It’s the 40th year of the sevens in Hong Kong,
and the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) has unveiled more
details of the expanded
entertainment programme planned for the
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong
Sevens in 2015.
The Village People have
been confirmed as the main musical act for the
tournament with their performance on Saturday (28 March) expected to be a highlight of the weekend’s revelry.
The Village People have sold more than 100
million records and are known for party anthems like “Macho Man”,
“Can’t Stop the Music”, “In the Navy”, “Go West”, and of course
“YMCA”. In 2008, the band received a star on the Hollywood Walk of
Fame, the latest accolade in a myriad of awards, including an
American Music Award for Favourite Music Group.
No strangers to performing at major
international sports events, the Village People have previously
performed at Australia’s Rugby Grand Final, and their music is
played as part of a baseball tradition, the seventh inning
stretch, at Major League Baseball (MLB) games in America. They
famously performed “YMCA” at the last ever MLB All-Star Game in
Yankee Stadium in New York along with the groundskeepers.
With their trademark penchant for outrageous
costumes (expect a policeman, Native American, soldier,
biker, cowboy and construction worker), the Village People are the
perfect accompaniment to the riveting rugby action on the pitch
and the fancy dress frolics in the South Stand.
"Village People are excited to be a part of the
40 years of Sevens celebrations in Hong Kong. We've heard that
this will be the biggest and best party of the year and we are
looking forward to getting the legendary South Stand up and
dancing! We know the sevens are famous for fancy dress, so we are
looking forward to seeing a crowd of 40,000 police officers,
construction workers, cowboys, military men, bikers and Native
Americans,” said the band in a released joint statement by the six
The Village People will follow the
March Past, when the massed pipes and drums of the Hong Kong
Police, Auxiliary Police, and Scout Pipe Bands will lead the 28
teams and members of Hong Kong’s 21 mini rugby clubs in the
traditional pitch-side parade.
In other new entertainment initiatives for 2015,
an expanded opening ceremony is being readied. In a first for the
tournament, the HKRFU are partnering with Ming’s Media
Productions, the company behind the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s
Lunar New Year night parades since 2009 as well as several
Canto-pop artist concerts in Hong Kong in recent years.
To accommodate the expanded celebration, the
ceremony will move from its traditional opening time slot to early
evening on Friday, 27 March at 17:45. The new timing will see
the opening ceremony staged immediately following the cup final
for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens and
just before the kick-off of the opening match of the HSBC Sevens
World Series core team competition.
“Moving the opening ceremony later in the day
will provide spectators with a better opportunity to enjoy what we
believe will be a spectacular performance that pays a fitting
tribute to Hong Kong’s cultural heritage and perfectly sets the
stage for the weekend’s excitement,” said Robbie McRobbie, General
Manager of Rugby Operations and Commercial at the HKRFU.
The ceremony will include the traditional
Chinese lion eye-dotting ceremony to wish an auspicious start to
the tournament in 2015 but spectators will also be wowed by a
series of performances including both Flying and Giant Dragons and
17 Lions - adding to the fantastical experience that is the Cathay
Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
Sunday continues the special events planned for
inside the stadium as the HKRFU introduces the perfect
representation of East-West crossover with a thrilling performance
of Kung Fu Rugby.
Have you ever wondered what a rugby sevens team
comprising the likes of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li would
play like? Well the HKRFU have recruited an elite group of martial
artists and with the help of Carlsberg, the official beer of the
Hong Kong Sevens, have got them training in a secret camp in
The “players” are being instructed by legendary
“si fu” or master, Yeung Pan-pan, who started martial arts
training aged four and went on to study different styles from top
masters including Lee Kwan Hung of Choy Lay Fatt kung fu, Dan
Inosanto of Jeet Kune Do, karate from Bruce Leung, and western
boxing from John Ladawski. Known as “Lady Jackie Chan” for her
appearance in numerous martial arts movies in the early 1980s, she
now directs and produces films as well as running her own martial
arts stunt academy.
The Carlsberg Kung Fu Rugby team will take on an
all-star opposition in a special challenge match in the Hong Kong
Stadium on Sunday at 13:10. Like the advent of the Sevens itself,
Kung Fu Rugby will be a global-first, and the 40,000 capacity
crowd are in for some spectacular action.
Fans on the concourses will be entertained by
some of Hong Kong’s best young musical talent on the Cathay
Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens mini-stage, which this year is being
managed by YRock.
YRock, celebrating its tenth anniversary this
year, is a community project that brings together students from
all backgrounds and musical influences to provide a pop-culture
platform for talented teenagers in Hong Kong to express themselves
through music composition, performance, dance and digital media.
Joining rugby favourites the Hong Kong Welsh
Male Voice Choir will be local cover band Bus Uncle, new to the
Sevens Black Cat Blues Band and a series of YRock POP Award
Winners, Clockenflap veterans and finalists from last year’s Music
Challenge including Seasons for Change and Ketchup & Mustard.
120,000 cumulative fans are expected from Hong
Kong and around the planet at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong
Pictures of the Hong Kong Sevens 2014
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