Five Hong Kong festivals you can't miss this autumn
Autumn signals the beginning of festival season in Hong Kong, and this year, there is something for everyone. Here are five you shouldn't miss
Pui O, Lantau
The festival: started just a few years ago, the Imagine Peace charity festival has grown from strength to strength. Scheduled to coincide with the International Day of Peace, it is a weekend to celebrate our connections with each other and with nature. The festival, held on a site between the sea and the mountains, encourages participants to fully engage in its activities and values: to enjoy, to appreciate and to leave no trace.
The music: expect a wide variety of sounds provided by local artists. Saturday will kick off with live bands who will give way to drumming groups and fire shows as night falls. Sunday starts a little more relaxed, as DJs and musicians create a mellow groove before turning things up as the sun goes down.
The activities: yoga, meditation and dance classes. Children are welcome to join, but only if they can tear themselves away from the art workshops, music lessons, games and shows that are lined up just for them. There will also be a flea market and sessions with masseuses and therapists.
The food: mostly vegetarian offerings made with local produce by local vendors. No takeaway boxes will be provided so festivalgoers should bring their own plates and cups.
The festival: the craft beer scene is exploding in Hong Kong, and Beertopia fully embraces the trend. For two days, more than 500 different beers from every part of the world will be on offer in front of the iconic Central skyline. Whether you're a seasoned brewmaster or don't know your pale ales from your porters, there will be new tastes to be discovered.
The music: a packed musical line-up spread over two stages provides the soundtrack for the weekend. The band stage will host local acts playing rock, funk and covers. For fans of dance music, the DJ stage will keep the party going long into the night.
The activities: everything you'd expect to go with your beer, but on a grander scale. Pub games such as giant beer pong, quizzes and darts will run over the weekend, along with a singles tent and a Wild West market.
The food: there won't be much danger of going hungry. Well-known vendors from around Hong Kong will serve up gourmet versions of fast-food classics as well as some more exotic tastes.
Secret Island Party
The festival: from the moment you don your costume and step onto the ferry, you leave behind the concrete jungle of Hong Kong and enter the world of the "secret" island.
The music: multiple stages for bands and DJs keep the tempo up all weekend, with styles from rock and ska to drum'n'bass and house. When you think you've seen it all, you'll find a new dance floor in the jungle or a disco on the beach. Keep going until the sun comes up or start afresh as you wake from your tent in the early morning to make the most of the day activities in store.
The activities: interactive art, silent cinemas, puppet shows, fire dance, drama acts, acrobatics, comedians, yoga lessons, craft workshops — this one's got the lot.
The food: pop-up stalls of all varieties provide festival favourites along with a few surprises — and plenty of coconuts.
West Kowloon Cultural District
The festival: for the past few years, tens of thousands of people have descended on the West Kowloon waterfront to enjoy Hong Kong's largest music and arts festival, Clockenflap. Huge line-ups of international artists are complimented by the best from the local scene, and while the 2015 schedule hasn't been announced yet, you can bet your bottom dollar it'll be Hong Kong's musical highlight of the year.
The music: from the most popular to the most experimental, home grown to international, there is music for everyone. Thousands throng to the Harbourflap Stage to cheer the headline acts, while basslines and light shows captivate at the Electriq dance tent, and more mellow acts serenade music fans sitting on beanbags at the acoustic stage.
The activities: wander through the arts area for barmy interactive installations, drama performances and local craft markets. For the younger ones, fun games, hilarious shows and crafty workshops provide hours of fun.
The food: treat yourself with some of the best fast food Hong Kong has to offer. Pop-up stalls from well-known venues offer dishes from all around the world.
Second Sunday of each month (plus second Saturday in October) until March 2016
West Kowloon Cultural District
The festival: built by the community and grown from the strength of previous years, Freespace Happening is a series of free events running until spring. The festival is for everyone and, regardless of your skill or trade, you are invited to get involved. Spread over the cultural district, the festival serves as an "open forum" for people to explore, engage, learn, teach and enjoy themselves.
The music: local bands, artists and DJs are free to take part, so the line-up is largely based on who wants to get involved. Expect variety and diversity and leave yourself open to new experiences.
The activities: the emphasis is on sharing — craft stalls sharing skills, literature readings sharing knowledge and ideas, and a farmer's market sharing its values about healthy and sustainable living.
The food: the farmer's market provides organic food, which is locally grown. Alternatively, set your blanket down and picnic on the grass overlooking the harbour.