Sónar Marks 30 Years of Constant Innovation

May 9, 2023  16:17  |  M.I.C. News

The 30th anniversary of Sónar, a European festival that pushes the boundaries of music and innovation, is set to take place in Barcelona on June 15th, 16th, and 17th, 2023. With over 250 artistic proposals and activities, the festival promises to be a spectacular event. Attendees can expect a diverse range of activities, from concerts and DJ sets to masterclasses, talks, and debate forums.

Sónar Marks 30 Years of Constant Innovation

Photo s– courtesy of Sónar © Eric Pridz presents HOLO

This edition of the festival boasts an exceptional lineup of musicians, featuring some of the most prominent names in contemporary electronic music, along with renowned DJs from across the club culture. There will also be new performances from emerging, groundbreaking, and diverse artists from Spain and around the world. Among the many highlights are Aphex Twin, Eric Prydz presents HOLO – a unique and immersive 3D show, BICEP live, Bad Gyal, Fever Ray, Peggy Gou, Oneohtrix Point Never, Black Coffee, Solomun, Little Simz, Amelie Lens, The Blessed Madonna, Max Cooper, Shygirl, Honey Dijon, Eliza Rose, Samantha Hudson, Daito Manabe, Nick León, La Zowi, SHERELLE x Kode9, Richie Hawtin, and Cakes Da Killa.

30th Anniversary of Sónar – Barcelona, 15th, 16th & 17th June 2023

In Barcelona, from June 15th to June 17th, 2023, Sónar will commemorate its 30th anniversary with more than 100 musical performances, featuring live concerts and DJ sets. Sónar 2023 is a culmination of three decades of consistent innovation and celebration, encompassing both content and format. The festival has served as a space for discovery and inspiration, reflecting and providing a platform for several generations of artists, both local and international.

Highlights from the concert program include spectacular shows by Aphex Twin, BICEP live, Bad Gyal, Little Simz, Fever Ray, Oneohtrix Point Never, Max Cooper, and Eric Prydz with his unique HOLO show – the most spectacular immersive audiovisual experience in the world today. Rapper Cakes Da Killa also makes his debut in Spain; Shygirl performs for the first time at Sónar; Spanish queer icon Samantha Hudson returns with her new ‘AOVE Black Label’ show; and La Zowi brings ‘La Reina del Sur’ to Sónar by Night.

Plus there’ll be DJ sets from acclaimed international selectors like Black Coffee, Amelie Lens, Peggy Gou, The Blessed Madonna, Solomun, Richie Hawtin, amongst many others.

Sónar+D, the festival’s international gathering of art, science, and digital culture, will offer increased access to the public at Sónar by Day. This year, the festival promises to be the most inclusive and interactive in its history, featuring two stages at the center of the festival, along with over a hundred activities, including masterclasses, debate forums, talks, and a project exhibition area.
Furthermore, for the first time, delegate pass holders will have exclusive access to five hours of activities from 10am to 3pm on Thursday, June 15th, and Friday, June 16th.

Under the same roof as concerts and DJ sets this year’s programme addresses issues of the greatest relevance, that impact our daily lives and our future: the connections between the arts and sciences; the climate emergency and how creators are responding to it; Artificial Intelligence and the Web3 paradigm; and the development of new forms of creativity. Highlights include speakers such as Stefanos Levidis of the research group Forensic Architecture; musician and thinker Steve Goodman (Kode9) in conversation with Moor Mother, artist and co-founder of the research group Black Quantum Futurism; shows by Daito Manabe and Desert; an AV talk by creative studio Universal Everything; and a masterclass for new generations of creators by Elijah, the mind behind ‘Yellow Squares’; plus speakers like renowned robot ethics and MIT Media Lab researcher Kate Darling (presented by SEIDOR).

Sónar Marks 30 Years of Constant Innovation

Aphex Twin

Sónar by Day – 15th, 16th & 17th June

This year, Sónar by Day has redesigned its spaces, improving the layout and facilities to offer a new, more comfortable dining area and new dance floors. A redesigned SonarVillage by Estrella Damm stage is headlined by a heavyweight duo of acclaimed DJs: iconic South African producer and DJ Black Coffee (Thursday 15th June), and globally renowned American house and disco DJ The Blessed Madonna (Friday 16th June).

It’s here that Horse Meat Disco x Prosumer will join forces for a masterclass in house, disco and beyond; and where Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul will perform an unconventional and playful live set. They’re joined by two icons of UK radio, Bradley Zero b2b Moxie, and Eliza Rose, one of the UK’s fastest-rising stars in 2023.

Cult artist and multi-talented producer Oneohtrix Point Never returns to Sónar to celebrate the 30th anniversary, alongside geneticist-turned-musician Max Cooper, who’ll perform a live AV show. Sónar by Day also welcomes legendary Japanese sound and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda; experimental saxophonist Bendik Giske; rave icon Héctor Oaks with his new live show ‘Fuego Universal’; and neo-trance producer Lorenzo Senni, who’ll premiere a new show based on a new forthcoming album.

Sónar Marks 30 Years of Constant Innovation


Sónar Marks 30 Years of Constant Innovation

Photo – courtesy of Zeb Daemen © Amelie Lens

There’s also room for the borderless club music of Tunisian Deena Abdelwahed, Omagoqa’s heavy rhythms, haunting experimental pop from Perera Elsewhere, and amapiano torch-bearer Musa Keys. Nick León, Dinamarca, Flaca, Manuka Honey, and Toccororo all fly the flag for latinx club sounds; Albany brings her sentimental trap to the stage; La Niña Jacarandá explores deconstructed club; Crystal Murray fuses R&B and pop; AINES shows her passion for breakbeats; ballroom house legend Mike Q flies in from New Jersey; and Phran premieres a new live show ‘Vimana Discplay’, inspired by Venezuelan mobile sound systems.

Spanish rappers LEÏTI and Sticky M.A. will present their latest work, which expand their original styles with new genres, and nusar3000 mashes up drum’n’bass and reggaeton. Catalan experimental artist Marina Herlop performs an exclusive new show, while Grove and 700 Bliss offer a heavy dose of sonic and political radicalism. Erika de Casier’s alternative version of pop music draws on 90s R&B, while KYNE mixes trap, R&B and latin soul, and Spanish rappers Kitty110 / LaBlackie / L’Beel flirt with various styles, from drill to electronica.

The lineup is completed with the Ahadadream’s cocktail of genres, Japanese pop star Tohji, Brazilian underground duo BADSISTA b2b Cashu, euphoric breakbeat from Bored Lord, Spanish superproducer Merca Bae performing his first live show ‘2048’, shapeshifting producer Soda Plains, psychedelic and percussive club music from Amor Satyr, Granada DJ ‘girl group’ B2BBS, Selectya Glossy’s explorations of the sounds of the global south, Catalan DJ Sergi Botella’s esoteric rhythms, DALILA’s update of the sound of 90s rave culture, rising local DJ lanav, and one of Spanish pop’s great new innovators in Ralphie Choo. And of course, there’ll also be a series of shows presented under the umbrella of Sónar+D at Complex+D and Stage+D.

Sónar Marks 30 Years of Constant Innovation

Photo – courtesy of Solal Cardo © Crystal Murray

Sónar by Night – 16th & 17th June

On Friday 16th June, Aphex Twin will return to perform at Sónar, 12 years after his last appearance at the festival. The enigmatic cult artist and godfather of modern electronic music returns to the stage after a four year hiatus. He’ll perform an impressive, brand-new audiovisual show at SonarClub, Sónar by Night’s biggest venue.

On Saturday 17th June, the most exciting immersive audiovisual show in the world today comes to Sónar: HOLO, the acclaimed 3D mega-production of progressive house star Eric Prydz. Sónar will be one of the few opportunities to experience this extraordinary spectacle anywhere in the world this year.

Back to Friday, when Sónar also hosts BICEP’s massive live show. The duo have gone from dance music bloggers to stadium filling stars, and their acclaimed live show is one of the finest to emerge from the UK in the past decade. And Swedish artist Fever Ray – formerly of The Knife – also returns to the festival for the first time in 10 years, this time at Sónar by Night to present her new album.

In 2023, Sónar will also offer a unique opportunity to discover a diverse range of emerging and established Spanish artists. Global superstar Bad Gyal, fresh off a collaboration with Sean Paul and Karol G, performs for the first time at Sónar by Night on Saturday 17th June. The Catalan returns to the festival as a worldwide idol, performing songs from her debut album, which will be released later this year, as well as all of her greatest hits. In addition to her highly awaited appearance at SonarPub by Thunder Bitch, there’s an extensive special programme planned at the circular SonarCar by TOUS stage on the same night. Queer icon Samantha Hudson returns to the festival to perform ‘AOVE Black Label’, before giving way to trap and reggaeton artist La Zowi’s new show ‘La Reina del Sur’, and a live performance by viral rapper Orslok. There’ll also be DJ sets from Mareo: Chico Blanco b2b 8kitoo, who mix classic house with breakbeat, trance, trap, hip-hop and everything in between; bedroom pop and trap producer Rusowsky; and hardcore revivalist Parkineos.

Sónar Marks 30 Years of Constant Innovation

Baba Sy


Sónar by Night also features some of the biggest names in global club culture. On Friday, Peggy Gou and Honey Dijon – two of modern house and disco’s leading representatives – both appear. On the same night, German producer Solomun, who’s brought the sound of deep house and melodic techno to some of the biggest stages on the planet, finally makes his debut at Sónar. On Saturday, Amelie Lens will return to shake SonarClub to its foundations with fast-paced acid techno. She’s joined by Richie Hawtin, a longtime friend of the festival – it wouldn’t be a 30th anniversary party without him – completing a lineup of the biggest and best DJs around.

There’s also thoughtful and socially engaged hip-hop courtesy of Little Simz, plus Alizz’s special ‘Club 2000’ DJ set, a selection of the best hispanic pop, trap and R&B, conceived especially for this 30th anniversary edition. The fresh sound of Logic1000 headlines a list of diverse and innovative practitioners of club music from around the globe, which includes SHERELLE x Kode9’s rejuvenated jungle, drum’n’bass legends DJ Marky & MC GQ, and Ikonika’s amapiano-inspired live show ‘Bubble Up’. Joining them are talented selector CC:DISCO!, multi-disciplinary artists JOVENDELAPERLA and Baba Sy, UK garage stalwart DJ EZ, and a genre-colliding DJ set from Aquarian.

A different side of Detroit appears with DJ Holographic b2b DJ Minx, as two generations of the motor city go back-to-back. They’re joined by a colourful Barcelona-Berlin techno pairing, ISAbella b2b Roza Terenzi, plus a 5 hour extended set from Âme b2b Marcel Dettman in SonarCar by Tous, and two psychedelic early morning sets from Tiga b2b Cora Novoa and Call Super b2b Sedef Adasi.

Completing the Sónar by Night lineup, there’s a live sets from provocative, paradigm challenging rappers Shygirl and Cakes Da Killa (the latter for his first appearance in Spain); a DJ set from unpredictable noise musician Russell Haswell; Cardopusher’s latinx industrial club music; breezy tech-house by viral DJ Mochakk; Barcelona legend Angel Molina’s timeless techno; Carista’s impeccable selections, advanced sound-design from Koreless; versatile UK DJ Anz; Lowprofile’s blend of global club sounds; a live set of psychedelic techno from Wata Igarashi; Undo’s subtle electronica; fast-paced techno from Nene H; the seductive rhythm of Chloé Caillet; and Topanga Kiddo’s mix of traditional and electronic music.

Sónar Marks 30 Years of Constant Innovation

Photo – courtesy of Khali Ackford © Grove

Sónar+D – 15th 16th & 17th June

Sónar+D will host a series of visually and technologically striking shows in Complex+D and Stage+D. Both stages are part of the musical programme at Sónar by Day and open to the general public.

Each show is a cutting-edge musical performance, and highlights include Daito Manabe, one of the leading technological artists of the last decade, composer and pianist Carles Viarnès with visual artist Alba G. Corral, and respected producer Kode9 with his new audiovisual show ‘Escapology’.

Nosaj Thing will also appear with his new project ‘Continua’ (he’ll be joined onstage by Daito Manabe); and experimental computer musicians Rian Treanor and Elias Merino team up as Grievous Bodily Harmonics; while Barcelona’s pan-African Jokkoo Collective will premiere a new AV show based on a research residency organised in collaboration with Sónar in Kenya. Also due to appear are experimental trio Klara Lewis & Nik Colk + Pedro Maia; Barcelona ‘noise sculptors’ Lolo & Sosaku; local experimental beat-maker and artist MANS O; futuristic, spiritual R&B by Sabrina Bellaouel; an exclusive new show from Catalan artist CLARAGUILAR; creative director Tupac Martir’s new show ‘Unique’; Desert in collaboration with Oscila Studio; Lucrecia Dalt’s new ‘¡Ay!’ live show; Santiago Latorre & Colin Self’s new project ‘Architecture of Friendship’; and Ana Quiroga & Estela Oliva premiering ‘Azabache AV’.

Sónar+D also features a programme of over 30 activities – talks, debates, masterclasses and others – which focus on themes like the connections between arts and sciences, the climate emergency and how creators are responding to it, the development of new forms of creativity, AI, and the Web3 paradigm.

Sónar Marks 30 Years of Constant Innovation

La Niña Jacarandá

Entre los distintos ponentes, destacan la reconocida experta en ética robótica e investigadora del MIT Media Lab Kate Darling -presentada por SEIDOR-, el grupo de investigación Forensic Architecture, la artista y bióloga noruega Jana Winderen, los estudios creativos Universal Everything, con una charla audiovisual, y Playmodes & UPC-Telecos con la presentación de su proyecto ‘Astres’, el productor y articulista Elijah, creador de ‘Yellow Squares’, CJ Carr de Harmonai y el músico y pensador Steve Goodman (Kode9) junto a la artista y cofundadora del grupo de investigación Black Quantum Futurism Moor Mother.

Amongst the various speakers announced so far, highlights include renowned expert in robot ethics and MIT Media Lab researcher Kate Darling (presented by Seidor); Stefanos Levidis of research group Forensic Architecture; Norwegian sound artist and biologist Jana Winderen; an AV talk by creative studio Universal Everything; Playmodes & UPC-Telecos presenting their new project ‘Astres’; producer and writer Elijah, the creator of ‘Yellow Squares’; CJ Carr of generative music and stable diffusion organisation Harmonai; and musician and thinker Kode9 who’ll appear in conversation with Moor Mother, artist, musician and co-founder of Black Quantum Futurism.

Sónar Marks 30 Years of Constant Innovation

Manuka Honey

Sónar+D also introduces three debate forums:

The first forum will focus on music innovation, with discussions on communities and distribution platforms, new live formats and the latest digital creation tools.

The second forum, organised in collaboration with local association HacTe, will focus on the relationship between art, science and technology, bringing together artists, scientists, research centres and cultural representatives to discuss best practices in collaborative processes and how to create physical and virtual spaces that encourage relationships between these disciplines.

And finally, the AI & Web3 Creatives Summit, run by UPF Ventures and co-produced by Sónar+D, will offer two days of project presentations, debate and exchange of experiences, helping develop and expand relationships between key companies and professionals from the creative-technological world. It will feature local projects, conferences, round tables and various conversations between participants from companies such as MEDIAPRO and Runway.

Sónar Marks 30 Years of Constant Innovation



As happens every year, in parallel to everything taking place between 15th and 17th June at Fira Montjuïc and Fira Gran Via, Sónar will spread throughout the city via the SonarExtra programme.

The AI & Web3 Creatives Summit is complemented by the +RAIN Film Fest, an international film festival of works made entirely using Artificial Intelligence, organised by the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and Sónar+D, which will be held on 14th June at the University’s Poblenou Campus. It’s the first time that such an event takes place in Europe. The participants will also appear, together with other speakers, at Sónar+D on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th June.

Sónar+D is also collaborating with the International Symposium on Soundscape, organised by the University of Barcelona (UB), which will take place on 13th and 14th June. On 15th June, the UB research team (philosophers, art historians, composers, musicians, architects, demographers and engineers) will present the results of the symposium’s research at Sónar+D.

Sónar Marks 30 Years of Constant Innovation


And finally, SonarMies will visit the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion during the festival.

‘Digital Impact’, which opens its doors from April to August this year at Disseny Hub Barcelona, is the first interactive exhibition of purely digital art to take place in Barcelona. Aimed at audiences of all ages and backgrounds, it’s a thought-provoking experience that blurs the boundaries between the physical and virtual worlds. Sónar is collaborating with the exhibition, hosting some of the participants at Sónar+D, and offering special admission discounts to all festival ticket holders.