Expanded Entertainment for 40th Year

8 February, 2015


The South Stand is the home of the party at the HK7s

It's the 40th year of the Sevens in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) is putting the icing on what is already an appetizing rugby cake with an expanded entertainment programme for the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in 2015.

The entertainment on offer this year encapsulates the East-West synergy of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Sevens as the HKRFU focuses on creating more and more entertainment programmes designed to appeal to the growing number of local Chinese fans attending the event each year.

Kings of disco The Village People have previously been announced as the main musical act for the tournament with their performance on Saturday of the Sevens (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, (hint: 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 performers.

The Village People will follow the much-loved March Past, when the massed pipes and drums of the Hong Kong Police, Auxiliary Police, and Scout Pipe Bands will lead our 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 Cantopop 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 17.45pm. 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. 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 China.

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 13.10pm. 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. Let there be no mistake, if Carlsberg did rugby, it would probably be the best Kung Fu Rugby Team in the World!

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.

It's going to be a party to remember for the 120,000 fans expected over the weekend, from Hong Kong and around the planet, at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens – Where the World Comes to Play!