What’s Pink Season?

[cs_content][cs_section bg_color=”hsl(0, 0%, 0%)” parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 25px 0px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text style=”color: #ffffff;”]“What’s Pink Season?”

Last year, I asked someone at a Pink Season event if they had heard of Pink Season. We were standing next to a huge Pink Season banner set up at a Pink Season event I helped organize. Surely he would know that Pink Season is Asia’s largest LGBTQI festival, a home-grown Hong Kong event unparalleled in duration and variety. Surely I had done my job in marketing the festival and events. Surely people knew about it. Surely.

“No, what’s Pink Season?” he answered.

I turned pink. The embarrassment in my cheeks was a rosey reminder not to assume that just because someone is gay that they know everything on the gay calendar.

So what’s up Hong Kong, why don’t more people know more about Pink Season?[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]First, I blame festival overload. We live in a city where everything gets a festival- there’s a beer festival, music festival, wine festival, art festival and comedy festival. And that just names the more mainstream ones and leaves out traditional holidays, like mid-autumn festival and dragon boat festival. No one in Hong Kong ever complains that there’s not enough to do. (Although, a quick Google search reveals to my horror there is not yet a cat festival!)

There’s also pink overload, what I consider an unfortunate inclination to associate that color with everything gay related, neglecting the other colors in the rainbow. For example, Pink Season traditionally follows Pink Dot, a similarly named but separately managed oneday festival that competes for the attention of the same sponsors and audience. To further confuse things, Pink Season is officially but distantly run by Pink Alliance, a charity organization that links LGBTQI-related groups together.[/cs_text][x_image type=”none” src=”http://www.triggerlappy.com/plugmag/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/article-pinkseason2016-01-1.jpg” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””][x_blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]THE PINK SEASON TEAM AT THEIR PINK DOT BOOTH[/x_blockquote][x_image type=”none” src=”http://www.triggerlappy.com/plugmag/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/article-pinkseason2016-02-1.jpg” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””][x_blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]ALL SMILES AT A MEETING JUST BEFORE THE SEASON LAUNCH[/x_blockquote][cs_text class=”cs-ta-justify”]The competition and the confusion aren’t the only odds stacked against it. Pink Season funding relies entirely on public donations and sponsorship, which gets tricky when you have to dance a fine line of supporting the LGBTQI community without being overly political. If all that seems like a steep planning curve, it curves ever upward considering the festival is run by a small team of volunteers. If no one steps forward to lead it, and that’s almost happened before, it simply wouldn’t take place.

I sat in on a Pink Season meeting and observed, like a fly-on-the-wall-drinking-abeer, how this year’s motley crew of volunteers were handling the stress and pressure. “Not bad,” I thought, noticing that they had massively upgraded in sponsorship and media attention. On top of the regular roster of big financial banks that tend to sponsor LGBTQI events in the spirit of diversity and inclusion, Deliveroo delivered as a major sponsor with another large donation coming in from an anonymous donor. Those in charge of PR had also stepped up their game, with Pink Season featured in most major English publications, like SCMP and HK Mag, including an entire issue of The List dedicated to the festival. (That should save anyone from the embarrassment of attending a Pink Season event not knowing they’re at a Pink Season event.)[/cs_text][x_image type=”none” src=”http://www.triggerlappy.com/plugmag/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/article-pinkseason2016-05-1.jpg” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””][x_blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]THE DIRECTOR OF PINK SEASON TAKES TO THE RADIO TO DISCUSS THE CALENDAR[/x_blockquote][cs_text]After the meeting, I sat for a chat and another beer with Philip Howell-Williams, this year’s Pink Season director, to ask him a few questions, swallowing my ego and getting into what the team has improved since last year.[/cs_text][x_gap size=”50px”][x_line style=”border-top-color: hsl(0, 0%, 30%);border-top-width: 1px;”][x_gap size=”50px”][/cs_column][/cs_row][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_image type=”none” src=”http://www.triggerlappy.com/plugmag/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/article-pinkseason2016-06-1.jpg” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=”” style=”float:right;width:50%;height:50%;padding-left:3%;”][x_blockquote cite=”Philip Howell-Williams, Pink Season Director” type=”left”]“Pink Season has grown a strong identity over the years and I think people recognize it and look forward to it.”[/x_blockquote][cs_text class=”cs-ta-justify”]

Give it to me straight, what has the team improved on since last year?

One of the big focuses has been on bringing in more education and family oriented events. We set out to engage companies involved in education, like the Economist.

We also deliberately started earlier this year, so we had more time to market the festival.

How has fundraising been this year? You were responsible for the fundraising last year, did anyone take over?

It’s pretty much fallen on me again. We’ve spent more time on marketing, so we are able to tailor that to what we think companies will want to sponsor and then get more involvement.

Was fundraising more difficult this year than last?

Well, it’s always a difficulty. Some long time sponsors pulled out because of budget restraints but we’ve had more attention from new corporate sponsors that haven’t partnered with us before. Even though it’s a lot of work, it’s been a benefit that I ran fundraising last year and now I’m the director. There’s been some consistency, I came in with experience from last year knowing the do’s and the don’ts. It gave me a lot of structure to carry it forward.

What else has been a struggle this year?

It’s a struggle dealing with so many different entities. You’ve got different companies which you rely on for venues, or as suppliers, and you have to rely on people who organize affiliated events to do so. Getting all that to align is one of the hardest parts when you’re trying to put the calendar together. There are so many aspects to consider. Multiplied by 5 weeks.

Is there much consistency in the companies and organizations that get involved?

It’s something we have to educate people about each year, partly because the calendar of events changes every year. The festival develops as different people direct it, it’s slightly different year to year. Through the years we’ve had key events that have been successful and stayed on the calendar, but you also want to try new events and see how they perform.

Has there been a good response to the educational events?

There’s been a very positive response, especially to the event, ‘How to Start Your Rainbow Family,’ because of the quality of the panelists.

With so many “pink” things going on, is it hard for Pink Season to stand out?

I don’t think it’s hard to stand out, but I think the market is confusing for people. Pink Season has grown a strong identity over the years and I think people recognize it and look forward to it. I think something the whole community could address would be to allow more collaboration and communication between groups. Working together more would be more beneficial for everyone.

Why should we get behind Pink Season?

It’s a good way to represent Hong Kong, and you have enjoyment on several levels, you’ve got great ways to meet new friends and something on the calendar for everyone. There isn’t another LGBTQI festival like this one and it’s still the largest one of this kind in Asia.

Honestly, sometimes it’s tiring, feeling obliged to attend so many events because we have to support the gay community. But we can afford not to go to a beer festival, or a music festival, or even a cat festival. The gay community, however, cannot afford less exposure, less participation, less initiative, or less support. In fact, the only way we’re likely to see equal rights is if the government sees more of all that.

So let’s get behind it. Go to the events, tell people about the ones you can’t go to, connect with people who might want to sponsor it next year, and ask yourself: do you have what it takes to plan a Pink Season?[/cs_text][x_gap size=”50px”][x_line style=”border-top-color: hsl(0, 0%, 30%);border-top-width: 1px;”][x_gap size=”50px”][/cs_column][/cs_row][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” bg_color=”hsl(0, 0%, 92%)” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 30px;”][cs_column bg_color=”hsl(0, 0%, 90%)” fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/2″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_image type=”none” src=”http://www.triggerlappy.com/plugmag/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/article-pinkseason2016-07-1.jpg” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””][/cs_column][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/2″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]

“We can afford not to go to a beer festival, or a music festival, or even a cat festival. The gay community, however, cannot afford less exposure, less participation, less initiative, or less support.”

www.pinkseason.hk[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” class=”cs-ta-center” style=”margin: 50px auto 0px;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_button size=”large” block=”false” circle=”true” icon_only=”false” href=”http://www.pinkseason.kh/” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””]SEE WHAT’S IN STORE FOR PINK SEASON 2016[/x_button][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” class=”cs-ta-left” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_author title=”About the Author” author_id=”4″][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]

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