HT Fact check: The Hong Kong Fringe Club is not closing

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The popular social media post asking individuals to RSVP to a Hong Kong Fringe Club leaving party on the 27th of August refers to a private leaving party for their current owners, Benny and Catherine.

When musician Chris B saw a post that said the Fringe Club was closing, she couldn’t help but share it on her personal Facebook page. Other musicians, actors and artists soon got wind of the imminent closure and shared it as well.

Screenshot of the post via The Underground Facebook

“Even the Fringe is leaving us” said the post of one individual who shared it. “What is happening to the city”, said another.

Some musicians reminisced about their times playing at the Fringe, tagging their friends and posting pictures and videos of their performances there.

However, there was one problem. The Fringe Club is not closing.

After 147 shares, Chris spoke to staff at the Fringe who who confirmed that they were not closing.

“The two bosses are leaving” Benny & Cat” Chris told Harbour Times. “This Saturday is a private leaving party”.

The club will continue to be managed by the board after the departure of Director Benny Chia and Administrator Catherine Lau on the 27th. At time of writing, both are still listed on the Fringe website as being in their positions.

The Fringe Club has been contacted for comment.

Will the show go on?

Despite the misleading event, the future of the club has not been optimistic. Nestled in the humble Grade 1 listed Dairy Farm building shared with the Foreign Correspondence Club, the Fringe Club is known for its rotating musical and theatrical performances from less established or mainstream performers.

However, COVID-19 restrictions currently ban performances outside of LCSD venues making the Fringe reliant on their art gallery, which is free for visitors. The current exhibition featuring the Frog King, who designed the Fringe logo, is running until 27 Aug. It is free to enter, but with prior booking only.

A limit to the number of patrons at restaurants and bars has also made it difficult for the F&B industry to survive, and out of the Fringe’s three restaurants, only NOVE at the Fringe, a Chinese restaurant and dim sum parlour, remains open with The Vaults cafe and Collette’s Art Bar closed.

There are also worries that the lease may not be renewed, said Chia in a previous interview.