Sonar 2012…

Art & Culture

For one week in June, Barcelona – undoubtedly one of the greatest cities in the world – is transformed into an electronic music playground where labels, promoters, DJs and fans from every corner of the earth come together for a week-long celebration that has become one of the most important events in the electronic music calendar.

Revellers are spoilt for choice and have the option of attending Sonar Festival itself or any one of the countless OFF Sonar parties laid on by the world’s biggest and best promoters. There is even a four-day festival, East Ender, which runs parallel to Sonar.  

R$N takes a quick look at both the festival and OFF Sonar events in order to pick the premier parties for you to go to ……


Sonar Festival is rightly regarded as one of the most cutting-edge festivals in the world. Split into Sonar by Day, which takes place at the grassy Centre de Cultura Contemporania, a stones throw from Las Ramblas, and Sonar by Night at the expansive exhibition centre Fira Gran Via, the festival quite simply has something for everyone. 

Renowned for it’s exciting and diverse programming, this year's line-up is no exception as illustrated by the festivals headliners – UK super group New Order, US Hip-Hop heavyweights The Roots and Brighton boy Fatboy Slim and bloke who's dead and has a mouse's ears…

Other highlights to go for include Flying Lotus bringing his Brainfeeder crew all the way from Los Angeles, the psychedelic pop of Peaking Lights, Spanish producer John Talabot fresh off the back of his fantastic fIN album, and mind-boggling new live shows from Amon Tobin and Squarepusher. As if that is not enough, fans can look forward to a rare appearance from DJ Harvey, a special back-to-back between Mary Anne Hobbs and Blawan and the likes of Laurent Garnier and Nicholas Jaar performing live.  

Unfortunately for festival-goers the strength of this year's line-up means tough decisions have to be made over which acts to see, such as on the Friday night, when Brooklyn maestro James Murphy clashes horribly with the enigmatic Richie Hawtin. 

Still, with a host of other noteworthy names not mentioned playing at the festival across the three days, Sonar once again demonstrates why people keep coming back year after year.

OFF Sonar:

Whether it’s an invite only rooftop pool party, a rave in Monastery, a free beach party or a fiesta for thousands in one of Barcelona’s numerous clubs, OFF Sonar promises a plethora of talent put on by the worlds premier promoters. Here’s our day-by-day pick:

Wednesday 13th June:

In the evening, London promoters (and more) Warm and Electric Minds team up with Fina Records for a party at Be Cool  with Move D, Prosumer, Nick Hoppner, Tiger and Woods and more manning the decks.

Alternatively, over at Boulevard Culture Club is the Ovum Showcase boasting the likes of Josh Wink, Steve Bug, Kink live and Axel Bowman.

Thursday 14th June:

During the day head to Save The Day at W Barcelona which has assembled a heavyweight line-up including Theo Parrish playing a 3 hour set in addition to Cobblestone Jazz live, Roman Flugel, John Roberts live, Lawrence and many more.

Instead Watergate, Berlin club extraordinaire, celebrates 10 glorious years with an invite only rave in a Monastery in the heart of Barcelona with Solomun, Ellen Allien, Tiefschwarz, M.A.N.D.Y. , Heidi, DJ Hell, Sebo K and more.

At night down at Barcelona Beach Club you can catch the 2020 Vision and Poker Flat showcase which includes Steve Bug playing a sunset terrace set, accompanied by Vincenzo, Simon Baker, Huxley and Alex Niggemann among  others.

Friday 15th June:

Friday is the day which features two of the best free beach parties. First up Apollonia and Visionquest team up at Mac Arena Mar Beach Club with Dyed Soundorom, Dan Ghenacia, Shonky repping for Apollonia and Seth Troxler, Ryan Crosson, Shaun Reeves, Lee Curtiss for Visionquest all the way through from noon till 3am.

The other option is Solomun who brings his Diynamic cohort to Calamar Beach for another free party – with guests  Stimming live, David August , H.O.S.H. and additional acts playing till 6am.

While it may not be free Innervisions party at E.M (a never used before outdoor venue) is set to be an exceptional party with the likes of Dixon, Todd Terje, Ame live, Tale of Us and Henrik Schwartz live.

At night we recommend the mighty Kompakt party at Nista. Expect to see label boss Michael Meyer spinning alongside Life & Death live, Terranova and Saschienne (none other than Sascha Funke and Julienne Dessagne) live.

Saturday 16th June:

While East Ender Festival runs for four days in total Saturday is our pick of the bunch, with Luciano and his Cadenza Vagabundos hosting one stage, and with Planet E helming the other with Carl Craig and Moodyman, this is sure to be a very special party. 

Alternatively head down to Boo Beach Club in the afternoon to witness the debut Wolf + Lamb Experience with guests Soul Clap, Tanner Ross, Slow Hands live.

At night it is a choice between RA VS and Hotflush. RA VS sees two certified house legends in Kerri Chandler and Chez Damier come together for a an exclusive back-to-back performance at BeCool , while fans growing tiresome of 4/4 beats can go for Hotflush again at Nista , with Scuba, Jimmy Edgar, Machinedrum and Lano Kal

Elsewhere new friends Edu Imbernon and Los Suruba at Spanish Unit. at El Maravillas.
Sunday 17th June:
Sunday morning Los Saruba back at Wild Villa then a choice between two colossal rooftop parties. On the one hand the mighty Desolat throw a daytime rooftop poolside extravaganza at Hotel Me, with the likes of Loco Dice himself alongside tINI, Guti live, Martin Buttrich live as well as London and FUSE favourite Enzo Siragusa. 

On the other hand Californian label Culprit join forces with London label Leftroom for another day-time rooftop soiree at Hotel Catalonia with Droog, Dyed Soundorom, Jozif, Laura Jones, MANIK and Simon Baker and more on the bill.

At night the hot pick is London’s finest Secretsundaze hosting their annual party in the picturesque surroundings of La Terraza, a open air club in the hills of Poblo Espanyol. Expect the best in house music from an immense international ensemble including Detroit’s Delano Smith, Berlin’s Sven Weisemann, Ireland’s John Daly and England’s very own John Heckle and Wbeeza live. Residents and party founders with the skill and pedigree of Giles Smith and James Priestley, complete the bill, ensuring this one is not to be missed.

Stream RBMA's SonarDome live below… remember remember Harvey on Saturday around 8pm.

RBMA Radio Player

Oli Wood