3 Festivals in One: Which Sonar Are You?Article by: Amanda Foschini|@foschini
Mon June 15, 2015 | 00:00 AM
Sónar Festival , one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world, turns 21 this month and the Barcelona fest still bears its well-defined and fully functional "multiple personality disorder."
Wait, a festival with “multiple personality disorder”?? A dictionary definition says that it's "a severe condition in which two or more distinct identities, or personality states, are present in—and alternately take control of—an individual."
Yes, that’s Sónar in all of its three glorious distinct identities: Sónar Day, Sónar Night and Sónar+D, and knowing them and their particular traits will define your experience there. Whether you're into the traditional music festival set-up that goes all day and closes out at around 10 pm, or you're a budding creative professional looking to network, or you're the type who likes the party to start at around midnight and head into the wee hours of the morning, Sónar's "multiple personalities" have you covered.
Sónar Day is comprised of daytime parties (surprise), with a chill atmosphere, and mellower music from more live bands than DJs – even though killer bass lines are still a staple. The sunny part of the festival takes place in the heart of Barcelona right next to Montjüic, an idyllic hill that serves as one of the city's limits. Three stages form the pulse of Sónar Day, where fest-goers can meet new people and drink cold beers under the bright Barcelona sun.
The open-air SónarVillage stage, welcomes people to the festival at its opening on Thursday, June 18th, with vibes courtesy of artists like Hot Chip and Gramatik. SonarDôme is an indoor stage bathed in blue light that serves as the HQ for Red Bull Music Academy with groundbreaking artists like Floating Points and Skepta. Things get a little darker at SonarHall, a dark, cave-shaped stage, where music gets a little more serious with Evian Christ, Arca & Jesse Kanda, and Squarepusher. All three of those stages feature visual installations by worldwide renowned studios, that can be both an accompaniment to – as well as a pleasant break from – the music.
Sónar’s geekier persona offers a combination of technology, creativity, and new media. At the same venue where SonarDay takes place, Sónar +D is a parallel event/conference for professionals and enthusiasts of "the digital transformation of the creative industry," with exhibitions of outstanding projects by more than 1,000 companies from around the world. Talks with key players in the industry (like musician/cybersociologist Holly Herndon and Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler), tech shows, workshops (like one where you can learn to build a mute synth!) and networking spaces are woven into the Sónar +D fabric; it all offers a glimpse into the bright horizon of creativity in technology.
Come nightfall, leave your daylight and professional persona in Barcelona and head to the outskirts of the city, wearing your best festival swag. Starting on Friday night, Sónar Night's electronic music – in all its shades – is the one and only star. There's no sitting and no resting – just dancing, your only break being rides in the bumper cars – a Sónar classic – all night long. Dark stages that resemble huge airport hangars, as well as a killer sound system, create the perfect environment for a dance marathon that'll kick-off with a 10:45 pm Saturday set from FKA Twigs and a much anticipated comeback from The Chemical Brothers later that night at 1:30 am. The tone progressively gets stronger and more feverish as the evening develops, featuring big electro names like Laurent Garnier (who has closed the festival since its first edition), Jamie xx, Skrillex, Flying Lotus, and Seth Troxler.
Sónar Festival takes place in Barcelona from June 18th to June 20th, which means that time is running out to uncover your Sónar persona. So, which Sónar are you?