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The return of Sónar 2022: The day after

Text by Irem Erkin

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Sega Bodega at Sonar Hall. Photo credit: Nerea Coll

Persephone, daughter of Demeter and Zeus, was picking flowers one day when Hades, God of the underworld, saw her. He was so mesmerised by her beauty he took her by force to the underworld. After thorough negotiations between Zeus, Hermes and Hades to free Persephone, Hades agreed that she could only return to earth for six months every year, culminating in bringing Spring and Summer to Earth along with her. The flowers bloomed in bright colours; the birds started singing, the sun shined, and the earth and plants revived every time she returned. 

For 2.5 years, dark, muddy visions of the present and the blurred future have blocked our sight, bringing us down and tearing us apart. But until a few days before, when a giant wave of music rushed to our salvation with the Sónar Festival, splashing immense joy, happiness and love onto our lives’ shore.

On the first day, upon arriving at the Sónar Festival area, I stood at the entrance to capture the mind photo of that particular moment and to archive it among my most fond memories, facing thousands of people dancing in waves with immense, powerful music, rising their spirit.

Through the days and nights of Sónar, I sensed a victorious joy in everyone celebrating the marvellous return of the Festival. That joy changed shape and transformed into a breeze floating around us all, the artists who performed and every single person in the crowd.

Sónar accomplished a massive edition, marked by cultural diversity, led by women from the five continents and by the excellence of local talent. Sónar 2022 brought together more than 122,000 attendees from 122 countries and has presented more than 180 activities with hundreds of artists and speakers, and has combined absolute premieres, exclusive concerts, long-awaited returns of stage stars and a wide representation of the most relevant global, national and local talents of the moment.

Moderat at SonarClub. Photo credit: Nerea Coll

The festival has opted for the return of established electronic music groups; The Blaze, Moderat, and the long-awaited and spectacular audiovisual show by The Chemical Brothers tonight-the celebrities of popular music in our country; C.Tangana and Nathy Peluso, and Shows prepared especially for the festival: Arca, Niño de Elche + Ylia + Banda “La Valenciana”, Maria Arnal and, Marcel Bagés presented by Hiperutopia, Samantha Hudson: ‘Total Settlement By Closing’, Tarta Relena, Rojuu, Polo & Pan, Nu Genea Live Band and ‘Uncompressed’, presented by Patreon.

The biggest dance floor in the world vibrated again to the rhythm of clubbing heroes like Richie Hawtin, ANNA & Maotik, Jennifer Cardini b2b Perel, Jayda G, Octo Octa b2b Eris Drew, Charlotte de Witte, Eric Prydz, Reinier Zonneveld, Helena Hauff, Anfisa Letyago and more.

The festival has also claimed its intergenerational character, betting on the sounds of an increasingly near future with Morad, Ms Nina, Simona, Juicy Bae, Yugen Kala, Chico Blanco, GAZZI, Depression Sonora, mori + Rusowsky or El Bobe.

Since this edition, Sónar+D has increasingly integrated into Sónar by Day and allows all attendees to discover the new spaces, SonarMàtica by Tezos and, SonarÀgora, as well as the spectacular Stage+D, in which a multitude of activities are held between the conference and performance.

The new ecosystems born in the Web3, the creative, industrial, political and ethical challenges that Artificial Intelligence (AI) faces us, the studies and advances of Acoustic Ecology, and the works in the field of Ecology and Fiction have been the four axes communicated among more than 60 speakers present at this edition.

In addition, SonarExtra has planned a tour to the heart of Barcelona this week, allowing the public to immerse themselves in ‘Hyperorgan’, the sound experience of Sónar, together with the master organ builder Albert Blancafort, the technologist Santi Vilanova from Playmodes, and the Berlin composers Gamut inc in Palau Güell; Sondear and ‘Museum of Sound’ by Mika Vainio at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies; and, Quayola’s ‘Transient’, presented by ME by Meliá, at the Hotel ME Barcelona.

I can feel Persephone’s return in bright colours and melodic sounds, celebrating the marvellous return of Sónar.

(Images courtesy of Sónar Festival)
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