Sónar Festival attracts record 126,000 visitors

The electronic music event offered 150 concerts in 10 different venues with attendees coming from 119 countries

The Zero-Gravity Band dome at Sónar+D on June 13 2018 (by Aina Martí)
The Zero-Gravity Band dome at Sónar+D on June 13 2018 (by Aina Martí) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

June 18, 2018 11:06 AM

The Sónar Festival closed its 25th edition on Sunday with a record number of 126,000 visitors. This innovative electronic music festival, one of the most famous in the world, offered more than 150 performances in 10 different venues and attracted visitors from 119 countries. Sónar achieved good attendance figures in both Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night performances, although the daytime brought in slightly bigger numbers.

Half the audience came from Catalonia and Spain, while 46% of the visitors were from abroad. Professional visitors grew by 10%, peaking at 5,900, while there was a 12% increase in the number of companies attending the event (3,300).  

The event featured the likes of singer Thom Yorke, frontman for Radiohead, Atoms for Peace, and behind various solo projects in his only European stop. Additionally headlining was fictional cartoon band the Gorillaz, premiering their much-expected new album. The explosive lineup also included varied names like LCD Soundsystem, Modeselektor, Bonobo, Diplo, Laurent Garnier, and many more.

The festival, as with every year, included two sides of the same coin: Sónar by Day, a fun summer outdoor jam, and Sónar by Night, a nighttime revelry lasting until the break of dawn with live shows and DJ sets from big-name international musicians. In total, there were 230 activities, with 150 artists performing on different stages.

But Sónar is much more than a music festival: it’s an all-encompassing creative experience filled with opportunities in the sector of electronic music in just about every way imaginable. The offshoot event Sónar+D provided conferences, talks, workshops, installations and more.

The 6th edition of Sónar+D, held at the Fira de Montjuïc fairgrounds in the Catalan capital, analyzed what the future holds regards music, technology, the internet, space travel, and knowledge itself, with projects like music in zero gravity and music by artificial intelligence. The event included guest organizations such as NASA, MIT Media Lab, Google Magenta, Mozilla, and Bandcamp. In total, more than 100 activities took place with 150 speakers over four days.

The Sónar co-director Ricard Robles said that the 2018 edition figures are "very good news" and show that the festival has "consolidated" as one of the biggest in the world on its 25th edition. Although Sónar has been growing every year, its organizers are not planning big changes for the upcoming editions. "Now we can do what we want and what artists ask us to do," he said.

There will only be one big –and temporary- change for next year: Sónar will be held on the 18, 19 and 20 of July 2019, a month later than it usually does.