Clockenflap's Justin Sweeting on How 2023 is the Festival's Best Year Yet
February 10, 2023
Hong Kong will see the return of the city’s biggest international outdoor live music festival, Clockenflap, from Mar. 3 to 5, after a four-year absence due to city wide struggles and pandemic restrictions.
As Hong Kong exits its strict anti-virus controls, Hong Kongers and incoming festival tourists cannot be happier for the return of large-scale live music and arts, especially for Hong Kong’s biggest festival. This takes shape on the Central Harbourfront with multiple stages featuring local and star-studded international artists, lush F&B outlets, and a vibrant outdoor atmosphere for all to enjoy.
To capture the hype of Clockenflap’s return, we spoke to co-founder Justin Sweeting to understand why this year’s 12th edition will be the festival’s biggest and best yet hosted on Hong Kong's Island harbourfront.
Hong Kong is thrilled to have our beloved Clockenflap after a four-year absence. How do you feel about the imminent return of Clockenflap Hong Kong in 2023?
Absolutely delighted! It’s been too long and has been so nice to share some good news with the city in what seems like an age [sic]. Would say we all could do with something to look forward to.
With Hong Kong finally opening back up to the world, what does Clockenflap symbolise for the city’s music scene and location on an international stage?
We're thankful for the international reputation Clockenflap has developed over the years, as it is truly considered a world class event. The festival itself very much mirrors the city in many ways, in terms of its East-meets-West approach to programming, the blending of the classic with the relevant modern and more.
We hope that our return also signals a wider return for events and live music across the board.
How will this year’s Clockenflap reflect the new music scene affected and inspired by COVID-19, and the growth of local music?
One of the few positives to come out of the pandemic has been the necessary focus on local talent, and it’s been wonderful to see how the local music scene has blossomed through this time.
Of course, as always, local acts will play a key role in our programming, though it’s important to look deeper and rather than group things together, to see each act individually, in terms of which specific artists will work best in which specific slot.
On the flip side, we are also conscious that a lot of multi-bill line-ups in recent times have been very similar, and it’s important for us to be able to present a programme that is relevant but also fresh.
What audiences can expect for the 2023 return and new changes as compared to previously?
We have not had a Clockenflap since 2018 now, so this is very much a chance to reset and return stronger. All I can really say is that this comeback edition is shaping up to be our best ever.
What this interim period has shown us all throughout the pandemic is just how precious and important it is to seize the opportunities when you can!
As you say, this year’s edition is important for the city’s return to the international stage. How does Clockenflap seek to position itself for the imminent return of Hong Kong in the times ahead?
For us, there is no point doing what we do and going to all the trouble and expense to put on the festival, unless it is fun for people. Our position really remains unchanged.
We want to provide people with the best weekend of the year, and with the coming together of an inspiring line-up of local and international talent, an incredible festival site in the heart of the city, and a responsibly managed event.
We feel we will have all the pieces in play to enable that and bring people collectively together for great times again soon!
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