Sonar So-good

I have never been to Sonar before. I have actually never been to a music festival outside of Britain before, but after 10 years of soggy camping, over-priced van food and harrowing when-weather-goes-bad experiences I had enough of hearing myself inevitabley bleat with the amount I’ve spent at 3 days of festival going in the UK, I could have paid for a holiday abroad! and decided to put it to the test.

There were alot of things that appealed to me about Sonar 2010. The fact it was in Barcelona – a city I had only visited briefly when I was 14 and well below Sangria slurping age or the age to really appreciate anything other than the fact I was away from home for the first time with boys from the YEAR ABOVE shocker! Also the fact Sonar is a non-camping festival which means you hook yourself up with a nifty little appartment and have somewhere nice to wake up, BATHE and prance around in pretty dresses (speaking as someone whos favourite teadress got washed away in the Bestival 2008 monsoon, this is of upmost importance!) It also means you can buy the amazingly cheap local Cava (two euros fifty a bottle) and freeload it in your appartment before leaving to start partyng at night; thus avoiding buying the not-amazingly cheap beer at Sonar – 3 euros for HALF a pint. Oucho.

I went to Sonar with a gaggle of 3 girls and we rented an adorable appartment in the El Born region. The appartment had teacup tiles on the wall and a roof terrace that we could spy over Barcelona from and laze around in the sun, munching food from the local food market like jamon, queso and la sandía. We arrived a day before Sonar kicked off, so we could have a beach bum day and get cracking into some Estrella daytime drinking whilst getting our bearings.

 

 

Sonar is great because it runs Day and Night. Sonar by Day is held at MACBA which is an amazing venue, packed with exhibitons – the key one being all about robotsa! and two stages. My favourite was Sonar Village, which is covered in faux grass (think butchers windows) and had a constant flurry of DJs playing amazing tunes. One of the absolute highpoints was when Lemonade did a DJ set on the Friday afternoon at about 5pm. We danced, beers in hand, sun beating down as they played amazing reggae and summery tracks. We danced until our calves hurt and when they dropped in All That She Wants by Ace of Base we witnessed a stampede as everyone around us hurtled towards the stage to dance too. I’ve never seen so many happy smiley faces, I guess Ace of Base really are internationally adored and so uncool they are cool or something?

 

 

After a midnight rooftop party, we knew we had to get in some serious siesta in order to last a night of raging. We also had learnt that teeny tiny tapas is no stomach-lining material and this lead me to discovering Maoz for the first time. Or should I say MMmmaoz! Super cheap falafal pittas stuffed with salad and hummous with all-you-can-eat access to a buffet bar of extra toppings including giant sundried tomatoes, fried cauliflower and jalapenos. My pitta was actually bigger than my entire head and probably one of the nicest things I’ve ever eaten. Luckily I found out they have a chain in London, phew, who wants to go?

 

 

I can’t possibly list all the incredible things and reasons why this festival was the best five days of my year, possibly life! Sonar at Night is held at an old aircraft hanger type set up, sprawling and with plenty of space for dancing crowds. The stages are inside and outside and it’s so warm you don’t realise when you are walking between one and the other. Dancing to Hot Chip under twinkling stars, dancing to LCD Soundsysem as slices of sun start to crack through the night sky at 5am. Bare leg weather through the night. Branded plastic beer beakers. Ghost balloons. Even loving crazed Dizzee Rascal (I challenge anyone not to shake a leg to Bonkers!) Dodgems. Twirling around our kitchen eating crisp feasts and making lemon fanta shandies. Singing so loudly (ahem, badly) to A Little Respect in the that taxi the driver almost turned around and took us home. 7am trip to A&E after my festival buddy fell during a poorly executed flying-high-five and tore her ankle ligaments (true story!) Bocadillo vending machines.

Sunday was a sad day, and even the beautiful care bear clouds on the flight home and being treated like P Diddy on arrival at Gatwick because of Susies broken foot (private lift and mini bus arriving to the plane to whisk us off and through security in .5 seconds!) can’t shake my back to work blues.  I would recommend. Heck I would BEG anyone with a foreign festival itch to scratch it next year and head to Sonar next year. I’m already counting down the days.

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  1. missbeliever’s avatar

    Ah Barcelona! Your roof terrace looks a lot like the one we had when we went to Primavera last year. I have pretty much sworn to only go to Barcelona based festivals from now on (sadly, it clashed with the big move down south this year) because it was so good. I wish I could live there! I don’t know an awful lot about Sonar, but Primavera seems to have a consistent line up of my favorite bands. Glad you had a good time! x

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    1. likeaskeletonkey’s avatar

      I instantly fell in love with having my secret little rooftop hideaway – up amongst the TV arials and swooping birds 🙂
      I had to make the tricky choice between Primavera and Sonar and Sonar won purely out of more friends going and ease of getting time off work at that point. I think I’ll try do both next year as the flights I found were so cheap and the appartment really reasonable.

      Are the gig venues for Primavera big? I’d always (wrongly I’m sure) imagined it to be like the Camden Crawl and struggling to fit into the venues showing the biggest headline acts which has put me off! x

      Reply

      1. missbeliever’s avatar

        Primavera is actually an on site festival at the parc del forum, which I think was originally built for the water stuff at the Olympic games. So there’s various stages and a massive food court. It’s lovely watching bands and looking at the sea! And the line up is just amazing x

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      2. jane’s avatar

        all looks ace! perfect summer days. i do always love the spanish way of doing things – and yes, maoz is A-MAZING, happy days that there is indeed one in soho.

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        1. likeaskeletonkey’s avatar

          Thanks Jane! I’m worried that Maoz will fast become a dangerous addiction after post-work Soho drinks! It’s open until 1am apparently..

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        2. meg’s avatar

          Oh sounds perfect – so glad you had a wonderful time 🙂

          Reply

        3. Tomathy’s avatar

          Hey Bee,

          Great summary of everything that was great about Sonar. My only recommendation for next time would be to do what I did and have a couple of days recovering in Barcelona after the festival to ease your return to normality.
          There’s a great set of official pics of the acts at this flickr stream

          http://www.flickr.com/photos/scanner-fm/

          beef!

          Tom C

          Reply

        4. laura’s avatar

          Am also a fan of Maoz!! Discovered it in Amsterdam, i wish they’d open up more!

          Reply

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