After the recent tragic death of Keith Flint, a friend posted an image online of a ticket from the band’s 1998 show at HITEC (now KITEC). Another fitting eulogy to someone who spearheaded a genre and was the face of a culture that’s since blown up all over the world. What jumped out at me was the younger profile shot of the band and the dated event details laid out such as a phone number to buy tickets. Another feature I noticed was the event’s time with the group starting their show at 11pm and then in brackets (Late night DJ’s), suggesting that the 450 dollar ticket was an entire night of revelry. Event people will know operating hours are critical in ensuring revenue streams. How are major venues closing earlier these days in Hong Kong? Is early closing times linked to problems associated with the event? Is there a fear of the dark hours, a fear of dark goings on? Do music communities just go underground, encouraged to express themselves in other ways away from dance-floors, out of site?
Certain music genres, like certain sports or other things people are passionate about often carry with them a reputation, and it’s important to keep working to improve this reputation in order to minimise the potential risk if something goes wrong. The line between fun and stupidity is at times blurred, and it’s important to realise that no-one is exempt, wherever your interests lie.
However, those that are should be unashamedly devoted to their favourite genre, unafraid to dance around like a goon, whoever the artist, whatever the track. This form of expression is a primal human need and is proven to not only provide psychological benefits but also bring people together. It’s essential to have a release and enjoy experiences that profoundly unite people. This is true now more than ever as the experience economy continues to grow and younger people place a higher value on these experiences than ever before. We, therefore, need to try and understand these passions and be open to them, we can’t afford to let ‘the fear’ get the better of us.
The Prodigy are often described as originators of rave, a genre and culture that’s has seen plenty of negative stigmas associated with it, and in some regards for good reason. But problems with things like drugs are also prevalent in sports, albeit for a different outcome. Influential stars of each pursuit are positioned at both ends of the spectrum, pushing the limits of what's acceptable. Are there some comparisons to be drawn from drugs in a sport to those in the music industry? Are players of both pushing the limits too far in their search for greatness?
From an audience perspective, excessive drinking and fans misbehaving goes on at all sorts of events, including our very own HK Rugby 7s tournament dare I say it. While I clearly don’t condone this in any way, it’s important for everyone to be honest and stop burying their heads in the sand. Why are we accepting to people pissing on each other at the sevens one day and then putting sanctions on music events the next? I don't think we should come down heavily on the sevens as it's a great event, but there's a conversation to be had.
Businesses and government have a different attitude towards music entertainment than sport in parts of ASEAN, this is beginning to change which is exciting but we need to be mindful of the fact music is very powerful and needs to be given the same support as the major sporting events in town. Let’s work together and learn from each other, take the insights we have on the management of these significant events to improve them. Let’s talk about it openly and face the fear head on. This should give those that hold the keys to events the confidence to keep developing them and allow the experiences to keep on giving the real fans what they want.