Clockenflap 2018, Hong Kong (On Film)

Monday, December 17, 2018

Here's Clockenflap 2018, Hong Kong's own music and arts festival, shot with a Kodak single-use disposable camera. 

Can I just start by saying how much love using disposable cameras at music festivals - I don't find myself fumbling with my phone when pushed around a claustrophobic mosh pit against sticky, sweaty bodies, and that really allows me to soak up the music and the atmosphere. Plus, the photos, when developed, usually turn out really organic and beautiful. 

Anyway, despite it being a three-day event, we decided to get the Sunday-only (11 Nov) tickets as the concert line-up wasn't great. Personally, I didn't want to miss going for a music festival when I was on exchange as it isn't very often I'll get the opportunity to go for one overseas. 

For Clockenflap, the location was definitely a huge plus. It's held at Central Harbourfront, a huge event space right smack in the middle of the central business district. I found the juxtaposition between the high-rise office buildings and the fun, colourful vibe the festival was going for rather appealing. 

I really liked how the festival featured local Hong Kong artistes that I personally wouldn't otherwise be exposed to. This particular band, which was actually the first band I watched at the fest, turned out to be the best one of the day. The lead vocalist is so versatile. 

Out-of-this-world giant inflatable art. 

One thing to note is Clockenflap's lack of an age requirement. In fact, the fest is branded as a family-friendly one, which was honestly quite strange considering the distinct smell of marijuana lingering in the air throughout. 

Props to the organisers, though, for incorporating mini stages with kid-friendly musical acts, as well as another little tent with fun magic and acrobatic performances. Most of the kids there appeared to be the children of expat parents though.

Sensi Lion - a Hong Kong reggae band with a lead singer that channeled serious Asian 'Bob Marley' vibes. Not my cup of tea, but apparently this band is pretty well known locally. 

Families, couples, friends - so many people were just lounging on the grass in between sets. 

Hi friends. 

And hey, that's us! 

Granted that my entire exchange life has thus far been one huge break, I can't really speak for most people though I can see how this festival serves as a getaway for those wanting to escape Hong Kong's insanely fast-paced ways for just a little bit. 

One of the reasons why I love attending music festivals is the fashion freedom I get. I definitely wouldn't consider myself particularly fashion-forward but I do find it fun to wear certain slightly more showy/ colourful outfits without getting judged and music festivals provide that safe space for me. 


This cheese-slathered hot dog was surprisingly yummy. 

The sun started to set at around 5pm, which provided a really nice backdrop for some of the mobile art installations to come to life. 

Like this one. 

Cotton candy fluffy dreams. 

After having dinner on the festival grounds, we decided to camp in front of the stage where Khalid was going to perform, one act in advance, so that we'd get a good view of the young R&B star. 

What took the stage before Khalid was this Japanese band, Cornelius. And while their music isn't up my alley, what most affected me throughout the whole waiting process was how rude some adolescents in the mosh pit were. Like us, they were awaiting Khalid's appearance, but somehow could not keep it together and kept criticizing the band on stage, even shouting profanities at them. 

This was made worse by how some people around them were in fact there to watch the Japanese band. The resultant exchanges were situations I'd rather not get involved in, and I'm glad all of us stayed out of trouble. Concert etiquette is so necessary. 

That said, it paid off and we got to see Khalid from the front-ish row!

Khalid's not the best at interacting with the audience, though I acknowledge that it could be due to the lack of time (he was only given a 1-hour slot). That said, he has a pretty great stage presence especially for a 20-year-old and his voice is just as great live as it is on Spotify. I mean, I'm a fan of Khalid's songs (yes, beyond 'Young Dumb & Broke') so I thoroughly enjoyed his set. 

Utterly exhausted, post-Khalid (though most of our energy was spent getting frustrated at the kiddos in the mosh). 

Pepperoni pizza mmmm. 

Night fall. 

Erykah Badu - one of the headliners, and the final act of the night, though I had absolutely no clue who she was before Clockenflap. Prior to attending the festival, we tried to listen to her songs and didn't really enjoy it. However, she had an immense stage presence live and I started getting really into it. 

With a voice as big as her hair, she took it away. 

Bottom right heh heh. 

Thank you for agreeing to come to Clockenflap with me, I really appreciated you guys' company.

In sum, Clockenflap is a pretty interesting music festival especially with its various fringe activities, especially those targeted at kids - that's quite unique and I don't think it's something available anywhere else. 

However, in my honest opinion, it's a great place only if you are someone who enjoys exploring and discovering new music, especially that of Hong Kong artistes'. Personally, I'd prefer catching someone whom I can scream lyrics with and for me I could only do that with Khalid, which is disappointing. It's probably not a festival I'd go twice unless it comes up with a really amazing line-up. This year's one was dismal, and putting The Vaccines and Khalid at the same time on different stages wasn't a good call at all, as these two acts probably have quite a substantial overlapping fan base. 

No regrets, nonetheless. It was still quite an experience. 

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