The inaugural Hong Kong Sonar Festival went off without a hitch bringing some of the finest electronic talents the fragrant harbour has ever seen. Saturday April 1st saw the Hong Kong Science Park play host to the likes of DJ Shadow, Gilles Peterson and many more as the Spanish Sonar Festival came to town.
The 14 hour long event, kill me, included keynote talks, a marketplace, workshops and virtual reality experiences as part of its Sonar +D programme as well as the musical talent on offer.
Despite being in the middle of nowhere the Science Park was a fantastic location which reflected the festivals creative mind-set and the weather was perfect to dance the afternoon away to at the main outdoor stage as the French Club Cheval manned the decks over at the Sonar Village.
It was a small first year and the organisation of the event was patchy at best, but the versatility of the talent on offer was invigorating and it fills me with anticipation for the arrival of more events like this. The technological innovation on show by the likes of The Vision Machine and Myriam Bleau were some of the most exciting aspects of the day and the fact that there were so many opportunities for audience interaction here was something that could only be done on a small scale like this. The lack of forewarning about the reservation only workshops however is a frustrating example of the mismanagement.
DJ Shadow took to the stage for his first time this year to the delight of the thick and smokey crowd. His 'Entroducing' era hits were mixed in with new tracks and visuals, but it was all quite tame as the sound escaped into the open air. The same can't be said for the bass heavy set of Nosaj Thing who played live with Japanese digital artist Daito Manabe. The indoor room kept the sound reverberating around and the pounding beats were punctuated perfectly by Manabe who used the audience and the artist as instruments in his work. By far the best set of the day.
A great showcase of both local and international talent Sonar is a welcome addition to the Hong Kong festival scene, with a little more organisation and more to offer to fill a hefty 14 hours it could quite easily become one of the highlights.