Sónar 2018 closed its most successful festival to date with 126,000 attendees from 119 countries. The festival offered 150 musical performances distributed across 10 stages (6 at Sónar by Day and 4 at Sónar by Night), presenting 230 activities and projects at Sónar+D, with more than 500 speakers and exhibitors. 64,000 people from all over the world attended Sónar by Day and 62,000 Sónar by Night. We had the opportunity to experience the entire festival and here’s what our favourite performances were:
- Yaeji at Sónar by Day
Kathy Yaeji Lee, known professionally as Yaeji, is a Korean-American electronic music artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Her style blends elements of house music, trap and hip hop with mellow, quiet vocals sung in both English and Korean. From her 2016 debut release, Yaeji’s songwriting is funny and deeply introspective, tackling topics including Korean identity, anxiety, therapy, and the tyranny of makeup and skincare culture in a mix of Korean and English. Her performance at Sónar by Day on Thursday 14/06 created an atmosphere of extreme happiness, where a huge crowd danced under the sun at the SonarVillage stage to her tracks, such as “Raingurl”.
- Laurent Garnier at Sónar by Day
Laurent Garnier’s performances allow him to share his knowledge and experience, as well as provide an authentic master class in his art. During his long career, he has continued to win over new audiences by continually reinventing himself, while always maintaining the passion that first made him stand out behind the decks in the late 80’s. Sónar’s 25th anniversary wouldn’t be the same without the French DJ that built a collective euphoria at SonarVillage on Thursday 14/06 under the title ‘Laurent plays Garnier’. This set provided a retrospective of his career behind the decks, from his very first songs to the most recent ones, leaving everyone goosebumped.
- Bonobo Live at Sónar by Night
Simon Green aka Bonobo took over the SonarClub stage on Friday night performing tracks mostly from his sixth album “Migration”. With his excellent musicians and tracks transmitting both emotion and technical skills he managed to create a mesmerizing atmosphere like he always does. Besides the music and the impeccable sound, the lovely visuals took this show to a whole new level. Even though mostly focused on the tracks from the “Migration” LP, hits such as “Cirrus” and “We Could Forever” were a part of the show as well, making the crowd jump a bit higher.
- Bicep at Sónar by Night
Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson form one of the strongest and most revered partnerships on the international electronic scene. They have been releasing EPs, singles and remixes since 2010 as well as releasing material from other artists through their blog and label, Feel My Bicep. They took over the SonarLab stage on Friday night with one of the most energizing sets we have ever heard. The experimental mix of contemporary garage and classic techno sounds took us on an unforgettable journey, while the fantastic visual show, as well as the high-quality sound, enhanced the experience. The duo included hits such as “Glue”, “Just” and their remix of Isaac Tichauer’s “Higher Level” in their outstanding set.
- 2manydjs at Sónar by Day
The darkest and fiercest space at Sónar by Day was definitely Despacio, the home of the Dewaele brothers during the entire three days of the festival. They were also in charge of the closing set at SonarVillage, a stage they haven’t played before. The two selectors and masters in mixing closed out three days of performances, music and celebration at Sónar by Day in their inimitable style. The set was not only a journey throughout the contemporary electronic music but also a reminder of all the tracks that should have never been forgotten such as Jaydee’s “Plastic Dreams”.
For one year only, Sónar 2019 will take place one month later, on July 18, 19 and 20. The following year Sónar 2020 will return to its usual dates, June 18, 19 and 20. Continue supporting music, creativity and technology. Get your tickets here.
Words: Nika Bogdanic