A factory along Tai Yip Street in West Kowloon is home to Hidden Agenda, Hong Kong’s most eclectic live music venue. Since its inception in 2009, the live house has faced numerous run-ins with the Hong Kong authorities.

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If you’re a brisk walker, it’ll take you about ten minutes from Ngau Tau Kok MTR, along Tai Yip Street, before you reach Hidden Agenda. The music venue is housed in a factory; an old elevator with collapsible iron grilles will take you up to the 2nd floor. You’ll be able to feel the bass rhythms through the walls before the doors open.

You’d expect a factory to produce furniture, rubber tires, textiles. The last thing you’d expect to hear would be music. But with soaring rent and a scarcity of ideal locations, music venues in industrial spaces have become the norm in Hong Kong, thanks in no small part to the pioneering efforts of Hidden Agenda’s founders.

What sort of music, you may ask? I wouldn’t be able to tell you. On any given night, Hidden Agenda may be playing host to a mish-mash of bands, with genres ranging from reggae to symphonic metal.  International acts that have played on its stage have included CocoRosie, Antiflag, Caspian and 65daysofstatic.

The venue has relocated twice since its inception in 2009. Over the years, Hidden Agenda has weathered  rising rents of HK$30, 000 and disputes over terms of land use with the Hong Kong Lands Department. The student-led Occupy Central movement in 2014 nearly put the founders out of business.

Regardless of adversity, the venue is now in its seventh year of operation, and remains the central cog in the Hong Kong underground music scene.

2A, Winful Industrial Bldg, 15-17 Tai Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

Raphael Lim

about Raphael

Raphael has interviewed Superman, gotten choked out by mixed martial artists, and sworn off food for a week without ending up looking like Gandhi. Yes, truth can be stranger than fiction. You can read his scribblings primarily in the Disrupter and Storyteller sections. He can be reached at raphael@departuremag.com.

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