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Sónar 2016: The Music Fest Returns in June For its 23rd Run

The three-day Spanish festival will see performances by James Blake, Fatboy Slim, New Order, Santigold and many more

Riddhi Chakraborty May 23, 2016
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James Rhodes, Santigold, Richie Hawtin and Lady Leshurr are all part of this year's lineup at Sónar. Images courtesy Sónar

James Rhodes, Santigold, Richie Hawtin and Lady Leshurr are all part of this year’s lineup at Sónar. Images courtesy Sónar

Known as one of the world’s longest-running music and multimedia festivals, Sónar returns to Barcelona for its 23rd year. Founded in 1994 by journalist Ricard Robles and musicians Enric Palau and Sergi Caballero, the three-day event will host more than 150 performances in 2016. Palau and Robles, who were visual artists in addition to being musicians, founded the festival with a vision to create a platform where audio, visual and technology could meet. Since its inception, Sonar has seen performances by some of the biggest international artists from almost every genre; electronic acts like Daft Punk, Major Lazer and the Pet Shop Boys, R&B artists like Janelle Monae and The Roots and hip-hop artists like M.I.A.

Due to its intense growth in the last two decades, the festival is divided into three main categories to accommodate all artists and multiple performances: Sónar by Day, Sónar by Night and Sónar+D [a showcase of technology and talks by professionals from various industries.]

Some of the biggest acts performing at Sónar this year include UK producer and singer-songwriter James Blake, groove-funk DJ Fatboy Slim and American singer Santigold. Electro-pop giants New Order are also set to perform tracks from their latest album Music Complete.

UK producer and singer-songwriter James Blake will also take the stage at Sónar 2016.

UK producer and singer-songwriter James Blake will also take the stage at Sónar 2016.

In addition to music performances and various exclusive live show releases, the festival will see a politically infused show from American visual artist, singer-songwriter and LGBT activist Anohni and from American composer John Luther Adams who will present his piece “Become Ocean,” concerning climate change.

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Sónar by Day will host New York DJ Kenny Dope, Parisian house label Ed Banger House Party, Chilean techno artist Matias Aguayo, Chicago-based DJ The Black Madonna and more, while Sónar by Night will see prominent artists from the European club scene, like English-Canadan electronic artist Richie Hawtin, Japanese composer Soichi Terada, deep house artist Kerri Chandler and many more take the stage.

The festival will also showcase some of the latest trends in UK bass music and urban rhythms courtesy dub master Kode9’s audio-visual show with artist and stage designer Lawrence Lek. Other musicians presenting audio-visual shows are London-based grime act Skepta and Spanish electronica act Niño de Elche & Los Voluble. Dubstep trio King Midas Sound will also explore an audio visual element in collaboration with Austrian guitarist Fennesz, performing experimental ambient dub from their joint album, Edition 1.

Sónar+D, Sónar’s international congress for digital culture and creative technologies, will happen from June 16th to June 18th 2016. Creators, technologists, research centres and entrepreneurs are set to introduce festival attendees to their technological progress through demonstrations, exclusive launches, workshops, networking spaces and more. Participants hosting talks include the BBC, music streaming giant Spotify and Microsoft.


Sónar begins on June 16th 2016 and continues till June 18th 2016. For tickets, the artist lineup and more information, click here.

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