Clockenflap 2019 and Rise 2020 cancelled as HK’s domestic conflict hits its events programme

Due to the city’s ongoing and exacerbated clashes between police and members of the public, two of Hong Kong’s biggest annual events have been put on ice.

This year’s Clockenflap musical festival has been cancelled and next year’s Rise technology conference postponed to 2021. The news on these cancellations for both events was released late on Friday.

An announcement was made by events company Magnetic Asia that Clockenflap – Hong Kong’s biggest regular music festival – would be cancelled, via a post on its social channels.

The post, which was released in both English and traditional Chinese read:

“Due to the escalation of the crisis this week, and therefore the uncertainty this creates for the coming weeks, Clockenflap 2019 will be cancelled.

Until this week we were fully committed to delivering the festival. Unfortunately, the situation has now made this impossible.

To everyone who bought a ticket for Clockenflap, we’d like to thank you for your support. We will give full refunds on the selling price paid for the tickets purchased from official ticketing channels. Details will be sent directly to the customer who placed the order. The refund process will be completed within 4 weeks.

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…”

This year’s festival was set to feature appearances by a host of major alternative acts including Halsey, Mumford & Sons, Lil Pump, Babymetal, and many local acts. Though it is understandable why the decision was made, its cancellation is a major blow to the cultural scene for a city that has been chastised in recent years for lacking appearances by international acts. In a drought of entertainment, Clockenflap has often been seen as a yearly oasis.

The other major event that received the chop, Rise 2020, had its cancellation announced via an eMail statement to its previous attendees. The event’s organisers, Web Summit, stated that the 2020 edition of the tech conference (due to take place in March) would be scrapped, but would return in spring 2021.

TechCrunch was able to confirm the news with Web Summit and quoted the following statement in its report:

“Over recent months, we have been monitoring the ongoing situation in Hong Kong. Our number one concern is the wellbeing, safety, and security of attendees at our events.”

It added:

“Given the uncertainty of the situation by early 2020 and after consulting with experts and advisories, we have decided to postpone RISE until 2021.”

As one of the world’s biggest tech conferences, Rise’s cancellation is likely to be a professional gutpunch to Hong Kong’s marketing community. It serves as a major event for networking and inspiration for Hong Kong’s innovators. Rise 2019 gathered16,000 attendees from 114 countries including 385 speakers, 777 startups, and 553 tech investors.

At the risk of sounding like a horseman of the MICE apocalypse, it is extremely unlikely that these will be the last major promotions to get cancelled in the near future. As several sources from agencies and brands have told Marketing, over the past six months, multiple campaigns, announcements, and events of every stripe have been put on ice or put out of their misery entirely. While Hong Kong’s domestic situation continues to be fought in the streets, the marketing community is liable to turn blue holding its breath.

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