Asia News: Harry Potter Exhibit Comes To Tokyo; Korea: HYBE Selling SM Stake; Hong Kong: Live Nation Acquires Clockenflap; China: Performing Arts Comeback

3 ASIA clockenflap 1
WU-TANG FOR THE FANS: The Wu-Tang Clan closes out the Clockenflap Festival on the main stage in Hong Kong March 5. Live Nation has acquired a majority stake in Hong Kong’s biggest outdoor event. (Photo by Ben Marans/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)


Toshimaen Park Site Hosts Harry Potter

Tokyo’s famed Toshimaen amusement park, which closed in 2020 after almost 100 years in business, will be the site of the first studio tour for “The Making of Harry Potter” exhibit outside of the UK. The tour will open June 16 and run at least until Sept. 30.

The exhibit, which recreates sets from the iconic Harry Potter film series, is sponsored and organized by Warner Bros. Studios Japan.

It originally opened in London in 2012 and entertained more than 17 million visitors.

However, the Tokyo version, according to Kyodo news service, will be the “largest indoor Harry Potter attraction in the world.”


HYBE To Sell Stake In SM Entertainment

The battle over dominance of major K-pop agency SM Entertainment officially came to an
end in South Korea on March 24 when one of the contenders, HYBE, which manages BTS,
the biggest K-pop boy band in the world, announced it is selling its $435 million share in

According to Reuters, HYBEe said that it plans to “offload its entire 15.78% stake in SM for 564 billion South Korean won (approximately $435 million) after accepting a tender offer from Kakao.”

Kakao is an internet and media company that, along with its entertainment subsidiary, had competed with HYBE at the encouragement of SM, which resisted HYBE’s buyout attempt.

SM Entertainment reportedly feared its artists would be treated less favorably under HYBE’s management.


Live Nation Acquires Clockenflap Fest

Live Nation announced on March 22 that it had acquired a majority interest in Clockenflap Festivals and Clockenflap Presents, which are responsible for Hong Kong’s biggest annual pop music event, the Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival. The associated festivals and events will continue to be curated, managed and produced by the Clockenflap team, but will now have “access to Live Nation’s unparalleled festival portfolio and resources.”

The festival itself returned at the beginning of March with a sold-out weekend at its usual venue, Hong Kong’s Central Harbourfront Event Space, after four years of non-activity due to various circumstances, including the COVID pandemic. The next festival will take place before the end of the year, Dec. 1-3.

The company also presents regular touring concerts in Hong Kong under the brand Clockenflap Presents, so Live Nation will provide a huge advantage by helping to bring international acts to the city.

In a statement, co-founder and music director Justin Sweeting said, “It was a wonderful feeling seeing a capacity crowd at the festival … Clockenflap has one of the most postive and open-minded audiences in the world. The Live Nation team share our vision for Clockenflap being one of the best city festivals in the world, and with Live Nation’s support and resources, I’m excited for the future of the festival.”

Sweeting’s partner, co-founder and managing director, Mike Hill, said, “Over the last 15 years we have grown Clockenflap into a world-class three-day festival. By joining forces with the global leaders in entertainment, Live Nation, we can continue to grow the festival and expand our event activities in Hong Kong and regionally.”

In the same statement, Roger Field, president of Live Nation Asia Pacific, lauded the festival’s expertise and said, “Partnering with Clockenflap further demonstrates that Live Nation is committed to bringing world-class festivals and live entertainment experiences to Hong Kong fans.”


Performing Arts To Make Comeback

China’s performing arts scene is expected to grow substantially in 2023. In February, artists from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau were allowed to perform on the mainland, and foreign artists are returning in full force as well, according to the South China Morning Post.

The Shanghai Oriental Art Centre had already scheduled 91 performances from March to early April, but “only a few” are international artists.

The China Association of Performing Arts said it expects an “explosive growth rate” in large-scale outdoor performances, including concerts, this summer and beyond.