Sónar, the Pioneer of Electronic Music Festival Culture, Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary


Words: Nika Bogdanic

Considered one of the top 10 festivals in the world, Sónar is a pioneer of electronic music festival culture. This year it will celebrate its 25th anniversary and offer a unique technology/art/music experience to its visitors from June 14 till 16 in Barcelona, Spain. Since its first edition in 1994, Sónar has worked to promote artists that push the borders of electronic and advanced music, bringing them to a broad audience every summer. Here’s how the festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary:

Top notch lineup, as always

In total, Sónar 2018 will feature more than 140 performances spread across 10 stages at Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night, including previously announced shows from the LCD Soundsystem, Gorillaz, Thom Yorke, Diplo, Richie Hawtin CLOSE, Laurent Garnier, Cornelius, Rosalía, Modeselektor, Olafur Árnalds, Kode9, Bonobo, Niño de Elche with dancer Israel Galván, Laurel Halo, John Talabot and Lorenzo Senni. Check the full lineup here.DESPACIO, the extraordinary club experience, will be the celebration core at Sónar by Day, with James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) and brothers David and Stephen Dewaele (2manydjs/Soulwax) behind the decks.

Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto will perform their new piano, electronica and a/v show “Two” as the closing concert of this year’s festival, on Sunday, June 17 at the Teatre Grec. Sónar 2018 will be one of only three shows in the world where you will be able to see both artists perform together this year. Check the concerts timetable here.

Sonar Calling GJ273b

Contact with an extra-terrestrial intelligence has been an object of interest and fascination for decades. Sónar Calling is the first ever series of radio transmissions to be sent to a nearby exoplanet that may support life. In total, 38 ten-second pieces of music have been sent, each one created exclusively for Sónar by artists linked to the festival. The transmission also included 3 pieces of music created by festival contest winners, selected from among 400 submissions hoping to be part of this unique collective message to extra-terrestrial intelligence. An answer could be received within 25 years, which would coincide with the 50th anniversary of Sónar.

Luyten’s Star b was specifically chosen as the target for the transmission, due to being the closest star known to harbour a potentially habitable exoplanet visible from the Northern Hemisphere. The potential life-supporting exoplanet is located 12.4 light years from Earth, more than 120 billion kilometres away. All transmissions have been sent from the EISCAT (European Invasive Dispersion Scientific Association) antenna located in Tromsø (Norway).

Sonar +D

Sónar+D opens its doors on Wednesday, June 13th, a full day before the official start of the festival, with a Networking Day exclusively for delegate pass holders. This event is held by and for professionals, creators and representatives from business and institutions, and includes a programme of conferences and workshops specifically designed to inspire debate and information exchange.Over 4 days, the key figures and projects giving shape to the future of music and creative technology will come together in Barcelona, with more than 100 activities, 150 speakers, over 5,000 accredited professionals and representatives from around 3,000 companies from 65 countries.

Among this year’s guests are organizations including NASA, MIT Media Lab, Amazon Music, Google Magenta, The Long Now Foundation, Mozilla, Shazam, Bandcamp; creators such as the Virtual Reality studio Felix and Paul; the pioneer in mixing Internet and music, Ian Rogers, current chief of digital area at LVMH; experiences designer Nelly Ben Hayoun; Augmented Reality artist Zach Lieberman, and Prince’s legendary sound engineer Susan Rogers, among others.

‘NO FLYERS NO POSTERS, 25 years of Sónar Image’

From May 24th to June 23rd, Centre d’Art Tecla Sala in Barcelona’s L’Hospitalet will host a re-interpretation of the main themes in the festivals campaigns over the last 25 years. It is not an exhibition organized chronologically or thematically, but an immersion into the unique world of Sergio Caballero, co-director of the festival and the artist behind its campaigns. It is a world that is sometimes fabulous and supernatural, other times provocative, naturalistic or simply moving.

Deliberately avoiding the use of flyers, posters or traditional media, this mixed media exhibition employs video, installations, sculpture, photography and archive material to evoke, warp and question the spectators’ memory of events.

25 years in 25 tracks
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the festival, the co-director Ricard Robles created a two-volume playlist, each with 25 of his favourite tracks by just a few of the groundbreaking artists who have been a part of Sónar. The playlists feature Kraftwerk, LFO, Orbital, Aphex Twin, Skrillex, Die Antword, Squarepusher, Flying Lotus, Beastie Boys, Dizzee Rascal, Richie Hawtin and more. Listen to volume 1 & volume 2!

To be a part of this unique technology/art/music experience and extraordinary celebration, buy your tickets here. See you at the festival soon!


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