For the past five or so years, Clockenflap has been livening up our city’s music atmosphere. Founded and organized by Jay Forester and Mike Hill of HK’s Robot collective, the flagship festival ran in Cyberport on 12th January 2008 for a single day. After some fluctuations with location and duration due to space and government restrictions, it now looks like the festival is set to continue to be one of Hong Kong’s annual treasures. Since 2011, they seem to have found the perfect location on the West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade and has been a two day festival, for two years running.
It’s a mix of international and local acts, brightening up the city’s scene for a weekend.
After being out of the city for two years, Clockenflap 2012 was the first one I attended. I’m a huge fan of music festivals, big and small. I was sad to have missed acts like Santigold in the previous year, but I, like most I would imagine, were looking forward to the year’s headlines: Azealia Banks and Alt-J from the US and UK respectively. But like many will notice, sometimes it’s even best not to expect anything, so that when you stumble across a new talented band, they really blow you away.
What I love about Clockenflap is that it generates a giant buzz through the musical community in the city. The energy level is so high and is similar only to the late March hype of the Rugby sevens. While the Sevens focuses on sports and playful patriotism, Clockenflap is more about discovering international and local bands. At the same time, the sense of pride we develop for having our own big music festival creates a kind of solidarity for Hong-Kongers.
On a more city personal level, the festival gives our local musicians a incentive to prepare and rehearse in the months leading up to the big show, and then expose the outcome of their hard work to thousands of people. Clockenflap 2012 showcased diverse local talent from the Hong Kong Welsh Male Choir, to XXX DJs Enso and Yao, to crowd-pleaser Jun Kung.
No doubt, many people are convinced buy tickets because of the big-name international acts, but the best thing is that in venturing out, they are able to discover local gold. Overall the sense of excitement and the relaxed vibe of the festival is a great asset to our city. It’s awesome to see that the music has the power to coax us busy Hong-Kongers away from our school and office work to spend some time appreciating our city and each other.
In the next couple of years, I for one am looking forward to more local bands playing and even headlining Clockenflap.