Tens of thousands of music lovers attend the 9th annual Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival in November 2016. Photo Credit: Kitman.
Discover Hong Kong
Now in its 10th year, the Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival takes place on the Central Harbourfront on Hong Kong Island on 17, 18, and 19 November 2017. Indie and altie rock, electronic music, multimedia art, installation art, and film fill out the programme.
Massive Attack, The Prodigy, Kaiser Chiefs, Feistt, Stormzy, Kid Ink, Mo, Jungle, Supper Moment, The Dandy Warhrols, Tinariwent, and Seth Troxler are among the headline acts this year.
All told, more than 100 local, regional, and international acts will perform on five stages.
Clockenflap has been lauded for the "pioneering role it has played in nurturing the Chinese indie and alternative music scenes, as well as bringing international talent to Chinese audiences".
The Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival, commonly abbreviated to "Clockenflap", is an annual music and arts festival held in Hong Kong.
It incorporates international, regional and local live music, film, art installations, street, and kids' areas. 60,000 people attended the 2015 event, and it was widely considered Hong Kong's premier music event of the year. An even larger crowd of 70,000 people attended the event in 2016.
Clockenflap was founded in 2008 and organized by Jay Forster, Mike Hill, and Justin Sweeting. Their stated goals for the festival were to nurture the Hong Kong arts, music, and film scene and "put the city on Asia's contemporary media-arts circuit".
The first Clockenflap festival was held in a concrete public space in an empty housing development called "Cyberport" in front of 1,500 attendees.
The festival was later expanded to a vast expanse of land along the waterfront in Kowloon known as the West Kowloon Cultural District.
The festival has moved across Victoria Harbour to Harbourfront on Hong Kong Island, which is within walking distance of Central.
The jury is still out on which venue is better. I'm partial to West Kowloon because of the spectacular backdrop of the Hong Kong skyline across Victoria Harbour.
But the Harbourfront site on Hong Kong Island does have one key advantage: it is more accessible to public transportation.
More Than Music
While music is what draws the crowds in their tens of thousands., there is more to Clockenflap than rock.
Other attractions this year will include interactive experiences such as a mirrored cavern, a gigantic evolving structure made of helium-filled balloons, an electro-glyph enhanced Mayan temple, and a installation made from rubbish from the streets of Hong Kong.
It wouldn't be a festival without food, and Clockenflap is no exception. There will be a food bazaar with yummy bites from around the world and a variety of food stalls.
Eat and drink on the run or spread out a blanket and have an impromptu picnic – just make sure that everything you eat was purchased on site.
Food and beverage cannot be brought in from outside unless it is for babies. Bottled water, however, will be available free of charge and there will also be water-filling stations to keep your water containers full
If you don’t want to go home empty handed, there will be a Craft Market with 30 stalls. You can expect the face painters and temporary tattoo artists that seem to populate festivals such as this. There will also be the chance to learn new skills, with special workshops for the kids.
What's in a Name?
Nobody seems to know what Clockenflap means or how it came about. It just sort of happened. There will be a competition this year to create a Cantonese translation of the term.
My only question is: why bother? Cantonese speakers love to sprinkle their conversation with English words.
A Look Back at Clockenflap 2016
An estimated 70,000 music fans attend the Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival in 2016, which is held at the Harbourfront on Hong Kong Island. Photo Credit: Kitman.
Dancing to the music at the Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival in 2016. Photo Credit: Derry Ainsworth.
Hanging out with friends at Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival in 2016. Photo Credit: Derry Ainsworth.
Silent disco under the sun at Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival in 2016. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher.
Silent disco under the stars at Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival in 2016. Photo Credit: Kitman.
Learning something new at Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival in 2016. Photo Credit: Kitman.
Can you feel the love tonight at Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival in 2016. Photo Credit: Adam Davis-Powell.
Rocking under the stars at Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival in 2016. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher.
A good time was had by all at Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival in 2016. Photo Credit: Kitman.
Here's a quick reference guide to this year's festival:
- Friday 17 November 2017 – 5 to 11 pm (six hours)
- Saturday – 18 November 2017 – 2 noon to 11 pm (11 hours)
- Sunday – 19 November 2017 – 2 noon to 11 pm (11 hours)
Central Harbourfront Event Space – 9 Lung Wo Road, Central, Hong Kong.
Clockenflap is not for music fans of slender means. With early-bird tickets sold out, general admission tickets for all three days that are purchased at the door will set you back HK$1,940.
General admission tickets for Friday will cost HK$1,030. A general admission ticket for Saturday or Sunday will run you HK$1,100.
November is one of the driest months of the year in Hong Kong in terms of both rainfall and humidity, and the temps tend to be mild. Surely weather is one of the key reasons the festival is scheduled for this time of year.
There are, however, no guarantees, and the festival will go on even if it rains. The only exception would be an extreme weather event, such as a typhoon. In the event of a typhoon, festival goers should monitor the festival’s page on Facebook.
Here ‘s a look at the weather forecast as of Monday morning, and it looks dicey …
- Friday – partly sunny with a high of 28 degrees Centigrade (81 degrees Fahrenheit), which will feel like 33 degrees, winds of 11 km/h, and a 14% chance of rain.
- Saturday – clouds and sun with a brief shower or two with a high of 28 degrees Centigrade (81 degrees Fahrenheit), which will feel like 33 degrees, winds of 13 km/h, and a 55% chance of rain.
- Sunday – cloudy and cool with a high of 22 degrees Centigrade (72 degrees Fahrenheit), which will feel like 20 degrees, winds of 20 km/h, and a 45% chance of rain.
Weather forecasts in Hong Kong are notoriously inaccurate so keep your fingers crossed. Please keep in mind that even if it rains, umbrellas will not be allowed.
Organizers have promised, however, more sheltered areas than last year.
How to Get There
- MTR – take the MTR or Airport Express to Central, Hong Kong, or Admiralty station and walk, taking exit A at Central and exit A2 at Hong Kong (the two stations are linked). Follow the crowds to the venue; it will take about 10 minutes. From Admiralty, walk through Tamar Park toward the Waterfront Promenade and turn left. The walk will take about 10 minutes.
- Bus – take any bus destined for (or passing through or by) Central, Admiralty, or the Outlying Ferry Pier and walk to the site. It will take five to 15 minutes.
- Ferry – after exiting the ferry terminal, turn left and walk to the venue. It will take only one or two minutes from the Star Ferry – a bit longer from the Outlying Ferry Piers or the Macau Ferry Terminal in Shun Tak Central.
- Taxi – ask the driver to take you to the Star Ferry and walk straight ahead. The walk will take two to four minutes.
- Private car – park at a public parking lot at City Hall, ifc, or Pacific Place and walk. There is no public parking lot at the venue. The walk will take five to 15 minutes.
What to Take
- Depending on the weather, sun screen, hats, and sunglasses (if it’s sunny) or a rain poncho (if it rains) are recommended.
- Bring blankets and beach towels if you want to spread out on the ground.
- Small bags, backpacks, and small folding chairs are okay.
- Mobile phones and point-and-shoot cameras are allowed for personal use.
- Baby buggies or strollers are allowed as long as you are bringing a child. Don't use them to transport things!
What to Leave Home
- Don’t bring skatebaords, umbrellas, hard back chairs, lawn furniture, glass containers, drones, walkie-talkies, flags, laser pointers, fireworks, explosives, chains, chain wallets, weapons, or similar items.
- Don’t bring professional cameras or audio recording devices, big zooms, detachable lenses, tripod, or commercial rigs.
- Outside food and beverage is not allowed except for babies.
- This will be a drug-free zone and plain clothes police officers will be interspersed among the crowd.
- The same goes for pets (except for seeing eye dogs, of course).
What About Smoking?
Smoke only in designated areas.
On-going political tensions in Hong Kong and recent terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe have the authorities on edge so there will be larger police presence than usual.
Plain clothes police officers will be dispatched through the crowd on the lookout for illicit drugs and to maintain order. An attendee died at a recent concert in Hong Kong. Was it an overdose?
Counter-terrorism officers will also patrol Central and barriers will be erected to prevent car-ramming attacks.
Plus note: the information in this post is for reference only, and no responsibility is taken for inaccuracies. Do your own due diligence and double check facts on official webpages.
All photos are courtesy of Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival. Individual photographers are credited.