Culture, Live Reviews — December 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Clockenflap festival: an airy carnival


What a weekend! I’m not sure that any other festival in the world has such striking scenery: set in Kowloon Waterfront Park, facing Hong Kong Island in a grey and cloudy but beautiful view, Clockenflap was a simple, joyful and complete festival.


Yes, it was a real one, the kind of festival where you need to walk/run to see the next gig, plan ahead your schedule at least a little, and miss half of a gig you like – sometimes to end up regretting the move.

The organisation was excellent; the Clockenflap team did a great macro-micro scan of all the festival-goers’ basic needs and made our (slightly brainless) life easier during these two days! The kids’ playground was like a camping space with smiley balloon animals, activities, and a bunch of happy kids. Each of the three main stages had a smaller electro one placed side by side to avoid silent gaps and were far enough not to overlap each other (except for the small acoustic Time Out Stage). There were design origami plastic chairs and comfy fluorescent elastic seats. Enough food, drinks and toilets (yes, this is important). And above all, the sound quality was really good for an outdoor event.

The line-up featured mostly Hong Kong and major UK-US acts, and some bands from Europe and Asia. It wasn’t a discovery slap but there were some real cool surprises that made my head/body move for a while (Ok, and I was whistling ‘212’ the whole Saturday evening and Sunday morning before going back to the site).

Speaking of her, Azealia Banks was something: she took the stage with her super long hair, mini-shorts, DJ and two dancers, and stringed together her strong hip hop short tracks without respite. Great performance, and friendly, and hot. !!! was kind of spaced-out, with Nic Offer running around, jumping in the crowd and still catching up on time. These guys are stage animals and their music is highly recommended! DP displayed their energetic heavy-rock in a bright show, without the headaches. They began as two, then eight or something, with two drums kits, brass and Sun Eskimos’ singer – and all that worked pretty well.

Justin Sweeting said to Music Weekly the other day in an interview, Clockenflap’s mission is to “establish[…] an event that is Hong Kong’s annual marquee music and arts event, which makes a difference to the community and continues to push things forward on several level”. It was my first Clockenflap, and this statement exactly reflects my overall feel. Well done Clockenflap, mission accomplished for 2012, and I’m sure one can expect even more fun next winter!


Day 1 favourites: Azealia Banks, !!!, Sushi Robot, Chochukmo, Sun Eskimos, Primal Scream
Day 2 favourites: Brandt Brauer Frick, DP, De La Soul, Klaxons