Friday at Clockenflap Hong Kong – the bands to see
Synchronise your watches, wrap up warm and tie down loose furniture: Hong Kong's biggest music festival is here, and our daily guides will help you get the most out of the festival
Clockenflap is a sprawling festival, with almost 120 acts performing over three main band stages, two electronic stages, two theatre venues and two immersive entertainment spaces.
To help you navigate the event and give you the most Flap for your buck, we’ve pored over the schedule and put together some suggested itineraries. Here are our recommendations for Friday at Clockenflap, day one of the festival.
Arrive early to beat the crowds, and after passing through the main entrance next to the Observation Wheel, you’ll find yourself a stone’s throw from the Electriq Stage. Opening the festival’s dance tent is Hong Kong-born, Berlin-based electronic producer Ashwin Khosa, whose deep beats will set the tempo for what is sure to be a big night (but pace yourself – it’s going to be a huge weekend).
Cross over the middle of the site to the FWD Stage – the second biggest stage of the festival – to catch local retro-rock heroes The Boogie Playboys, who have been fixtures at Hong Kong’s increasingly popular rockabilly events.
Next to the FWD Stage you’ll find Clockenflap’s Harbourflap Stage, where the biggest acts of the festival will be playing. Opening the main stage in 2016 is local singer-guitarist Michael Lai, a former busker who will be enjoying his biggest moment in the spotlight to date.
Halfway through Lai’s set, you may hear some strange sounds coming from the FWD Stage; don’t be alarmed – it’s just I See The Light Before Our Planet Explodes getting started. This experimental Hong Kong band, who formed from the ashes of the acclaimed Elf Fatima, are the first of many post-rock bands playing throughout the event.
After half an hour of feedback and guitar noodling you may be looking for something more upbeat, so head to the Robot Stage – the festival’s second electronic arena – to catch local girl wonder Janette Slack. This DJ/producer always knows how to get the party started, and her performance at Clockenflap in 2014 was one of the festival’s highlights.
With a new spring in your step, you’ll be ready to head back to the Harbourflap Stage to catch much-loved local singer-songwriter Ellen Loo. The founding member of influential folktronica outfit at17 has gone from strength to strength as a solo artist, and she will be performing hits from a catalogue stretching back an impressive 15 years. Expect singalongs galore.
Watch: Ellen Loo on Clockenflap, Hong Kong politics, and multi-lingual songwriting
Grab a quick bite at the food bazaar, find a place to sit at the Club Minky cabaret theatre and catch the first of several performances by Australian comedy trio Aunty Donna. Described as cross between Flight of the Conchords and The Mighty Boosh, the absurdist Aussies have won acclaim Down Under for their hilarious YouTube web series – and they’re probably even funnier in the flesh.
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From Club Minky we now recommend a bit of a trek across the festival site to the KEF Stage, where acclaimed local post-rock band TFVSJS will be in full swing. For more than a decade, this arty outfit have been producing “math rock with a Canton twist”, and they’ll be in fine form at Clockenflap after a summer of touring throughout Asia.
The moment many Clockenflappers have been waiting for is here: Sigur Rós performing against the Hong Kong skyline. The Icelanders have a devoted local following, having dropped by for two large-scale concerts in the past, and their epic, symphonic, emotional set has the potential to be one of the standout moments of 2016.
End the first night on an upbeat note by moving next door to the FWD Stage to catch funk legends George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. Clinton is one of the foremost innovators of funk music, and his bands Parliament and Funkadelic tore a swathe through the 1970s with their hard-hitting, cosmic take on the genre. Now go home and get some sleep – you’re going to need it tomorrow.
Get the full line-up for Clockenflap 2016