Sónar 2024 gets underway: Dancing on 'World's Biggest Dancefloor'

Bikôkô, C.O.U., Nicole L'Huillier, and Judeline are among first performers in Barcelona's electronic music festival

Catalan artist Bikôkò sings at the SónarHall stage at Sónar electronic music festival during one of the first performances on June 13, 2024
Catalan artist Bikôkò sings at the SónarHall stage at Sónar electronic music festival during one of the first performances on June 13, 2024 / Jordi Borràs
Gerard Escaich Folch

Gerard Escaich Folch | @gescaichfolch | Barcelona

June 13, 2024 12:34 PM

June 16, 2024 11:41 AM

Barcelona's electronic music festival Sónar got underway on Thursday with the first edition of the Sónar by Day at Fira de Barcelona exhibition halls.

Bikôkô, C.O.U., Nicole L'Huillier, and Judeline will be among the first performers at the event playing at Sónar de Dia on Thursday, which will take place from Thursday to Sunday in Barcelona.

C.O.U. is a new and mysterious and psychedelic Catalan music project. While Bikôkô, is a rising local artist with her African roots and influences, where the Tanzanians chants and West African rhythms are part of her smooth blend of r&b and neo-soul. 

Bikôkô moved to London, but years later, she is debuting at Sónar with a new live show after an appearance in 2021.

Catalan artist Bikôkò during a performance at the SónarHall stage at Sónar electronic music festival on June 13, 2024
Catalan artist Bikôkò during a performance at the SónarHall stage at Sónar electronic music festival on June 13, 2024 / Jordi Borràs

And while Sónar has many Catalan roots, there are international and Spanish artists such as Judeline, a 21-year-old Andalusian singer with a distinctive, personal mix of tradition and experimentation. She has already collaborated with singers such as Alizzz, Oddliquor, and Tuiste.

Her personal brand sees Judeline with a melting point of hand-clapped rhythms, pop experimentation, and the emotion of flamenco.

Morgane from Belgium and Catalans Xavi and Mari were among the first guests at the Sónar music festival.

While Morgane "wanted to dance, meet new people, listen to good music," the Catalans wanted to return to Sónar for years as they had not been "to Sónar for a long time. The first time we came was one of the first editions, and we only missed it when we had a child. Then we stopped for a while, and now we are back," they both said to Catalan News.

But Sónar is not only about music, there is also the Sónar+D, a place for innovation showcasing over a hundred initiatives, one including the representation and the use of modular synthesizers.

"I love the room with modular and machines, which is why  I come for, technology. I like the innovation as well and the people," Patrick, from the UK, said to this media outlet.

And while Patrick was coming out of the SónarPark by DICE stage, Karsten, traveling from Denmark, was enjoying a drink near the Sónar Village, the largest stage in Sónar by Day, in the middle of the event.


"Electronic music is one of my things. I love it. It is really nice, so far, it has been really nice, and I love the way that it is set up," she said to Catalan News.

A shared feeling by Fran and Clara, both from Spain and speaking to this outlet while enjoying a gig by Barcelona-based Meritxell de Soto, one of the great standard-bearers of the deconstructed club, a sound born of a wave of artists from all over the world who have arrived on the scene to blow up any pre-established structure.

"I love the exhibitions. It is very different from other music festivals because it is not just music and high prices, there are a lot of audio-visually interesting things. I really like that there are different atmospheres and that every room is totally different," they said.

Main events at Sónar 2024

French electro-pop duo Air return

The French electro-pop, Air, will make their return to Sónar by Night after their hit 'Moon Safari', which continues to enthrall thanks to its rich and timeless sound. As well as launching the careers of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel, the album contributed a number of tracks to the pop-music canon, including the classics ‘Sexy Boy’, ‘All I Need’ or ‘La Femme D’Argent.’ 2024 sees the first time the duo will perform the full album in its entirety with a full band.

Club music artists

Sónar by Night, but also Sónar by Day, arrives with plenty of artists on the club music, such as  Paul Kalkbrenner, Ben Böhmer, and the DJ duo Adriatique. Elsewhere, the biggest names in contemporary club music will direct the crowds on the ‘World’s biggest dancefloor: with Charlotte de Witte’s live show ‘Overdrive,’ through to live acid techno from Reinier Zonneveld, via key figures in the EU club scene, Jennifer Cardini b2b HAAi, Floating Points, VTSS, Anetha and Héctor Oaks b2b Partiboi69.

2024 Sónar electronic music festival attendees enjoying the first afternoon on June 13, 2024
2024 Sónar electronic music festival attendees enjoying the first afternoon on June 13, 2024 / Jordi Borràs

Electronic sunsets

The sunset sets will include three icons of French electronic music such as Folamour on Thursday, Laurent Garnier's return on Friday, and Kittin and David Vunk, playing on Saturday. Among the other concerts, there will be East-African musician Kabeaushé, a hybrid show from Olof Dreijer with live percussion from Diva Cruz, and rapper Tommy Cash.

Artificial Intelligence in music

Sónar will be dedicating part of its programming to examining the intersection of Generative AI and musical creativity. Following in the footsteps of a standalone festival in 2021, the AI & Music program powered by S+T+ARTS at Sónar by Day puts the focus on creativity over-optimization, with artists, performers, and researchers who are using Gen AI technology to unlock creativity. These include Sevdaliza's AI-augmented electronic-pop, the sound art practice of  Nicole L'Hullier or Marta Verde, Rob Clouth's algorithmic techno and electronic musician Lee Gamble and choreographer Candela Capitan's conceptual, dance-based show ‘Models,’ co-produced by Unsound Festival.

What it is all about 

Founded in 1994 as the “Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art,” Sónar has grown from 6,000 to 122,000 attendees in 2022 and caters to a wide variety of audiences. The core aspects of this unique festival that continue to bring more people back to Barcelona each year are the creative and unique electronic music, cutting-edge technology, and entrepreneurial innovation on display. 

Since its inception, it has had three components; Sónar by Day, Sónar by Night, and the Sonar+D congress (formerly known as the Record Fair and Technology Fair).

Sónar is all about the music, not just how it sounds but how it was made, its artistic process, the intersection of creativity and electronics, and the cultural impact of the electronic genre. This devotion to encountering music from a wider lens resulted in the festival being awarded a Creu de Sant Jordi, a prize the Catalan government gives in recognition of people, events, and places that protect and enhance the nation's cultural identity.


Before entering Sónar by Day or Sónar by Night, every attendee will have to check in physically. Organizers will then exchange the entry ticket for a wristband, which will allow access to the festival and to pay for the goods inside. Ticket holders will have to be present at the time of check-in, as tickets cannot be exchanged for wristbands for third parties. 

The check-in areas are located in the orange part of the map for normal tickets and are clearly signed on the maps for those holding VIP tickets. In the Fira de Montjuïc venue, the normal and VIP check-in will be at Door E, while access will be through door C for the general public, and door D for VIP ticket holders

Spanish singer Judeline during a concert at Barcelona's Sónar electronic music festival on June 13, 2024
Spanish singer Judeline during a concert at Barcelona's Sónar electronic music festival on June 13, 2024 / Jordi Borràs

Getting to Sónar by Day and back

All ticket holders get a 30% discount on public transport through the Hola Barcelona Travel Card also gives you 30% off tickets for the Telefèric de Montjuïc, the Barcelona Bus Turístic, and special Bus Turístic trips: Easy Montserrat, The Montserrat Tour y Dalí’s Figueres & Girona.

Metro and Bus
There are plenty of options to reach the venue with metro lines L1 and L3 stopping in Plaça d’Espanya, but also city bus lines: D20, D40, H16, V7, 13, 23, 46, 52, 65, 79, 91, 109, 150, 165. There are also metropolitan bus lines such as CJ, L70, L72, L80, L86, L94, and L95 that stop in the square. The bus system in Barcelona works almost 24 hours every day but is separated into two categories, the ‘regular’ bus lines, which operate from 6 am to 11.15 pm every day, and the night bus (“nit bus” in Catalan) which goes from 11 pm to 6 am. 

FGC trains at Plaça Espanya are another option for getting to the Sónar by Day venue. Those arriving by high-speed train to Sants station can take the bus, a two-stop metro ride on L3, or a 15-minute walk. 

Bicing, Barcelona’s bike-share facility, also runs 24 hours a day. However, this system needs one-year membership.

For those getting there with a private vehicle, there is some parking available near the hall. 

From the airport
To get to Sónar by Day from Barcelona airport, travelers can take the L9S metro line from the airport, change at Torrassa, and then take L1 in the direction of Fondo, to Espanya. There is also the Aerobus which costs €6.75 for a single ticket or €11.65 return ticket and runs all day from Terminal 1 and from Terminal 2.  Bus options include taking a longer route with the public bus line 46, direct to Plaça Espanya. It costs €2.40 for a single ticket, or is included in the unlimited trips if using the Hola Barcelona Travel Card. Taking the Renfe-Rodalies train from T1 will include taking a Shuttle Bus, which is free, from T1 to T2 (Renfe Airport Station). From T2 take the Line R2 Nord to Barcelona Sants. There, travelers will take the L3 Metro to Espanya. From there, concert-goers can take the bus, a two-stop metro ride on L3, or a 15-minute walk. 

Several people enjoying a Judeline concert at SonarPark by DICE at the Sónar electronic music festival on June 13, 2024
Several people enjoying a Judeline concert at SonarPark by DICE at the Sónar electronic music festival on June 13, 2024 / Jordi Borràs

Getting to Sónar by Night from Sónar by Day and back

In a fitting reflection of the shift in tone from day to night, Sónar by Night takes place in a different location to Sónar by Day. 

The Fira Gran Via venue is around 15 minutes of a drive from Plaça d’Espanya, but can also be reached by metro, FGC train, or bus in up to 30 minutes. There are dozens of options to go from one venue to the other.  

Sónar will put in place bus links, at a price of €2.50 per journey going from Fira Montjüic to Fira Gran Via venue. The trip will take 15 minutes and will operate Friday from 8 pm to 12.30 am and Saturday from 8.30 pm to 12.30 am. This will be a one-way journey.

2024 Sónar by Day map
2024 Sónar by Day map

Getting to Sónar by Night and back

To get to Sónar by Night, there are several options, including taking the Sónarbus available to all ticket holders that connects Sónar by Day and the Plaça d'Espanya square with the venue in Fira de Gran Via. 

However, other routes include daytime buses H12, H16, 46, 65, 79, 150, night buses N1, N2, N13 ,N15, N16, N17, N18, the metro, and FGC trains. Metro lines run across the city between 5 am and 12 midnight from Sunday to Thursday, from 5 am to 2 am on Fridays, and for 24 hours on Saturday. 

2024 Sónar by Night map
2024 Sónar by Night map

FGC train lines have a different schedule and the last train from Plaça Espanya to Europa | Fira departs at 1:59 am. The first train from Europa | Fira to Plaça Espanya departs at 5.54 am. 

To get to the venue from the airport, similar options are available. By metro, travelers can take the L9S direct to Fira. The bus line 46, direct to Plaça Europa, and then the nocturnal bus lines N17 and N18 if traveling from T1 or the lines N16, N18 if landing in T2. For all these, Plaça Europa is the destination point. 

Cashless festival

The festival, both during the day and night events, will be cashless. This means attendees will have to top up a wristband to be used as the "only way to pay at Sónar." 

Those who have bought the ticket on other websites can find FAQs on how to top up their wristband early. 

Once in the festival, the wristband will be automatically loaded with the amount attendees have topped up after completing the check-in. 
Inside the festival, spectators can use both cash and card to top up their wristbands in the several SonarCashless points placed throughout the venues. It can be topped as many times as needed but only in multiples of €5.

If someone loses their band, organizers are not responsible for it. Wristbands are personal and non-transferable. Sónar reserves the right to decline wristbands that have been cut, pulled off, or otherwise visibly manipulated.

Once the festival is over, festival-goers can claim unused money back using an online form, between Sunday 18 at 10 am, and Friday 30 at 11.59 pm. The link will be active on Sónar’s website. Each transaction will have a fee of €1.20 and will be paid via bank transfer. 

What can I bring into the festival? 

For security reasons entrance to the Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night venues is not permitted with suitcases or large bags, large backpacks, skateboards, professional camera equipment, food, or drink. 

Smaller bags (40cm x 20cm x 25cm) such as handbags or small backpacks and motorcycle helmets will be permitted, but have to be left in the cloakroom.

Other forbidden objects are aerosols, drones, laser pointers, selfie sticks, or sharp objects.

Animals will not be allowed to enter either Sónar by Day or Sónar by Night. 

Cigarettes and tobacco cannot be bought in the venues. Smoking is allowed only in outdoor areas of the festivals. 

Other general information about Sónar

First aid teams will be present at both Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night in the event that any visitor needs medical attention. Attendees can also speak with any staff member who can call a first aid team if they don’t see them. 
Toilet facilities are all indicated on the maps in both venues. 

Lost and found items such as wallets, ID cards, and mobile phones will be automatically handed over to the relevant authorities due to new data protection laws and people will need to contact local authorities by Wednesday, June 21, with a description of what they have lost.