Missing it on the first night of it’s opening, I made it into West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade on the second day of Clockenflap for the rundowns during the evening. With a total of 6 stages and 2 family friendly spaces, The Bearded Lady Slide Show and the Film Tent; the event covered the whole space of the shore, allowing guests to enjoy the ongoing performances against the backdrop of the Chinese boat sailing harbor.
Packed with line ups and group of crowds during the night of the 30th; I have to admit I was quite confused as to where I was. There is map billboard near the bar before the Silent Disco, but other than that it was just you and your memory with the festival guide. For those who have never been to Clockenflap, the whole festival also ran on a coupon system where you purchase food and drinks with the paper slips which you buy with money. I luckily picked up on that by peeking at others, but some did not and it was quite dismissing when they’ve been lining up for ages just to realize they weren’t able to get themself a coconut or that scrumptious looking burger.
Surprisingly though, regardless of the amount of people that was there; lines were in order and no one ever budged. It’s quite interesting to mention too that the festival guide encouraged people to speak to strangers. Everyone seems to have dropped the usual cold culture of Hong Kong once they entered the festival and everyone was with smiles and opened to interactions.
Since I was there at night, everyone else seemed to know where they belong already. A bundle of dancing people were at the Silent Disco head banging to headphone tunes, others were sitting on the grass eating and chilling, whilst some others were getting ready for the upcoming line ups on the main stage of Harbourflap.
I took the chance to walk to the less crowded space near the Vans stage and the Art Village where pinned up skateboards, street dancers against a New Era logo sculpture with interactive light artworks and a huge totem pole by Entendre Studios stood.
Kids and adults sat around this area, whilst some of the fathers lined up for a fresh haircut by hair stylists in the Vans off the Wall section.
Walking back to the Harbourflap stage afterwards, I got myself some prawn cakes and spring rolls with a coconut from the Koh Thai and sat myself right in front of the big screen enjoying the night with The 1975 and steaming hot food. For the first night, I would say I have yet to get into the festival vibe and was aware of the lack of knowledge I had for all the bands that were performing.
I tried again the next day, accompanied by our photographer who already has familiarities with the area since the first day of the festival. A completely different experience, I jumped right into the lovely mood of the daytime, enjoying my lunch and dinner at the venue. With the sun shining and just right breezes hitting; Clockenflap is definitely the best event to attend with your family. Picnics took over the grassy planes, with children having a great time around the playgrounds that were originally there.
Having a chance to walk through the Clockencraft Market; a lot of interesting handmade items were there on sale.
The Kids Area right across was just as entertaining, with performers singing and playing with attending parents and children in the open area.
Walking past the Harborflap stage, I caught Tegan and Sara on stage and swayed with the other audiences to the tunes under the bright sunlight.
On the other side of the venue, passing by the lovely Light Drawing area where this huge inflated cloud was situated, was The Your Mum Stage.
Nevertheless my bottom had a load of grass stuck to it after sitting in front of the stage waiting for the performance by Frandé from Taiwan to start; it was great to see everyone else opening up to such new music in the local scene. I was surprised with the band too as it was nothing like I have heard before, but I liked it!
How can we not mention about the beer and beverages served on sight? Expected for high prices, I would say at least every single thing I bought there was of a decent size and of quality; including the plastic pint of Carlsberg I got to go with the short walk I took to The Bearded Lady Side Show.
Like walking inside a gypsy tent, a small stage rests at the end and everyone else either stood or laid on the Aladdin like carpets on the ground, dozing off under the shade.
A lot of people was wearing the official Clockenflap beanie merchandises at HKD$260 but I spent more of my money on trying different foods in the festival instead. Serving sets of coffee with either cookie or croissant; I took a break at the Kuuchi Café before catching Metric at the main stage and glanced at passer bys. Very different from the usual pace in Hong Kong, everyone was taking their time; and even though there were a few slanted walking figures between groups of people, most of the individuals I have encountered were more focused on enjoying the good music rather than chucking down booze. If you were to judge the success of this festival according to the feeling of the attending guests; I would say it deserves an A as everyone was polite and engaged with the actual musical purposes of the event.
One of the things that might be a cause in stopping people from attending these festivals other than it possibly being very crowded is the hygiene level of the toilet stalls there. From what I can tell, there are two different ‘styles’ of mobile toilet stalls at Clockenflap, and ones with “Toi Toi” tagged on the doors are the better ones to go for. “Toi Toi” has a hook for bags inside, foot steppers to flush the toilet and to turn on the water from the basin. They have seated and non-seated ones; and even though it did get a bit dim in the stall during night time, I thought it was relatively clean overall.
Apart from the stages, there is also a wooden Polaroid house and the Dinosaur Enclosure space which I only briefing visited. A lot of adults also enjoyed the spacious sitting area at the Cider Garden at the very edge of the space near the Reply Stage.
Dinner was a lovely chicken ‘bun’ vermicelli noodle from noodle mi. Filling, tasty, and just good for my 6 coupons of $10 dollars; I took my time with it before walking over to Your Mum stage again to discover some new music.
I don’t know about you, but I was there to find something new to the ears. And as the festival guide book say; this festival really didn’t disappoint me in doing so. Tuning into the performance by La Femme from France, they did a great job hyping up the audiences at the Your Mum stage relatively early on during the night. The psyche- punk rock band is composed by 8 members in total, with each and every one of them very active whilst performing. Whether dancing or running, some of them were dressed with Chinese traditional clothing and hats which made their performance especially memorable and humorous. Upbeat and very ear- catching, it was not hard at all to get caught in their melody and unfamiliar lyrics of French. Their song “Anti- taxi” pushed the crowd to the climax and it was sad to see their performance end.
Overall, the rundown of every performance was pretty on spot to the times in the festival guide; until Metric’s performance got troubled by the muted mic which took quite a while to fix. Benga at the Van’s stage was also delayed which resulted in a shortened performance. The 1975 was also on an hour later than schedule. Of course, things happen during big festivals like this and there’s only so much the organizers can do; it was just amazing how the audiences reacted so positively without immediately throwing swear words out in the air and waited by cheering and keeping the vibe pleasant.
Overall, I enjoyed my time at the Clockenflap. The weather was great and the performances were good. Arts and crafts were present, but I would love to hear a bit more about them. Jealous about the kids having the chance to participate in DIY workshops at the Vans station; I would love to get more involved in workshops during the festival too. The food was good, the drinks were too; but most of all, the participants and guests were all essential in making this event such as enjoyable event to go to.
See photo of Clockenflap Day 1 here.
Written by Joyce Tsang