short questionnaire.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.