If you haven’t been paying attention, allow us to get you up to speed! Festival season is always a tricky one – how do you choose what festivals to go to when there’s just so bloomin’ many? Panic over, because TicketWeb are here to give you the lowdown on the best events happening across the summer. This installment is dedicated to Sonar Barcelona, which you can snap up DISCOUNT tickets for here. Yep, that’s right, until 7th May 2015, you can snap up 3 Day Passes for just £129.50 – that’s a £23 saving!
Created in 1994, Sonar has carved its name as one of the leading electronic festivals of the season. Unlike other music festivals, Sonar also focuses on advancements in music technology and gives space for the latest gadgets and gizmos to be showcased within the festival. Based primarily in Barcelona, over the last twenty years Sonar has gone on to host in loads of really amazing cities around the world, including Reykjavik, Buenos Aires, New York, London, Frankfurt, Seoul, Lisboa, Lyon, Hamburg, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Boston, Denver, Oakland, Los Ángeles, Tokyo and Osaka, to name but a few! Today, however, we’ll just be focusing on the Barcelona leg.
So, Barcelona! The good news is that Sonar is easily accessible from the UK. The easiest way to get there is to fly into Barcelona airport, which is just south-west of the main city centre. It’s best to check online to see what the best deal is for you from your local area. There is a marshaled area to pick up a cab from outside the airport but for those looking to save a few euros, there are many different bus transfers that take you into the city centre. There is also a train service that runs to Clot, Passeig de Gràcia and Barcelona Sants – from there you can change onto the Barcelona Metro to get to where you need to go to. The Barcelona Tourist Guide website has handily noted down all the details, if you want to find out more about getting to and from the airport, just head here.
The festival isn’t your bog standard ‘festival in a field’, rather it takes the format of being held at different venues across the city for the different parts – Sonar by Day and Sonar by Night (there’s three day events and two night ones) – and doesn’t offer any camping/accommodation, so you’ll need to arrange this yourself. Depending on how much budget you’ve got, we’d recommend checking out Hostelworld.com, airbnb and the offers on Sonar’s website to get a better deal.
Sonar by Day takes place at Fira Montjuïc, and this is where you’ll be able to check out the technology we mentioned earlier at the ‘festival within a festival’, Sonar+D. Sonar+D takes all the latest tech and talent from across the world and showcases it under one roof – this could be anything from conferences, workshops, shows, expeditions, hackathons or networking events with artists, brainiacs and corporations alike. Basically, if there’s an inner geek lurking inside you, Sonar+D gives you the chance to indulge you and your nerdy self.
Obviously though, it’s not all about the geeky stuff, because you didn’t travel all the way to Barcelona just to check out some gadgets, right? There’s some serious partying to be done! Taking place across the many rooms at Fira Montjuïc, the festivities have a ‘grown up’ feel to them, although don’t let this fool you into thinking this is for the feint hearted! Kicking off at midday and closing things up at 10pm, this is ten hours of serious partying with some of the finest names in electronic music!
If you haven’t completely done yourself in by the time 9.30pm rolls around (or you opted not to go the whole hog and just do the PM event), there is, of course, Sonar by Night. Taking place at Fira Gran Via L’Hospitalet, the night edition is the bigger of the two events. The partying steps up a notch as Sonar takes you right through to the wee hours – doors open at 9pm, the music starts at 9.30pm and last entry is 5am, so be prepared for a long ride into the sunrise!
Because Sonar takes place at night and is not based right within the city centre, it’s best to plan how you’re going to get home in advance of heading down there. There are many transport options, but it’s advised that you try to avoid taking a taxi as there will be a huge demand for these.
Sonar run a shuttle bus for just 2,50€ – Line 1 takes you from Sónar by Day (Av. Rius i Taulet) to Sónar by Night on Friday and Saturday from 8.30pm to 11pm, Line 2 is an uninterrupted bus service from Plaça de les Drassanes and Sónar by Night on Friday and Saturday from 8:30pm to 8am. This will take you roughly ten minutes. You can also get the FCG (train). Sonar have listed all the available transport services from both the locations here.
Sonar line-ups of yore have included massive names such as:
Kraftwerk, Pet Shop Boys, Skrillex, Simian Mobile Disco, Lana Del Rey, The Roots, Deadmau5, Hot Chip, Modeselektor, James Blake, Fatboy Slim, Richie Hawtin, Amon Tobins ISAM, Squarepusher, Nicolas Jaar, Luciano, Azari & III, Jacques Lus Cont, Friendly Fires, Metronomy, John Talabot, James Murphy, Four Tet, Dizzee Rascal, Nicolas Jaar, Toro Y Moi, Tyondai Braxton, Little Dragon, Floating Points, Actress, Apparat, Global Communication, Hype Williams, Gilles Peterson, M.I.A., Aphex Twin, The Human League, Cut Copy, Boys Noize, Die Antwoord, Trentemoller, A-Trak, Scuba, Steve Aoki, Omar Souleyman, Grace Jones, Late of the Pier, Buraka Som Sistema, Richie Hawtin, SebastiAn and Erol Alkan, to name a just a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of the massive names that have played at Sonar Barcelona over the last 20 years.
Playing the 2015 edition of the festival year are…
The Chemical Brothers, Skrillex, Duran Duran, Die Antwoord, A$AP Rocky, FKA twigs, Flying Lotus, Róisín Murphy, Jamie xx, Arca & Jesse Kanda, Squarepusher, Hot Chip, Autechre, Siriusmodeselektor, Kindness, Laurent Garnier, Ten Walls, Sophie, Francesco Tristano, Kiasmos, Lorenzo Senni and up to 150 others across the 3 days….
You can grab the latest line-up from the Sonar website here.
As if all that info wasn’t enough, we caught up with Sonar’s Georgia Taglietti to get the inside scoop on this year’s festival…
What is the spirit of the festival?
The experience of two festivals in one, in June in Barcelona. Sonar by Day and Sonar by Night have turned the festival into the perfect spot to have fun and discover new talents at the same time. For the people who are enjoying the festival every year, Sonar is like Christmas in the summer! Electronic music meets new technologies, three sunny days and two nights non-stop in the beautiful setting in Barcelona.
Who is the festival for?
People who love electronic culture from all over the world. No camping though. An urban festival since its beginnings, Sonar is the hub of electronica, in its various genres and fields.
Is there anything you could recommend for festival goers to check out off-site?
The hill of Montjuïc indeed. If you can have a walk up to the top of this hill, on whose slopes Sonar by Day is located, you will enjoy one of greatest views of the city of Barcelona. And, of course the beach – have a splash before coming over to the festival site By Day. Born is also one of the nicest “barrios” (quarters) and near the by Day site there are several trendy spots.
And is there anything we should check out on site?
Visit the Sonar+D area, with the various activities which are non music oriented. A festival within a festival, Sonar+D gathers and exhibits the best examples of technological innovation and creativity from all over the world, potentiating the exchange and the interaction between visionaries, artists, developers, entrepreneurs, technological companies and specialized media for shaping the future of the creative industries.
And with that, we conclude our Sonar Barcelona Festival Guide! Are you thinking about getting yourself a ticket? Of course you are – you can do that here.