“Great weather, great fun, awe-inspiring talent!” — Audience member
2021 – A record year
“Since our first event in 2019, Freespace Jazz Fest has become a major date on the Hong Kong music calendar. Last year we brought together veteran and emerging Hong Kong-based artists and offered surprising and exciting new perspectives on improvisation, adaptation and instrumentation. Our goal is for the Freespace Jazz Fest to stand proud alongside other major jazz festivals in Asia, and to put Hong Kong jazz squarely on the international map.” — Kung Chi-shing, Artistic Associate (Music), Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District
Since 2019, the Freespace Jazz Fest has presented a range of performances intended to delight, surprise and open minds and ears to the diverse possibilities of jazz in all its permutations. The harbour-front setting, the diversity of venues, plus free access to a mix of sounds on the outdoor stages give the vibe of a big festival – with audiences moving between indoor and open-air events, big-name shows and intimate jams, curating their experience according to mood and taste, all while soaking up the atmosphere and great views of Hong Kong Island.
Spotlight on local talent
“I was stunned by the diversity and talent of Hong Kong artists – truly awesome!” — Audience member
Our 2021 event saw record-breaking attendance, with 19,000 visitors over the whole four days – up from 14,000 in 2019 – and ticketed events selling out faster than ever before. The festival also showcased the true diversity of Hong Kong talent with an eclectic mix of locally-based artists – both up-and-coming young prodigies and established giants – encouraging new collaborations, and demonstrating the multi-layered scope of the jazz experience and multi-faceted culture of jazz in Hong Kong.
Jazz – An attitude not just a style
“Some people might find the more experimental performances challenging … but our goal is to push boundaries, open minds, provoke questions. I’m really happy with what we achieved.” — Michael Chan, Music Team, Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
Putting together a world-class live music festival within current constraints is no easy feat. But with creativity and ingenuity – plus a generous helping of experimentation and improvisation true to the jazz spirit – the Freespace team has repeatedly assembled inspired local line-ups and brought about international cross-border collaborations in exciting virtual forms. While many jazz festivals focus on mainstream genres, Freespace Jazz Fest embraces a wider definition of what counts as jazz. Experimental showcases might challenge fans of more straight-up sounds, but for others they open transcendent new paths. The bold reach of the programme ensures there’s something for everyone – from jazz reinterpretations of classical pieces to traditional big band, avant-garde experimental noise and world music fusion, and much more in between. Drawing on western and eastern traditions, bridging boundaries between people and genres, and provoking questions, the festival provides a space for new experiences, new types of musical connections and interaction, and an important platform for niche forms.
“Launched only 3 years ago, Freespace Jazz Fest is fast becoming a major music festival on the event calendar of Hong Kong and beyond. It showcases the diversity and creativity of Hong Kong and international talent in a fantastic, all round jazz experience on the stunning harbour-front.” — Paul Tam, Executive Director, Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District
With free and ticketed events and a broad range of sounds – plus live theatrical interpretation by deaf and hearing interpreters, venues that are easily accessible for wheelchair users, on-site ambassadors to support visitors with disabilities, and public transport offering plenty of possibilities for reaching the Art Park – Freespace Jazz Fest is truly accessible and inclusive for all tastes, ages and pockets.
The 2021 Freespace Jazz Fest ended on a note of exhilaration and expectation for what’s to come. With sights set on the event becoming a major event to rival other Asian jazz festivals, future showcases promise to be even bigger and even better. Subscribe to the West Kowloon e-Newsletter and stay tuned. We look forward to seeing you!
For more past event videos and new digital programmes, please visit the West Kowloon Digital Platform.