Dirty beats, clear enjoyable: Hong Kong’s unmissable music festivals | Travel

Most of us affiliate Hong Kong with gleaming skyscrapers, bustling trade and frantic markets. But a succession of homegrown and worldwide music festivals are turning it from staid metropolis right into a metropolis of music.


First and foremost of Hong Kong’s music festivals is the whimsically named Clockenflap. Starting out as a humble techno membership night time in 2006 after which a one-day competition in 2008, in a number of brief years it’s exploded right into a three-day extravaganza of music, artwork and tradition, pulling in global names whereas retaining an endearingly indie soul.

Clockenflap takes place proper on the Hong Kong harbourfront, with the skyscrapers of Central towering above festivalgoers and musicians alike, because the waves dance simply metres away. It’s a competition that’s at all times championed native arts and music simply as a lot because the worldwide drawcards, working exhausting to ship a genuinely eclectic lineup to its numerous viewers. Big names similar to Massive Attack, the Chemical Brothers and New Order have all graced the stage, alongside homegrown favourites similar to indie rockers Chochukmo, quirky all-woman “math-folkers” GDJYB and instrumental math rockers Tfvsjs.

Perhaps better of all, Hong Kong’s concentrated dimension makes it simple so that you can go exhausting all day – after which catch a taxi home for a full night time’s sleep earlier than doing it yet again. It’s a competition for all comers. A miniature Glastonbury – with out the mud.

Clockenflap’s silent disco in full swing. Photograph: Lee Kitmin

“Clockenflap has grown from a wonky acorn into a similarly-wonky Big Friendly Giant,” says Justin Sweeting, who co-founded the competition. “It is one of a very few events here which authentically celebrates culture and creativity, encourages social cohesion and in my humble opinion makes the city more vibrant and liveable as a result.”

Hongkongers have fond recollections of Clockenflaps previous – from the lunar eclipse throughout Bombay Bicycle Club’s set in 2011, or Fran Healey of Travis opening a yellow umbrella and crooning Why Does It Always Rain On Me in the midst of the 2014 umbrella revolution that divided the town, to 2017 and south London grime artist Stormzy’s delight within the harbour-front setting – and bafflement that anybody in Hong Kong had any thought who he was.

“My favourite moments are always stepping back and watching the crowds,” says Sweeting. “Those times I get to move around the festival, catching different collections of people all enjoying these joyous shared moments across the site. It’s an immensely rewarding feeling having any kind of involvement in something which brings so much happiness and connectivity to people.”

And whereas current years have seen an inflow of latest music festivals within the metropolis, he sees his competition as occupying its personal particular place within the ecosystem. “Clockenflap has always been about the sum of the parts,” he says. “The coming together of music, art, people, food, silliness and so much more, all set against the backdrop of Hong Kong’s iconic skyline. You couple all of that with the most positive festival crowd in the world, and it all adds up to something unique and very special.”
• This yr’s competition takes place on 9-11 November. Early chicken tickets now on sale

Clockenflap is not the one game on the town. Spurred by its success, in the previous few years a wealth of different music festivals have cropped up within the metropolis. International competition manufacturers have found that Hong Kong is keen to embrace the total competition expertise – with the additional benefit of with the ability to get home in half an hour.


Gilles Peterson at Sónar Hong Kong.

Gilles Peterson at Sónar Hong Kong. Photograph: Chris Lusher/Lusher Photography

Barcelona’s Sónar competition celebrates its second instalment in Hong Kong this yr, dropped at the town by the organisers of Clockenflap. Sónar’s emphasis on digital music and inventive know-how makes it Clockenflap’s youthful, hipper brother. The preliminary lineup has been introduced, with acts together with French deep home legend Laurent Garnier, tech-house act the Black Madonna and Japanese post-rockers Mouse on the Keys.
• This yr’s competition takes place on 17 March. Tickets now on sale

Road to Ultra

Road to Ultra is the smaller brother of Miami’s large Ultra EDM competition, which has been spreading its beats throughout the globe lately. Billed as a setup for Ultra China – which takes place in Shanghai – final yr noticed Hardwell, Kygo and Zedd headlining.
• Stay up to date for news of a 2018 event

Shi Fu Miz

Shi Fu Miz moves the party away from the bustle of central Hong Kong to a beach on Lantau Island.

Shi Fu Miz strikes the occasion away from the bustle of central Hong Kong to a seashore on Lantau Island. Photograph: Flavien Prioreau

Most of the opposite festivals on this listing all take full benefit of the town’s wonderful skyline, however Hong Kong has different, extra hidden belongings. The two-day Shi Fu Miz competition takes place on a seashore on Lantau Island, with a distinctly hippier vibe – assume yoga and meditation workshops in addition to world and digital beats.
• Look out for occasions in 2018


One of the world’s largest EDM festivals made its Hong Kong debut in 2017, pulling out all of the stops with large names together with Tiësto, Above & Beyond and Marshmello. The lineup drew within the crowds – and the organisers are promising greater and higher this yr. Unlike the opposite festivals, Creamfields is an indoor occasion – that means Hong Kong’s temperamental climate doesn’t have to be a priority.
• This yr’s competition takes place on 15-16 December

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