Summer is the season of festivals par excellence, and few days ago have been held in Barcelona a must-annual event such as Sonar. With a total of almost 119,000 visitors, far more than the 6,000 people who attended the weekend of the first edition that took place 21 years ago, this one has become one of the best editions of Sonar. While this year's line-up apparently seemed more diluted than in previous events, the end result has been a series of solid and impressive concerts to the delight of all attendees.
One aspect that each year takes more prominence is Sonar+D, a parallel festival that coexists with the concerts of Sonar by Day, dedicated to new technologies and where people plays with the synthesizers, tries out the new developments empowered by the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter or participates in the scheduled sessions such as the Music Hack Day.
This time Sonar+D participation exceeded expectations from both the MarketLab and the Realities+D area, dedicated to virtual reality. Scheduled conferences and workshops have had more than 4,000 attendees and there were nearly 500 scheduled meetings between experts, creators, entrepreneurs and investors in the areas of networking.
As for the concerts, the opening came from Chemical Brothers, a show only reserved for a privileged few who got their free invitations through a well-known Spanish beer brand. The band presented their new album "Born In The Echoes" in an unprecedented show that would be repeated on the same stage SonarClub two nights later with a careful visual experience taken to detail that caught the audience and carried throughout the show.
If I had to pick just one show, that would be Friday night’s performance by the Irish Róisín Murphy (former lead singer of Moloko), who presented the songs from his new album "Hairless Toys" besides presenting old hits in a show full of glamor, peculiar costume changes and plenty of scenic presence.
Also, discovering Die Antwoord from the zero line at the pit of the stage was quite an experience with their energetic and mesmerizing show taken to the extreme that made the audience (and especially photographers) like crazy. Thug life indeed.
For those who still had energy left after so much jumping in the previous concert, they had a second opportunity to listen to Hot Chip (who already acted on Thursday at Sonar Day) and also the expected DJ set from Skrillex to finish off a long and well spent second day. Skrillex made the people mad with his dubstep and drops, playing a bit of everything from “The Lion King” to “Sweet Dreams”, always spiced with the producer and DJ’s own style. But what surprised us the most was his version of Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe’s “Barcelona”, which amazed everyone in Sonar, wherever they were.
As in most editions, Sonar reserves a corner for nostalgia and this time came from the hand of Duran Duran, who were responsible for opening the last night of the festival with a collection of classics like “The Wild Boys”, “Hungry Like The Wolf”, “The Reflex” and “Rio”, among many others. Simon Le Bon and his crew demonstrated that despite the years they have not lost their touch.
Yet one more meeting with Sonar, one of the most complete and solid years of his career, where is impossible to get bored and with an organization of 9.5 out of 10 (the remaining half point was missed by having to cross twice the Sonar Night enclosure to manage to get outside). Next year there will be more and we do not know if it will be better, but I’m pretty sure that they will keep the same level.
Meanwhile, travelers who love music, you will not miss save the following dates on your agenda:
Sonar São Paulo
24-28 November 2015
Espaço das Americas
The Chemical Brothers, Hot Chip, Brodinski, Evian Christ...
Sonar Buenos Aires
December 3, 2015
Complex Al Rio
The Chemical Brothers, Hot Chip, Brodinski, Recondite, Poncho, Evian Christ, Pional, Leandro Fresco..
December 5, 2015
Suricato hangars, former Los Cerrillos Airport
The Chemical Brothers, Hot Chip, Brodinski, Recondite, Evian Christ, Pional...
December 7, 2015
The Chemical Brothers, Hot Chip, Bomba Estereo, Brodinski, Recondite, Evian Christ, Pional...
18, 19 and 20 February 2016
Harpa Concert House
19 and February 20, 2016
26 and February 27, 2016
Stockholm Waterfront Congress Center
16, 17 and 18 June
Fira Montjuic and Fira Gran Via
Photos and text: Anna Ferry