Bringing It To Hong Kong

Justin Sweeting, a native Hong Kong resident who since 2003 has been bringing Western indie acts to his city with varying degrees of success, just got a nice profile in the Wall Street Journal.

He first helped organize an indie music festival called Rockit, and then used those connections to launch another festival called Clockenflap in 2008. A year later, he started People’s Party featuring These New Puritans, Frank Turner and Ratatat.

In addition to that festival, which most recently featured Bombay Bicycle Club, Metronomy and the Naked and Famous, he now works for Untitled Entertainment, an Asian concert promoter that has brought MGMT and the Flaming Lips to Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei and Jakarta.

Sweeting told WSJ that he mostly created the job of indie music promoter out of thin air, as Hong Kong doesn’t have the sort of resources and infrastructure necessary to handle that genre of music.

Until recently, there were no medium-level venues. There were just large auditoriums and arenas for Canto-pop and major Western acts like Celine Dion, as well as tiny clubs for local groups.

Sweeting was able to form connections with promoters in other Asian cities so he could bring an artist to Hong Kong and the artist could then play in other cities.

But, most importantly, he says that the main difference is making the effort in the first place.

“The general rule is, if people are supporting it and asking for it, we’ll bring it,” he said. Upcoming shows include the Vaccines, Anna Calvi and the Horrors.