Sónar is a three-day electronic music festival held in Barcelona since 1994, it is known to be an advanced music and multimedia art festival and it is divided in Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night.
As other pioneer festivals in Barcelona such as the Primavera Sound, the Sónar has a similar story, it started with an audience of 6k and nowadays we are talking about 120k people attending the festival.
We have seen in the Sónar names as Holger Czukay, Mixmaster Morris, Laurent Garnier, Sven Väth, Atom Heart, and Trans Global Underground, Spring Heel Jack, Josh Wink, Autechre, Richie Hawtin, Ken Ishii, Slam, Jeff Mills, Scanner, Orbital, Fangoria, John Acquaviva, Kenny Larkin, Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Jimi Tenor, Laurent Garnier (under his real name or the alias DJ Jamon), Marc Almond, Deep Dish, Motorbass, Plastikman, Herbert, Death In Vegas, Fila Brazillia, Roger Sánchez, Coldcut, DJ Hell, Sólo Los Solo, Atari Teenage Riot, An Der Beat, Chicks On Speed, Super Collider, and Miss Kittin among many others.
The 2001 festival saw another change of venue for Sónar by Night to the larger venue of the Fira Gran Via area in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, adjacent to Barcelona's Zona Franca area. The new location allowed to offer large format concerts and a more extensive audiovisual display. This is the venue where some of the key concerts in Sónar's history have taken place: Björk (2002), Beastie Boys (2007), LCD Soundsystem (2010), Chic (2006), Pet Shop Boys (2002), Masters At Work (2001), Grace Jones (2009), and The Chemical Brothers (2005).
In the last year, the festival has transformed the atmosphere and has become the continent's epicentre of electronic music and a main attraction in the cultural tourism sector. Sónar is also special as it leads the organization of events outside the festival, there are presentations and showcases that take placein Barcelona and can attract large audiences too.
Audiovisual and multimedia activities at Sónar
Sónar was committed from the beginning to be more than just a music festival, and the activities organized aside of the main event are an example of that. Those activities include lectures, video art projections and even art installations among others.
In 1999 SonarCinema was created and offered a programme featuring 18 short films, documentaries and video art works on it. SonarMàtica is another event organized that focuses on digital art, and in the coming years it was more about specific themes such as Berlin (2000), invisible London (2001), Helsinki (2002), 10 Years of Sónar (2003), micronations (2004), twenty-first century landscaping (2005), the "always connected" culture (Always On, 2006), magic (2007), film (2008), handcrafted instruments (2009), robotics (2010), portraits (2011, in collaboration with the OFF festival), and the new projects by UPF (2012).
Sónar for professionals
Sónar since the beginning organized a fair for professionals, a record and publishing fair and also a technology fair. With these two fairs, they accomplished a gathering of record labels, publishers,promoters, distributors but also hardware and software brands and musical equipment companies.
Since then, the festival has focused on professionals in the industry but moved away from the fair format it had before and the professional area now called, Sonar+D is more an open laboratory for creative industries and featuring meetings with experts, conferences, workshops and networking areas.