NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more

Accept

What are you looking for?

Sónar kicks off, blends artistry, technology and business in festival's 22nd year

The 22nd edition of Sónar, the largest electronic music festival in Europe, roared out of the gate Thursday in Barcelona. Considered the "most ambitious" iteration of the festival in Sónar's history, this year's programme has 147 performances scheduled between the festival's two campuses – Sónar by Day at Fira Montjüic and Sónar by Night at Fira GranVia – from Thursday to Saturday. But apart from the musical acts, there is a greater presence of audiovisual and technological shows than ever before. In addition, Sónar+D is an international tech conference at the festival geared toward artists, entrepreneurs and businesses and features over 120 activities and networking opportunities, showcasing big-name companies like Kickstarter, Google and Vimeo.The festival's biggest attractions include The Chemical Brothers, Skrillex, Duran Duran, Die Antwoord, A$AP Rocky, FKA Twigs, Hot Chip, Flying Lotus, Jamie XX and Arca.

SHARE

18 June 2015 09:43 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The 22nd edition of Sónar, the largest electronic music festival in Europe, roared out of the gate Thursday in Barcelona. Considered the "most ambitious" iteration of the festival in Sónar's history, this year's programme has 147 performances scheduled between the festival's two campuses – Sónar by Day at Fira Montjüic and Sónar by Night at Fira GranVia – from Thursday to Saturday. But apart from the musical acts, there is a greater presence of audiovisual and technological shows than ever before. In addition, Sónar+D is an international tech conference at the festival geared toward artists, entrepreneurs and businesses and features over 120 activities and networking opportunities, showcasing big-name companies like Kickstarter, Google and Vimeo.The festival's biggest attractions include The Chemical Brothers, Skrillex, Duran Duran, Die Antwoord, A$AP Rocky, FKA Twigs, Hot Chip, Flying Lotus, Jamie XX and Arca.


This year's Sónar programme features 142 artists from 30 countries performing 147 shows, with 35 Spanish artists represented, including haPional, Evol, lcc, Pedro Vian and Olde Gods. Almost 60% of the estimated 110,000 attendees are coming from other countries.

The Chemical Brothers – one of the most prolific artists at Sónar – are debuting their new album, 'Born in the Echoes,' at the festival Saturday night, almost a month before its official release on 17 July. But according to Co-Director Ricard Robles, the personality of Sónar comes from "the complexity of the whole programme." In this sense, Robles explained that it is thanks to big names like Duran Duran or Chemical Brothers that visitors come and discover new artists. With as many as 19 consecutive hours of performances on any given day, there are plenty of options to explore.

Co-Director Enric Palau said this year's festival is one of the "most comprehensive and ambitious" versions to date, mainly by expanding the transformation initiated in recent editions, going from a typical festival format to a cultural event model that integrates artistic performance with the technological and professional world, showcasing all steps of the creative process.

Developing a "new story"

Ricard Robles explained that with each change of venue "came the need to expand the physical format, but also the story of the festival." The move three years ago to new areas of Fira de Barcelona's Montjüic and L'Hospitalet venues helped the number of visitors to grow from 80,000 attendees to 110,000. "This is where we are and where we are comfortable," said Robles.

In addition, the professional fair organised within the festival, Sónar+D – which is a confluence of music, technological innovation and entrepreneurship geared toward artists, professionals and businesses – moved to Hall 4 this year in order to allow more space for an estimated 4,000 guests, according to the organisation. The move to Hall 4 also allowed more room for artistic displays more closely linked to innovation and the mixture of languages, with a monumental audiovisual and kinetic light installation created by the German studio ART+COM called 'RGB/CMY Kinetic.' During the three days of the festival, there will about 2,000 companies from around the world at Sónar+D, apart from festivalgoers interested in learning about new technologies.

As for the "new story" that Sónar+D is supposed to craft, Robles pointed out that those who enter the festival can now "come not only for the recreational or cultural aspect, but also to train you, make contacts, become a technological or artistic 'partner' and even look for work and financing your projects."

Robles said the tendency to expand the professional and business side of the event comes from "surveys done over the years" – more than 50% of the audience at the festival works or is studying disciplines that have something to do with technology or the creative world. "So it makes sense that the festival opened its increasingly broader offering towards content and applications that contemplate not only the leisure and cultural side but also the aspects of training and business activity development."

Sónar+D blends business, technology and artistry 

Before the rumble could be heard at Sónar 2015 in Montjüic Thursday, the international conference Sónar+D opened its doors. Over the three days of the festival, Sónar+D will host over 120 events and activities ranging from meetings and job interviews, a hacker competition and technological shows and installations like SónarPLANTA – a fair collaborated between Sónar and the Sorigué Foundation with technological expositions and artistic experimentation.

More than ever, Sónar+D is putting an emphasis on the business side of the creative industry. Big-name companies like Google, Vimeo and Kickstarter are standouts at the conference, and Yancey Strickler, one of the founders of Kickstarter is one of the speakers at this year's festivities. The conference is also holding job interviews with entrepreneurs and start-ups with investors willing to finance projects. These 'Meet the Investor' sessions are a complement to the usual 'Meet the Expert' feature, in this case focusing on meeting with leading professionals from the creative industries to guide new artists.

This year, a collective experiment related to 'big data' is being developed. During the festival, the Barcelona Computing Centre is deploying a large number of sensors that detect and follow cell phones that allow for real-time analysis as people amble through the grounds of Sónar by Day (Sónar de Dia). Besides, Sónar+D will have a powerful finale, with Bruce Sterling, an American author and the father of the 'cyberpunk' literary subgenre, delivering the conference closing.

Cooperating with the city

Of Sónar's 2015 budget of €7.85 million, 10% came from public coffers. The City Council apportioned €530,000 and the Catalan Government provided €250,000 in support of the festival. Furthermore, the festival's entire budget is increasing from €6.62 million in 2014.

The Directors of Sónar invited the new Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, to this year's festival. The organisers are confident that the good relationship they have always had with the Catalan capital and the City Council will continue with the new municipal government. They hope they will be able to renew the agreement by which the City Council supports initiatives like Sónar+D. The agreement lasted four years and now must be revised with yet-to-be-named partners.

SHARE

  • The first day of 2015 Sónar music festival in Barcelona (by P. Cortina)

  • The first day of 2015 Sónar music festival in Barcelona (by P. Cortina)