By The Loop HK
This year, the city’s most anticipated outdoor music event, Clockenflap, will return to the scenic Central Harbourfront on 22-24 November. As organisers, musicians and music-lovers gear up for Clockenflap 2019, we asked some of them to share a few pointers to help you maximise your festival experience.
For festival co-founder Justin Sweeting, diversity has been an integral part of Clockenflap’s DNA since day one. “Clockenflap is the coming together of all the things we hold so dear: music, art, food, people, silliness… all set against the backdrop of the city. We very much reflect Hong Kong itself — celebrating both East and West, new and traditional elements and catering to a highly diverse demographic,” he explains.
The breadth of music and art represented at the festival has not gone unnoticed. “It is such an amazing opportunity to explore all kinds of things, from big-stage bands to weird comedy,” musical comedian Ailee Slater adds. There are also family-friendly events and interactive booths for festival goers to engage with in between music and shows.
Clockenflap 2019’s first round lineup features international headliners Mumford & Sons, Halsey and Lil Pump, as well as top Asian acts like Japanese girl band Babymetal and Korean rock group Say Sue Me. Breakthrough artists like Norwegian indie rocker Boy Pablo and Californian post-metal band Deafheaven will also be hitting the stage. Shaun Martin, member of local indie band The David Bowie Knives, thinks the broad range of talent is partly what makes Clockenflap special. “It has exposed budding local musicians to new music as well as a variety of stage production and equipment being used. Hearing and seeing this variety is definitely a positive thing,” he says.
As for deciding who to see at the festival, Slater suggests festival goers “Make a playlist with a few songs from all the bands, especially the ones you’ve never heard of”, which is her pre-Clockenflap ritual. “There are always some real gems at the festival that nobody has ever heard of, and six months later they are super famous. Don’t miss out on great music just because it’s an artist you haven’t heard before.”
Once the music starts, it’s time to let your hair down and soak it all in!
Renowned music critic and DJ Yuen Chi-Chung has performed at Clockenflap eight times. “I always do an early Silent Disco DJ set. Looking at the audience dancing outdoor under the midday sun, it’s just a beautiful sight,” he says.
For Slater, the fun is in the small things, like: “Watching my friends play punk music in wedding dresses; dancing in torrential rain with out-of-town visitors; singing along to The Flaming Lips with the skyline in the background; and all the little moments where you just roll around on the grass and enjoy a different kind of Hong Kong life.”
Clockenflap has brought many positive changes to the Hong Kong music landscape. Rocky Chan, bassist of local indie group Call Back ASAP, has personally felt the effect: “As Clockenflap has evolved, they’re bringing in more people to discover and enjoy different genres of music, which has inspired local indie musicians like us to branch out and experiment with different things.”
Sweeting describes the festival’s relationship with the local scene as “symbiotic”, adding: “One feeds the other, and both are necessary for momentum. A fully formed and vibrant music scene needs various pieces to fit together.” So outside of Clockenflap, where can we go to enjoy live music?
“I love the vibe at TTN (This Town Needs) and Macpherson Stadium, where you have a friendly atmosphere, strong production and you can have a drink whilst watching the music. It’s a simple recipe,” says Sweeting.
Slater thinks the city can use more mid-sized venues: “For example, MOM Livehouse has been fantastic for this. Also, The Aftermath Bar has an amazing space, great sound and so many different live bands.”
The Wanch is Martin’s favourite — “There's something homely about it. It's an ever-present for music.”
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