2 April 2018

With each year come milestones and achievements celebrated by labels, artists and events alike, with 2018 being no exception.

Enric Palau (Sónar Festival, Co-Director, Spain) and Georgia Taglietti (Sónar Festival, Head of Communications, Spain) will join us at IMS Ibiza in May to discuss 25 YEARS OF SÓNAR: SHAPING UNDERGROUND CULTURE, examining the the world-renowned Barcelona festivals achievements and explain its extraordinary and innovative contribution to the genre.

During its 25-year history, Sónar has transformed the dynamics and atmosphere of the Mediterranean city every June. As one of the first urban festivals dedicated to electronic music, since its inception, the festival has been divided across Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night, with Sónar+D, a three-day congress dedicated to Creativity, Technology and Business running concurrently since 2013.

Ahead of their 25th Anniversary Keynote at IMS Ibiza, we asked Enric and Georgia to talk us through the evolution of Sónar over the years.



1. Aerial view of Sónar by Day

The 2017 edition of Sónar Barcelona (pictured above) attracted 123,000 attendees from 101 countries and featured over 140 performances, shows and DJ sets. The 2018 edition features Laurent Garnier, Black Coffee, Despacio (James Murphy + 2manydjs) Gorillaz, Bonobo, Bicep (Live), DJ Harvey, LCD Soundsystem and Thom Yorke among many other acts over the three days and two nights of the festival.





2. Sónar By Day – 2011

3. Sónar By Day – 1999

Photos two and three show Sónar by Day in its previous home at Barcelona’s CCCB. The green astroturf at SonarVillage has become emblematic of Sónar over the years and is one of many elements the festival has conserved, even as it has grown in size and scope.





4. A young Richie Hawtin digs deep into his vinyl collection at Sónar in 1999.

Hawtin’s relationship with Sónar began in 1997 and has continued to the present day, with his own professional evolution matching Sónar’s expanding mission to foster links between creativity, music and technology.

Over the years, Richie has found new ways to explore state-of-the-art technologies to create ways to engage and challenge his audience; last performing music alias Plastikman Live at the festival in 2014.

5. Richie Hawtin performing at Sónar in 2016

Richie Hawtin in 2016 pushing the boundaries of a conventional DJ set and live performance. This picture is the early development of his new show CLOSE, where Richie challenges the fine line between a conventional DJ set and live performance, using machines and software.

In 2018, Richie Hawtin returns to Sónar to present CLOSE at the 25th Anniversary.





5. Lorenzo Senni Oracle

6. Koreless Complex

Shows that combine state of the art technology with equally cutting-edge music are an integral part of Sónar’s DNA. Pictured above are Lorenzo Senni’s Oracle installation at the MACBA, and 2015’s ‘The Well’, an incredible AV show employing lasers and a huge parabolic mirror by Koreless and light designer Emmanuel Baird.






7. Sónar by Night, 1999 

Before moving to Fira Gran Via in 2002, Sónar by Night took place right by the beach in the Marbella sports complex. Here Angel Molina, another long-running friend of the festival brings the sun up in 1999. One of Sónar’s goals is to act as a bridge between the local and international scenes in each edition, featuring the best national talent alongside globally recognized names in electronic music.

8. Fat Freddy’s Drop – SonarLab Outdoor Stage 2017

The current Sónar by Night Venue hosts several stages; the 15,000 capacity SonarClub, the open air SonarLab and SonarPub and SonarCar, resigned in 2016 specifically for DJ’s to offer long-duration sets. Sónar by Night is also home to shows with a strong audiovisual component, attracting performances by artists such as Björk (2002), Kraftwerk (at Sónar by Day in 1998 and at Sónar by Night with a 3D show in 2013) and The Chemical Brothers (in 2005 and 2015). 





9. SonarMàtica

Since its early years, Sónar has been committed to being something more than a music festival. This photo shows SonarMàtica, a concept first unveiled at the festival in 1996 that focused on digital art and new creative applications of technology. Over the years the festival would expand on these themes, culminating in the creation of Sónar+D in 2013.

10. Sónar+D, the congress of creativity, technology and business

Coinciding with the move of Sónar by Day to Fira Montjuic in 2013, Sónar unveiled  Sónar+D. Oriented as a 3-day congress of Creativity, Technology and Business running concurrently to Sónar by Day, the congress includes installations, talks, exhibitions and displays of new technologies with creative applications. The 2017 edition added an entire extra day to the program, exclusively for professionals, which will be repeated in 2018

Sónar +D also feeds from and into the wider festival program, with tech-shows featured across all the festival stages, and prominent artists invited to give talks and workshops. Recent editions have featured artists and thinkers such as Brian Eno, Björk Jean-Michel Jarre and Richie Hawtin, as well as representatives of studios and companies of international note Including as United Visual Artists, Kickstarter and Spotify.



Secure your IMS Delegate Badge now to hear from Sónar and over 60 more industry leaders and innovators at IMS Ibiza on 23-25 May.