A Beach Party in November: the Corona Sunsets Festival

The Corona Sunsets Festival returned to Hong Kong this year on the 4th and 5th of November in Stanley, marking its second time in the city. Party goers swayed and danced to the music of both international and local artists, while children and other creative souls enjoyed the arts and crafts workshops that lined the streets of the promenade.

Even though the weather has noticeably turned cooler, and fashion store windows are now displaying their fall and winter collections, the festival brought Stanley Plaza back to the summery months, and transformed the entire harbor front into a lively beach party.

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A bottle of Corona in front of the music stage set up in the center of Stanley Plaza.

To match the chill vibe of the event, cold drinks and delicious finger food were also available at the event. Ice cold Coronas, with the mandatory fresh lime wedge, were available for purchase throughout the entire event, at $30 HKD per bottle. But this year, the Mexican beer company also introduced Corona-exclusive cocktails; their twist on the mojito, the Corojito, their version of the whiskey sour, the Corona sour.

Attendees of the festival snacked on delicious burgers and seared halibut steaks while enjoying the live music performances, courtesy of the partnerships with neighboring restaurants for exclusive package deals, including Beef and Liberty, and the Boathouse.

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Jeff Anello performing his set at the Corona Sunset Festival.

The Anello, a band that mixes indie, electronic and hip-hop music, was one of the first acts to kick off the event. Performing brand new music from their album The POP Experiment, Jeff Anello’s, the lead singer, energetic dance moves got the crowd moving and grooving.

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As the sun starts to set, Reverberation lifts the audience’s spirits.

Also performing were Reverberation, an African drumming band. The quartet kept the spirits of the crowd up with their fun beats and fast rhythms, while dancers and performers invited audience members to dance to the music.

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Two of the dancers at the festival.

To round off Saturday’s event, the local band Supper Moment was here to perform. Arguably one of the biggest homegrown bands in Hong Kong, the headlining act drew hordes of people into Stanley, despite the hourlong journey from Central that always seems to be plagued with traffic jams.  

Since admission to the festival was free, people were able to jam out to more well-known musicians like Supper Moment, while also being introduced to other lesser known artists.

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Supper Moment’s fans screamed their names while they performed their hit songs. Image credit: Corona

One of the biggest attractions of the festival was the arts and crafts workshops hosted by Corona; there were DIY dreamcatcher workshops, face painting, temporary metallic tattoos, and hair braiding. Admission to these workshops were free with the purchase of a drink. For $30, you could get both a beer, and get all glammed up.

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A young girl getting her arm decorated, at the face painting booth.

Corona hosts different versions of this festival in cities all around the world, including San Pancho in Mexico, Cape Town in South Africa, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Normally, the party is held on a giant beach, but to suit the city-dwelling folk of Hong Kong, the festival had to undergo a few changes.

In 2016, when the festival was first launched in Hong Kong, the event was held in the Central Harborfront Area, and liters of man-made sand was brought in to mimic the look and feel of a beach. However, for the citizens of Hong Kong, who rely mostly on public transport to get around, the sand was more of an annoyance, rather than part of the appeal of the festival.

This year, the decision to have the festival in Stanley seems to have been the right call. “There’s more people attending the festival this year”, says Jeff Anello, who also performed last year. “It’s more convenient like this, but they’ve kept the atmosphere the same.”

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A worker at the festival promoting their signature beer.

By having the event in Stanley, it’s close enough to the sea that people get to experience the breezy,  beachy vibe that Corona is known for; yet public transport is still available for easy access. In fact, in anticipation of the high number of attendees, the event provided a free coach back to the Chai Wan and Ocean Park MTR stations.

This casual, chill event far away from the usual hustle and bustle of daily life was a welcome reprieve for Hongkongers, with cool cocktails, yummy food, and great live music. Here’s to hoping that we’ll be seeing more of these in Hong Kong!

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The event was a roaring success.
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