The Sonar Festival in Barcelona has developed into one of the very best meeting places for lovers of avant-garde, electro, hip hop and dance music. Held annually in the middle of June this three day musical extravaganza describes itself as a festival of ‘advanced music and multimedia art’, and it is all that and more. In recent years world-renowned artists such as Kraftwerk, the Pet Shop Boys, Beastie Boys, Chemical Brothers and Björk have been amongst the headline acts but each year there are upwards of 300 activities in just about every multimedia format you could think of. Musically there are DJs, VDJs and concerts of all types of electronic, avant-garde and the complete spectrum of dance music as well as film presentations and installation artworks.
Barcelona, of course, is a vibrant and exciting city in its own right and, along with the lure of the Catalan capital and its Mediterranean beaches, the prospect of three days of exciting, progressive modern music is attracting more visitors to Sonar every year.
Sonar By Day
There are two distinct aspects to the Sonar Festival – Sonar by Day and Sonar by Night – and festival-goers can purchase Sonar festival tickets for individual elements or there are combined 3 day Sonar tickets for those with unlimited stamina. Sonar by Day tends to be focussed around the Centre of Contemporary Culture (CCCB) and the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, situated quite near Las Ramblas, and as well as live concerts and DJs there are audio projections, exhibitions, record and clothes fairs and conferences and debates. There are also smaller events held around El Raval and the Barri Gòtic as well as at the Centre d’Art Santa Mònica.
A recent innovation has been the development of SonarKids which provides music, workshops and classes for children during the Festival days, giving them the opportunity of both listening to and participating in some exciting projects.
The SonarPro Fair, which has grown in significance and size over the past few years, gives the industry’s professionals the opportunity of displaying their latest products – and aficionados the chance of getting their first glimpses of them.
The major venues for the daytime events can all be reached via Metro Lines 1 and 3 at Plaça Catalunya or Lines 1 and 2 at Universitat. Alternatively, bus lines 9, 37, 65, 79 and N17 pass by them.
Sonar By Night
Sonar by Night moves more to the west of the city to the enormous venue of the Fira Gran Via 2, an area of more than 10,000 square metres divided between open air and covered spaces, in the L’Hospitalet area of the city. It’s worth knowing that the cost of a Sonar by Night ticket automatically includes a free pass for the special shuttle bus which ferries back and forth from Plaça de les Drassanes throughout the night. The Fira Gran Via 2 can be reached on Bus Line 79 or by Metro Lines 1 and 3, to Plaça de Espanya. Additionally, there is the aforementioned all night Sonar Bus.
Sonar Festival Information
The Sonar Festival has its own website and its own Sonar Facebook page where you can keep up-to-date with all the latest news and information. Barcelona is always a crowded city in the summer and the Sonar Festival brings many extra people to the Catalan capital. For this reason, it is important to reserve your accommodation well in advance of the event.
You might find that some hotels and apartments in Barcelona will only allow you to book for a week and it’s not uncommon for apartments to ask for a security deposit. There are, however, many good value places along Las Ramblas and in El Raval and the Gothic Quarter so it should be possible to find somewhere suitable for spending an exciting time in this unique and vibrant city.
For this year’s Barcelona Sonar Festival there are individual day tickets available for each of the three days of the festival, you can buy individual night tickets as well or simply buy the three day and two night pass to cover all events during the festival.