14 Jun
Freddi C once again tackles Spain's ultimate musical throwdown

I’m so ready for this! All of our friends here in Barcelona are begging for the weather to be great over this week and into the upcoming Sonar weekend. Why, you ask? Well it’s been unusually wet and cold here in BCN for this time of year — putting a bit of a damper on the recently held Primervera Music Festival. But the gods are shining on music fanatics as the sun is forecasted to blaze down on Sonar as it celebrates its 20th year. 20 years strong and yet this is only my second Barcelona Sonar, but I’m super interested to see what lies ahead for this quickly expanding International festival.

After 19 years at its previous MACBA (Modern Museum Of Contemporary Art) location Sonar is relocating to Plaça d’Espanya — a bigger location in the Fira Montjuic area. The move takes the festival away from a heavily residential, store-, bar- and restaurant-filled streets to a newer complex in one of Barcelona’s most important squares. Plaça d’Espanya will host larger artificial turfed areas nestled in between the odd mash up of antique and modern buildings constructed for the 1929 International Exhibition. Locals don’t seem too happy about it’s move but really its not at all that far from its last location, still in the heart of the city, and to us laymen — a ten-minute walk from Sonar’s last location. The bigger venue will be providing room for the festivals future growth and focus platform for it’s new brand Sonar +D; A collaboration between Sonar and Mobile World Capital Barcelona. Sonar +D is the evolution of the festival’s professional and new media areas blending relationships between creativity, technology and innovative business related to the music and to new media development.

Hoards manage easily every year to make it out to the night location in the Fira Gran Via area in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat which now is, in fact, closer to Sonar, so I’m guessing they will make this migration to the Plaça d’Espanya venue.

Bigger? Better? … Does this come with a price tag? As festivals expand and grow they also bring more commercial interests and less focus on the aspect that made the festival so popular in the first place. Its original chill outlet for edgy underground electronic-based artists could see it’s way to becoming (if it’s not already according to many locals) just another mainstream festival. It most definitely has spawned many “OFF” Sonar and anti-Sonar-based pop up festivals in random clubs and venues about the city, so many that it’s impossible to get to see everything in this one week. However, looking over the line-up I’m one very happy music lover. SonarDome by Red Bull Music Academy alone offers a stage to catch many of the versatile talents that have passed through the Academy. It’s here I’ll be checking out TNGHT ( the duo consisting of Hudson Mohawke and Lunice, the standard bearers of trap and new instrumental hip-hop) and one of my favs Britain’s Mr. Beatnick (a versatile DJ and producer halfway between beats and bass-house).

Hit the Jump to continue reading Freddi C’s Sonar Music Festival preview…

“Kraftwerk, Derrick May, Laurnet Garnier, Diplo, Richie Hawtin, Seth Troxler, Justice, 2 Many Djs, Skrillex & more…”

Celebratory names will of course grace this years stages: Kraftwerk, Pet Shop Boys, Derrick May, Laurnet Garnier, Lindstrom & Terje, Diplo, Richie Hawtin, Seth Troxler, Justice, 2 Many Djs, Maceo Plex and Skrillex, making for an almost Vegas-style blowout star-studded line-up. What makes this festival still one of the best I’ve been to is undoubtedly its focus on newer, less famous acts that maintain a niche base of loyal music head fans, like yours truly. Keeping it fresh and interesting they have added mavericks such as Dinos Chapman — half of the conceptual art duo The Chapman Brothers. Dinos, the older of the two siblings, brings us his first album Luftbobler — recorded in the basement of his studio — inspired by horror movies, insomnia and boredom, as well as the musical influence of Stockhausen, Throbbing Gristle and Squarepusher. Mykki Blanco — a New York poet, rapper and drag queen — will be bringing facets of rave music, the hip-hop universe and transgender culture with his/her own personal and iconoclastic perspective. Now add the many artists peaking mid-career and you’re going to be in the right place no matter what the location. I’ll be front right and center to see Nicolas Jarr, Darkstar, Gold Panda, Sebastein Tellier, Foreign Beggars, Jamie Lidell, 22-year-old Parisian Bambounou and taking us beyond just dubstep Fantastic Mr. Fox and one of my fav DJs right now, the UK’s Oneman.

Top this all off on Sunday at Piknic Electronik one of the better organized family based music events I’ve been to outside of New York’s infamous MoMA PS1 summer series “Warm Up”, and then the Ninja Tune and Black Atlantic party showcasing Lapalux and Martyn flying in on behalf of Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder stable (as well special surprise guests).

I’m just hoping to make it to next week so I can post my follow-up reports. See you next week…

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