“14, 15 and 16 of June> Go to Sonar”. This is one of the first appointments that many of us make in our diaries at the beginning of the year, together with New Year’s resolution and goals to achieve. Sonar is an urban festival (although we also have an area covered in artificial grass for those who miss the countryside) that in just eight years has gone from being a minority event to a European and international reference point as far as electronic music and new technology is concerned. Last year’s festival was attended by 54,000 people and around 500 artists participated. The crowd and the acts this year will be bigger and better. The flyer for Sonar 2001 shows a selection of characterst people in different situations that do not seem to have anything in common, except that if you look closely you realise that they have all wet themselves. It’s normal that the excitement on discovering the new features in this year’s festival would produce a sudden bout of incontinence. Expect nothing less.

The festival is divided into two parts: Day Sonar and Night Sonar. Diurnal activities focus on the Museu d’Art Contemporani, the Centre de Cultura Contempor‡nea and the Capella dels Angels. There will be four different venues for concerts and DJs: Sonarvillage, where you can see the latest in electronic music; Sonarlab, where various record labels present their best artists; and the Hall Venue and Sonarmacba, dedicated to banging and experimental sounds. As well as the performances, the Sonar Day offers a wide range of other activities. Sonarm‡tica 2001 in particular, where there is electronic art and multimedia creations on offer, this year, London is the guest city. “Invisible London” as it has been called, offers the most underground side of the work of groups, companies and multimedia artists from the city on the Thames. Sonarcinema is where the audio-visual projects will be shown, with a selection of projects which tie together images, technology and electronic music. There are also talks, debates, record label fairs and specialist publications…

But things do not end here. After spending the day rushing from one place to another to catch as many acts, shows and talks as you can, the time comes to leave the Sonar Day, because the night is about to begin. The new venue for partying right through the night is Montjuitc 2 in Hospitalet. From 12 at night to 6 in the morning the music is the centre of attention and the beat does not stop. There are three stages, and you’ll have to split yourself into two so as not miss anything. This year, amongst many others are: Masters at Work, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Plaid, Leila, Jeff Mills, Carl Cox, Laurent Garnier, The Avalanches…

This is a bit of time out for sleeping and recharging batteries, because at ten the Sonar Day starts again…

Where did the idea of creating a festival like Sonar come from?

The festival came about with the idea of offering a slot that did not exist in Spain before, showing the latest in electronic music, and complementing it with new technologies. Combining the fun bit with the other cultural and exhibition aspect.

Who were the first organisers?

Sergio Caballero, Enric Palau and Ricardo Robles, the founders of Advanced Music which is the independent company that runs Sonar.

Was there a similar festival in Europe then?

No, the way Sonar is structured makes it very difficult to find this type of formula in other festivals.

How can you prevent something slipping out of your hands that has become so massive in so little time?

Adapting to the festival demands, bearing in mind both the public as well the professionals, but always in a risquŽ spirit, that’s committed to the avant-garde.

How do you choose the artists?

They can be divided into three groups: the proposals we receive, the groups that are offered to us by the record labels and the artists who we would like to contract.

Projects for the future?

It’s difficult to predict it’ll depend on cultural evolution and public demand.

More information at

Text: Terevision Ruiz from Neo2 Magazine

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