Year after year, Clockenflap descends upon Hong Kong’s sparkling skyline and lights up the heart of the city and year after year we would watch photos flood the Internet and wish we were there. This year, Clockenflap turned nine and for the first time ever we made the trip.
That said we cannot comment on the move this year from the West Kowloon harbor front to the Central harbor front. We can tell you however that the convenience of having the festival at your footsteps and not having to travel to and from Kowloon like we’ve done on countless other occasions was not lost on us.
We can also tell you that after having lived in Asia for almost a decade, you know that the seasons can change twice within an hour and you even come to expect it. The weather was less than ideal this year but you’ll be hard pressed to hear many complaints about it like you might in the west. This is Asia, so it goes.
We arrived late on Friday and went straight from the airport, running at full speed toward the sound of Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi's ethereal voice that could be heard flooding even outside the gate as the Icalandic band started their emotionally charged show. Elsewhere onsite, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic and Rødhåd won small battles versus the weather and officially kicked off the 2016 edition.
The skies really opened up on Saturday and it wasn’t just a little bit of rain – it could have been a monsoon and it left festivalgoers frigid. But we braved the icy downpour and temperate drop for long enough to watch New Zealand dub band Fat Freddy’s Drop play for an audience of umbrella-wielding fans and I don’t care how miserable you are, trombonist, tubaist and all around spotlight stealer Joe Lindsay aka Hopepa will put a Cheshire cat sized smile on your face as his jiggles and jives his way across the stage. Lead singer Dallas may have our ears at home but it's Joe that has our eyes on stage.
Full disclosure: we missed M.I.A in favor of shelter and warmth but according to the South China Morning Post, the Sri Lankan rapper caused a stir and was booed after referring to Hong Kong as China several times. But shelter and warmth were found at the Electriq Tent where local house and techno DJ Ocean Lam slayed to an over packed house. Bless the rain because there were certainly a few people who went seeking shelter and instead discovered electronic music.
The weather was finally forgiving on Sunday and we got to indulge in Clockenflap’s stunning backdrop boasting the best of Hong Kong’s shining skyline. We’d seen photos from years before of skyscrapers sparking in the distance but this year being amongst them provided a backdrop bar none. It was also the first time we were able to get familiar with the site and effortlessly meandered from stage to stage without missing much of Crystal Castles, Foals, Birdy Nam Nam, Shy FX, SBTRKT and the Chemical Brothers, who all seemed to be playing at the same time and nearly overlapped.
Clockenflap is the kind of warm hearted festival that you can take your family but also find yourself still going when the sun comes up. People fly in from all over the world for the mainstay moment and we'll certainly be amongst them next year. Not convinced? See the full gallery above.