Barcelona’s Sonar Festival is a summer paradise

Barcelona is a city like no other, and Sonar Festival is an equally unique cultural experience. While Primavera Sound has become the chosen festival for the Brits to make a summer pilgrimage towards Catalonia, perhaps next year, the heavy crowds will re-think their decision.

Sonar Festival has been running since 1994 and, while it started with a focus on dance music, it has always had one eye on progressive culture too. It’s a place to hear experts from fields across technology, music, art and design who congregate for a weekend in Barcelona to discuss new ideas and dance to music.

Interestingly, Sonar is two festivals in one. There is a day version of the event and an edition that runs through to the early hours of the morning in a separate location in the city. Fortunately, they are relatively close to each other, and with the aid of the Metro, you’ll make it across in around 15-minutes.

This option also allows punters to decide which event is more suited to their needs, and if they don’t want to be partying until dawn, they can enjoy a day of thrilling music before making it home ahead of midnight. Or if you’re made of stern stuff, you can buy tickets to both.

The festival opened its doors last Thursday, and only Sonar by Day was open for the first day. Thankfully, getting to the event was extremely straightforward, which is always a worry when heading to a mass event. It was a 15-minute coach trip from the extraordinary recently-opened hotel, Me By Melia, situated in the picturesque Gothic Quarter, which is also partnered with Sonar.

As the was was the influence of the influence of the British influences and the influence of the British on the development of the demographics, it was the influence of the influence on the continent.

(Credit: Press)

One such name is the Portuguese-Angolan singer Pongo, who fleed her homeland to Lisbon as a child as she escaped the civil war in her native country. I was previously unaware of the genre Kuduro, which originates in Angola. However, after witnessing Pongo and her band’s energetic performance on the SonarVillage stage, I’m glad to be converted. Following her set, Jayda G produced a disco set of the highest margin, bringing the party atmosphere to Barcelona.

The following day, I sampled the full taste of Sonar by attending the evening edition of the event and the day event. For an outdoor event, remarkably, it also held an auditorium which showcased a futuristic experience courtesy of Italian artist, Quayola and musician Seta. Together, they have created a marvelous spectacle which coalesces with their music to produce a mind-bending experience. I was particularly excited by this event after seeing a futuristic exhibition in Me By Melia the previous night by Quayola, which again brings these two art forms together and is fuelled by an uber complex algorithm which feeds off the energy of the room.

Following another fun-filled few hours at Sonar by Day, it was time to make the short trip to Sonar by Night, which was situated in what felt like an empty airport.

The main act on the night was Nathy Peluso, one of the biggest acts in Spain and boasts over seven million unique monthly listeners on Spotify. Admittedly, I wasn’t exceptionally knowledgeable of her back catalog beforehand, but that didn’t matter. Additionally, I didn’t need to be fluent in Spanish to enjoy the experience. Seeing tens of thousands of people sing their hearts out to every note was a joy to be in between, even if my restricted tongue stopped me from joining in.

Getting home to Melia from the festival was a relatively stress-free experience thanks to the Metro, which is your friend if you find yourself in Barcelona. If you want to test the parameters of your mind while visiting one of Europe’s most bustling cities, it’s the event for you.

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