01/06/202310 unmissable highlights of Sónar 2023

1. Eric Prydz presents HOLO: Eye-popping 3D, with no glasses required


Coming up at Sónar this year is nothing less than the most spectacular show in the festival’s history: progressive house star Eric Prydz presents HOLO.  Limited to only a few dates worldwide due to its technical complexity, HOLO is an out-of-this-world audiovisual experience - and the most advanced electronic live show around. Thanks to innovative staging incorporating colossal LED screens, lasers and holographic technology, the show takes over the entire dancefloor, allowing for total immersion. Eric Prydz presents HOLO at Sónar by Night on Saturday 17th June. 



2. Two cult artists return to Sónar by Night: Aphex Twin and Fever Ray


The artist that every other artist at Sónar wants to see; Aphex Twin brings his earthshaking new AV show to SonarClub, the biggest stage at Sónar by Night. One of the architects of IDM, and an artist whose unique production has had an outsized influence on dance and electronic music for the past three decades, returns to Sónar with his brand new show on Friday 16th June.


Recognised as one of the great visionary figures in modern electronic music, for their work as a solo artist and as one half of the Knife, Fever Ray will return to Sónar 10 years after their last performance at the festival. Taking to the SonarPub by Thunder Bitch stage immediately after Aphex Twin on Friday Night, their show, based on their critically acclaimed new album Radical Romantics and featuring a full live band, promises to be a theatrical experience.



3. New spaces and global stars at a revamped Sónar by Day


On its 30th anniversary, Sónar by Day has undergone a makeover, featuring re-designed spaces and stages created with accessibility and comfort in mind, and its strongest line-up to date. Doubling down on its reputation as a space for discovery, the line-up brings together scenes from around the world: from ballroom house to latinx club, and from amapiano to UK garage. SonarVillage by Estrella Damm meanwhile, is headlined by a different dancefloor icon on each day: Black Coffee (Thursday 15th June), The Blessed Madonna (Friday 16th June) and, in an exclusive set for Sónar’s 30th anniversary, 2manydjs invite Peach & Tiga (Saturday 17th June) 


Re-modelled throughout, the venue will feature more free drinking water taps, more shaded areas and toilets, as well as an air-conditioned food court. At the centre, SonarVillage by Estrella Damm changes orientation, with a new, shaded dancefloor protected from the sun and a new SonarVIP by Red Bull, with direct views on the stage. 


The new Sónar by Day is open from 3pm to midnight on Thursday 15th, Friday 16th and Saturday 17th June.



4. Sónar+D: Morning sessions for professionals and students, a brand new Project Area exhibition space


This year Sónar+D opens its doors to all those looking to network, learn or simply feed their curiosity, with a full morning programme running daily between 10am and 3pm on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th June. Geared towards professionals, students and those with an open mind, the programme features masterclasses, talks, debates and symposiums attended by over 100 experts, and will dive deep into innovation in music, the intersection between art, science and technology, and emerging paradigms in AI and Web3. These exclusive activities can be attended by anyone with a Sónar+D ticket, available here.


After 3pm, once the general public arrives, Sónar+D continues until 9pm each day, with talks, groundbreaking concerts and hybrid lecture-performances. In addition, the brand new Project Area brings together universities, research facilities, companies and creative studios from 23 countries, showcasing 80 ground-breaking projects that you can see, hear, touch, and interact with. 



5. Bad Gyal, now a global star, returns to Sónar


Hometown hero Bad Gyal performs at Sónar by Night for the first time on Saturday 17th June at SonarPub by Thunder Bitch. The highly anticipated performance sees the Catalan artist return to Sónar in the midst of a career high. Now a globally recognised icon and inspiration, she’ll perform a high-energy show featuring tracks from her forthcoming debut album, as well as plenty of her greatest hits: the soundtrack for a whole generation. 


That same evening, SonarCar by Tous will focus on emerging national talent, with a genre agnostic and scene-hopping lineup celebrating diversity and new musical narratives, featuring, among others, Samantha Hudson, La Zowi and Rusowsky.



6. A multi-screen audiovisual conference by Kate Darling. “The Future of human-robot Interaction”


One of the world’s foremost experts in robot ethics, MIT Media Lab researcher Kate Darling will give a highly visual and engaging talk on the subject on the seven screens of Stage+D by MEDIAPRO. The talk, presented by SEIDOR, will engage with her work on the future social, ethical and legal relationships between humans and robots. 


It’s one of the many activities presented by Sónar+D, under the theme of Artificial Intelligence and its impact on the arts. Other key activities on this theme include the AI & Web3 Creative Summit, masterclasses by CJ Carr and Domestic Data Streamers and the multimedia performance ‘Unique’ by Tupac Martir.



7. The latest technology takes to the stage


Sónar has always been where visionary artists come to present new work, making use of cutting-edge technology to expand the live format in new ways.


This year, Daito Manabe, who has consistently pushed the frontiers of music, dance, neuroscience and the body, will appear three times at the festival: presenting his new live show, performing with Nosaj Thing and leading a masterclass on his pioneering work with Rhizomatiks studio alongside engineer Yuya Hanai.


Also performing under the Sónar+D umbrella: legendary Japanese audiovisual artist Ryoji Ikeda, British musician and geneticist Max Cooper with his spectacular new 3D/AV show, cult artist and multifaceted producer Oneohtrix Point Never, and Tunisian sonic explorer Deena Abdelwahed. 



8. The new face of hip-hop: Little Simz, Cakes Da Killa, Shygirl


Hip-hop has always had a home at Sónar, and this year, Sónar by Night welcomes three artists that both embrace its heritage and push the genre forward. Saturday 17th June sees the multi-award winning UK rapper Little Simz, bring her diverse, socially critical, endlessly engaging discography to life in a back-to-basics show. On Friday 16th June, New Jersey’s Cakes Da Killa, one of the most inventive rappers of the last decade, and a groundbreaking advocate of Black queer culture in hip-hop, will make a long overdue debut performance in Spain. On the same night, rising UK star Shygirl, brings her contemporary but timeless blend of rap, r&b, pop and global club music to SonarLab by Resident Advisor for her Sónar debut. 



9. Latinx club: where hard dance meets latin rhythms


Sónar has long been an incubator for latinx club sounds, and with the sound taking over dancefloors worldwide in 2023, there’s some celebrating to do. Sónar 2023 presents a host of international artists including Nick León, Manuka Honey, Dinamarca, BADSISTA b2b Cashu, and  Amor Satyr; plus local proponents of the sound such as Phran, Flaca, Toccororo, Cardopusher, La Niña Jacarandá and Bad Gyal producer Merca Bae. Wherever they’re from, they’re all united by a love of broken beats, high bpms and a belief in the cathartic power of the dancefloor.  



10. Angel Molina returns for the final set of  Sónar…30 years later

30 years ago, techno icon Angel Molina played the final set of Sónar’s first ever edition. Now, three decades later, the much loved DJ returns to bring down the curtain on Sónar 2023, and see in the sunrise at SonarPub by ThunderBitch on Saturday 17th June. A fitting end to a historic celebration.