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It isn’t everyday that a racing club where thousands come to watch horses run and back a winner doubles as a great big “club” for those on the periphery of the sport and more interested in having a great night out with the minimum of fuss for a $10 entrance fee, and where there’s a choice of activities. And this is exactly what the Hong Kong Jockey Club with its two venues- the unique and stunning setting of the open-air and casual Beer Garden and the more upwardly mobile Adrenaline.

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While five-star hotels plod along that same old road with thirty year old entertainment formats outta sync with customer trends in their snoozefest five-star lounges, and venues like Peel Fresco and the somewhat new Orange Peel, below, offer a new playground for play Hong Kong’s usual coterie of musical suspects to play a desperate game of survival through musical chairs, there is something fresh and exciting happening at the HKJC’s Happy Valley venues.

Orange Peel hong kong

In a nutshell, the Club is constantly mixing it. In January, for example, gone is the ‘live’ band that has been playing at the Beer Garden for, perhaps, a season too long. That’s been seen and fixed.

Change is good

Instead, the three-week long Music Hits The Valley promotion features music from different eras brought to life again for today’s audiences by DJs mixing it up with ‘live’ musicians and a brilliant group of dancers who interact wonderfully with the audience- and someone like DJ Samir, who knows how to read an audience and is a showman in his own right.

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Need a change of scene, and there’s the choice of Adrenaline which attracts a more mature and upmarket customer base. It’s a venue where one can chill out and watch the races, drink, have dinner, and, in-between having a flutter, take in the smooth sounds of the popular Jennifer Palor.

Jennifer Palor

The Jazz stylist takes over from Ben Semmens and his backing band. Despite being good, it was felt by those who knew that the talented Welsh singer-songwriter had outstayed his welcome, and the repertoire and performances- recently quite ragged, all-too-familiar and tired- had, sadly, begun to wear thin and look and sound past their Use By Date, both at the Beer Garden and, especially, Adrenaline.

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And from what is coming through the grapevine is that there will be more changes taking place at the venue which could see it offering new talent opportunities to be seen and heard and a partnership with a major music company to move things along.

Here is what these other bona fide clubs and hotel lounges in Hong Kong can learn from the HKJC: Don’t or refuse to change and be prepared to perish.

The times-they-are-not-changing. As the city’s recent Umbrella Movement proved, they have changed forever and only the brave will survive by thinking and doing things differently.

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