The famous Sonar Festival has a lot of editions around the world, but the Spanish city of Barcelona is where it all started, and it is undoubtedly the busiest week of the year.
The music festival showcases the best of electronica from talents across the globe. Founded in 1994, Sonar has grown into a multi-city festival, but its heart has always stayed in Barcelona. Though the festival itself is lively enough, it’s the activities outside of Sonar that exude great vibes, thanks to the extra tourist traffic during Sonar week.
Barcelona turns into a boiling pot brimming with activity on every corner when Sonar comes close. And we’ve listed reasons why Barcelona transforms into a fun activity hub during Sonar. This will also give you an idea of where to go and what to do in the city when you’re in Spanish city, this June.
1. OFF Sonar Parties
The legendary OFF Sonar parties are almost the sole reason Barcelona becomes a major party hub in the month of June. They run for an entire week and are independently managed by various promoters in varied locations, including old monasteries, rooftop clubs, beach clubs and other high-profile locations. These OFF Week parties have featured the best names in the house and techno scene, and keep getting the biggest promoters. The likes of Resident Advisor, Elrow, Kittball, Diynamic and Anjunadeep host OFF Sonar nights, and these biggies make up barely a portion of the number of parties out there. It is said that almost the entire electronic music fraternity lands up in Barcelona during OFF Week, so if this doesn’t give you FOMO, nothing else will. Ideally, you should find out about these parties and register yourself; they all have individual booking channels.
2. Barceloneta Beach
If you want to unwind at night after a busy day at Sonar, this is where you should be. Located in the traditional fishing district, this is one of Barcelona’s oldest and best-loved beaches. This beach is inextricably linked to the fishing quarter of the same name, Barceloneta, Barcelona’s classic neighbourhood by the sea, where the people of Barcelona love to come and eat fish and seafood dishes and “tapas”.You can come to Barceloneta and unwind anytime; it’s walking distance from Twentytu Hostel, so it shouldn’t be an issue reaching there.
3. Loveland Barcelona
Loveland Barcelona is another festival in the city and it runs across two days at Port Forum. It’s happening at the same time as Sonar, and is a good alternative if you’re into a lot of techno. This year, Drumcode is taking over Day 1 entirely. The second day of Loveland is an all-live lineup, featuring stalwarts like Stephan Bodzin, Julian Jeweil, dOP, Matador and many more. If Sonar isn’t to your liking, there’s always Loveland.
4. Restaurants and bars
Barcelona has several, reasonably-priced places to eat, to lure Sonar attendees into trying out the best Spanish food. Tapas, Condal, Pulperia and Los Tres Hermanos are some restaurants you could check out for small bites. There’s Pim Pam for burgers and La Mar Salada for people who want seafood. 7 Portes is for you if you’re into the local cuisine. When it comes to alcohol, there are cheaper options like Ceveceria Catalana, while 100 Montaditos offers tapas and litre beers for barely 2 euros. Espit Chupitos is a shot bar with a great selection that’s bound to keep you occupied. Le Cyrano is a bar where you pour your own drinks and Nose serves ridiculously strong. Several other local restaurants will cater to your needs.
5. Several tourist spots
If you’re not into all the geeky stuff that Sonar By Day has to offer, you can head over to any of Barcelona’s numerous tourist spots instead. Barcelona’s tourist spots are packed because of all the Sonar rush. If you’re into fountains, you should go to Plaza Espanya, where there is a free ‘magic fountain’ show every Sunday that is worth seeing. Then there’s the beautiful Ciutadella Park, the maze next to Mundet Metro, the cathedral, Sagrada Família, Park Güell and Casa Batlló.
So, if you’re heading to Sonar this year and you’re a newbie to the festival, this covers almost everything you should do when you’re there. See for yourself how Barcelona springs to life during Sonar week.