15.06.2011, Words by Charlie Jones

The Dummy Guide To Sónar 2011

Starting tomorrow, across 11 stages, 286 artists from 33 countries will deliver 155 performances in Barcelona for what is still the planet’s most important electronic music festival – Sonar.

Sounds to check out
To put it mildly, there is a lot of good stuff happening in the Catalan capital this weekend. We’ll be posting our pointers to the best throughout the three days, along with reviews, interviews, streams and that sort of thing. But for now, circle Aphex Twin, Steve Reich and Surgeon as the elders not to miss, and Nicolas Jaar, Katy B, CosmicTRG, San Soda and Hype Williams as the important stars of now. Some of the best emerging music will be presented throughout the two main sites (Sonar by day and Sonar by night, if you’re not already familiar with the set-up) as part of the “showcases”. Notable labels and organisations Tri Angle, Numbers, Night Slugs, Red Bull Music Academy, Stroboscopic Artifacts and Smalltown Supersound were among those asked by Sonar to host a showcase of their artists. You could see this idea as the organiser’s way of containing the energy of the off-Sonar parties or ensuring that the festival balances the august with the advanced (of the five headliners, only MIA and Dizzee were not recording when Sonar started in 1994). Either way, they’re going to be nice places to hang out and hear some of the best new music around.

Parties to hit off-Sonar
Speaking of off-Sonar, there is, of course, a number of great parties taking place outside of the official festival that we’ll be telling you about everyday. Particularly worth looking into are Hessle Audio x Hemlock tonight, Aus Music x Hotflush on Thursday, Innervisions x Pampa and Kompakt Surfs on Saturday and good old Get Phyiscal on Sunday.

Where to eat and drink
On top of that, there is a beautiful city to explore – Gaudi’s Park Güell, La Sagrada Familia, Las Ramblas, you know the deal. Food-wise, festival organiser Georgia Taglietti recommended Xemei, Noti and Gresca as places to chow down, and drinks-wise, it’s pretty hard to put a foot wrong anywhere in the old town.

Get in the spirit of things
Every year, Sonar has a different visual and conceptual identity. How much this impacts every attendee is up for debate, but it’s a nice icing on the cake, and the theme this year is Sonar Is For Sale. The below video explains a little more:

Sónar Festival is for sale – Sónar 2011 Image from Sónar on Vimeo.

Sonar put two interesting lots up for sale on eBay. The first, two EGO Passes, give the winners 20 seconds on the screens of the main stages of Sonar Barcelona and Sonar Galicia and were won by Manel Rocher and Mariokissme. Manel Rocher is a 54-year-old chemical engineer, music fan and eBay-obsessive, who lives in the Pyrenees. When he saw the EGO Pass he didn’t hesitate. Mariokissme is a graphic artist from Malaga who lives and works in Barcelona. In A Coruña in Galacia, on the SonarClub stage, he will show off his work before thousands.

The big prize was the DJ Pass, which bought the highest bidder a slot at the SonarCar stage. Funnily enough, the winner (who bid 6,000 euros) did not complete the purchase within time, so the festival organisers decided to grant “this extraordinary honor to the elegant and distinguished Mr. Samaniego, art dealer and the salesman of the Sonar 2011 lot, the star of the festival’s TV advertisement [above]”. In the end, he will be responsible for the session on Friday June 17th, at 1:30am on the new SonarCar stage at Sonar Barcelona.

Don’t be a stranger
Hope to see you there – we’ll be on the ground throughout the festival, so do tweet stories, tips and ideas to @dummymag.

This year’s Sonar festival runs from 16-18th June 2011 in Barcelona

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