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Long Time No See: Clockenflap gets back to live

Clockenflap Presents, the concert series organised by Clockenflap, Hong Kong’s biggest annual music festival, has announced Long Time No See, a one-day festival featuring some of the brightest musical talent in Hong Kong.

Taking place on Saturday 18 September at the 1,800-seat MacPherson Stadium in Mongkok, the show will mix much-loved veteran acts with up-and-coming stars. Among those performing are YellowPeril (featuring LMF’s Mc Yan), breakthrough acts such as Anna Hisbbur and Charming Way, and a full-band set from singer-songwriter Cehryl.

Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival last took place in 2018, the final pre-coronavirus edition (2019) cancelled at the last minute due to pro-democracy protests in the former British territory, which has been a special administrative region of communist China since 1997. Its 2021 edition is scheduled for 26–28 November at the Central Harbourfront Event Space in Central, Hong Kong Island.

Tickets for Long Time No See are priced at HK$480 (€52) + booking fee.

 


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Magnetic Asia ‘pained’ to cancel Clockenflap as crisis worsens

Magnetic Asia announced today (Friday 15 November) that the recent worsening of the situation in Hong Kong has made it “impossible” for Clockenflap festival to go ahead as planned next weekend.

The Clockenflap promoter had previously stated its commitment to putting on the festival, despite the cancellation of other high-profile events due to continuing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Mumford and Sons, Babymetal, Halsey, Metronomy and Bombay Bicyle Club were among acts billed to play the 60,000-capacity festival from 22 to 24 November.

However, due to “the escalation in the crisis this week, and the uncertainty this creates for the coming weeks” the event has now been cancelled.

“We still believe in bringing people together in positive ways, and will continue to unite people through the power of music and arts”

“While it pains every one of us at Magnetic Asia to cancel Clockenflap 2019, we still believe in bringing people together in positive ways, and will continue to unite people through the power of music and arts,” reads the statement from organisers.

Full refunds will be issued to all those who purchased tickets through official channels.

Fans have shown support for Magnetic Asia on Facebook, thanking the team for their efforts and sympathising with what was evidently a “difficult decision”.

Positivity and determination have characterised the live music community in Hong Kong since unrest began in June. Clockenflap music director and Magnetic Asia co-founder Justin Sweeting has been especially vocal in iterating the potential of music and the arts to bring Hongkongers together in positive ways during difficult times.

 


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Clockenflap organisers confirm event will go ahead

The final line-up for Hong Kong’s Clockenflap festival was released last week, as the event’s organisers state the importance of bringing people together “in positive ways” amid continuing unrest.

Bombay Bicycle Club, Metronomy and Nick Murphy are among the final additions to the Clockenflap line-up, which features previously announced acts including Halsey, Baby Metal, Lil Pump and Mumford and Sons.

The final line-up release, confirmation that the festival will go ahead as planned from 22 to 24 November, comes after the cancellation of Live Nation’s inaugural Rolling Loud Hong Kong last month.

The hip-hop festival is one of an array of live music events to be cancelled or postponed since anti-government protests began in June, initiated by the introduction of a controversial extradition bill. The proposal has since been withdrawn but protests for democratic reform in the special administrative region (SAR) of China have continued.

“This is precisely why we feel it is so important for Clockenflap to happen this year, more than ever, and to bring people together in kinship and collective creative inspiration,” Justin Sweeting, co-founder and music director of Clockenflap organiser Magnetic Asia told the South China Morning Post.

“We are 100 percent committed on our side, as are the artists, so now it’s up to the people to get behind us.”

“It has always been our aim to bring Hongkongers together in positive ways, and this mission has never been more relevant”

The organisers state that all artists and their teams have been monitoring the situation and are “fully aware” of what is going on. No acts have dropped out due to the protests. Artists will be allowed to “express themselves fully” at the festival, whatever their political leaning.

Safety of fans is another top priority, with thorough assessments and checks with “relevant local and international parties” taking place to ensure a safe environment.

Speaking to IQ in August, Sweeting noted that Clockenflap sales were up 17 percent from the same period in 2018 and that feedback on the initial line-up announcement was the “most positive yet”, despite many other events struggling in the city.

Sweeting and other Hong Kong-based promoters that IQ consulted at the time referenced the positive relief that live music was providing to a “hurting” city, a sentiment that continues almost three months on.

“It has always been our aim to bring Hongkongers together in positive ways, and this mission has never been more relevant,” comments Magnetic Asia co-founder and CEO Mike Hill. “With the ongoing situation in the city, and with many other events choosing to cancel, we feel that it is particularly important that Hongkongers have a fun and inspiring home-grown event to look forward to.”

Clockenflap 2019 is taking place at Hong Kong’s Central Harbourfront Event Space from 22 to 24 November. Tickets for the event are available here with a three-day pass priced at HK$1,490 (US$190).

 


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Magnetic Asia launches event marketing agency Arcc

Hong Kong-based event and entertainment company Magnetic Asia has announced the launch of event marketing agency Arcc.

The agency is dedicated to increasing effectiveness in event and brand experience marketing, using audience insight, market research, focused creativity and effective content.

A team of international and local marketing professionals will deliver services from content creation to channel implementation.

The Arcc team will also work on creating new event experiences and brand activations.

Clockenflap promoter Magnetic Asia and ticket distributor Asia Ticketing – which operates Ticketflap, one of five major primary ticketing companies in Hong Kong – are Arcc’s main partners.

Tickets for Clockenflap 2019, which takes place from 22 to 24 November, are available here. Acts including Mumford and Sons, Halsey, the Kooks, Superorganism, Lil Pump and Babymetal are performing at the festival.

 


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Live offers escape in “hurting” Hong Kong

As weeks of anti-government protests continue in Hong Kong, the city’s live music scene is a tale of mixed fortunes.

Millions of Hong Kong citizens have participated in ten weeks of protests, sparked by the introduction of a controversial extradition bill. The proposal has since been retracted, but protests for democratic reform continue.

One Hong Kong live music industry insider, who asked to remain anonymous, tells IQ that venues in the vicinity of the protests have been temporarily shut down, leading to the rescheduling or cancellation of multiple shows.

It has also been difficult to shift tickets for some events, says the source, with much of the concert-going demographic occupied with protest activities or “not in the mood” to attend a show.

“Audience buying motive is very low,” the insider tells IQ, “no-one knows if a show scheduled for next month or even next week will go ahead, so people are not willing to buy tickets in advance.”

Nick Willsher, founder of event consultancy firm Entertaining Asia and nightlife guide HK Clubbing, agrees that uncertainty is leading to some event cancellations.

“Audience buying motive is very low – no-one knows if a show scheduled for next month or even next week will go ahead”

“Chvrches were meant to perform here next week,” Willsher tells IQ, “but they cancelled the show due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’”.

American singer-songwriter Alec Benjamin and K-pop star Daniel Kang also cancelled upcoming shows in the city, in light of disruptions caused by the protests at Hong Kong airport.

While Willsher points out that most large scale events scheduled for the coming months – such as Clockenflap and Live Nation festivals Creamfields Hong Kong and the recently launched Rolling Loud – are still going ahead, he questions whether more international acts may be deterred by the footage they see online.

At the best of times, says Willsher, it can be hard to book certain artists due to the lack of medium-sized and multifunctional venues in Hong Kong. It is also “costly” to put on an event in the city, as little pre-existing event infrastructure exists, driving up ticket prices.

“Peoples’ attentions are understandably focused on other things right now,” Justin Sweeting, co-founder of Hong Kong festival Clockenflap and music director at promoter Magnetic Asia tells IQ.

“Although, with our own shows,” Sweeting adds, “we’ve seen an uplift in ticket sales over the period,” reflecting continued local demand despite the political uncertainty.

Magnetic Asia has promoted shows including Yo La Tengo, Yaeji, Alvvays and American Football in the past weeks, “which have all either been sold out, or close.”

“Peoples’ attentions are understandably focused on other things right now”

Although Sweeting notes a “more muted response on announcement” and a “slower sales arc than normal” in a city with already relatively late purchasing trends, he states that all shows picked up closer to the time.

Strong sales have not been the case across the board, however. Sweeting admits that some smaller capacity events have been selling more slowly than expected, with some other promoters’ events “being cancelled or more often postponed”.

International industry support for those in Hong Kong has been in no short supply. “I’ve had messages from industry people from around the world, asking if I’m safe,” says Willsher, adding that “we’ve just got to be positive and hope it all gets sorted out.”

For Sweeting, it has been “heartwarming” to hear from friends and peers in the international industry community, whereas another source says some artists are trying to organise benefit concerts to raise money for “arrested protestors and independent media”.

A recent event raised over HK$50,000 (US$6,400) in support of protestors.

In the long term, Sweeting states that civil unrest insurance cover for this year has skyrocketed.

“More broadly speaking,” says Sweeting, “the city is hurting, and the root causes don’t have quick fixes.”

“We believe that it is more crucial than ever that Clockenflap exists, giving the opportunity for people to come together for collective, positive inspiration”

Although it is “not easy to find positives at this time”, Sweeting hopes that “great art” may come from “great pain”. Recent concerts have provided a noticeable “release” for Hong Kong citizens, “with more energetic and enthusiastic audiences coming out.”

“We believe that especially given the current situation, it is more crucial than ever that Clockenflap exists,” continues Sweeting, “giving the opportunity for people to come together for collective, positive inspiration and quite frankly to have something to look forward to.”

The Clockenflap co-founder says sales for the festival are up 17% from the same period last year and audience feedback on the first line-up announcement has been the “most positive yet”.

“We will continue on our path, with sensitivity, and mitigate the risks wherever we can,” says Sweeting.

Taking place from 22 to 24 November, the Clockenflap line-up so far features artists including Mumford and Sons, Halsey, the Kooks, Superorganism, Lil Pump and Babymetal. Past headliners include the Chemical Brothers, New Order, Interpol and the Libertines.

Tickets for Clockenflap 2019 are priced from $104 for a day ticket and $177 for a weekend pass.

 


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