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Sónar ’16 ends with 115,500 visitors and announces its expansion to two new cities

Sónar 2016 closed its doors on its 23rd edition with 115,500 visitors from a hundred countries. This figure is slightly lower than 2015, but maintains the last five-year average. This year, the voices of artists that had highly critical content had special relevance, noted the organisers of the festival. The co-director of the festival, Ricard Robles, said that foreign nationals who attended were mostly British, then French, German, and Italian, with an increased presence of Americans. Co-director Ventura Barba spoke positively about the sister event to the music festival that ran parallel to it, Sónar+D, which saw the participation of more than 4,500 music professionals. The novelties for Sónar 2017 have been announced, and they include two new cities added to the international route: Istanbul and Hong Kong.


21 June 2016 04:24 PM



Barcelona (CNA).- This Saturday, the Sónar music festival ended its 23rd edition with 115,500 visitors from a hundred countries, a figure slightly lower than last year, but within the average of the past five years. The co-director of the festival, Ricard Robles, explained that more than 50% of the attendees were from outside Spain; by nationality, the British public is still the largest, followed by French, German and Italian. Meanwhile, co-director Ventura Barba also highlighted the consolidation of the congress format of the Sónar+D event, with the participation of more than 4,500 music professionals. As for novelties for 2017, the festival will expand the international route with two new cities: Sónar Istanbul, at the end of March, and Sónar Hong Kong, at the beginning of April. This will now mark eight cities for the Sónar festival, which is now spread across Europe, Asia and Latin America.

This year, Sónar 2016 received 115,500 attendees from a hundred different countries. In fact, 53% of the audience was international, mostly British, while the remaining 47% came from Catalonia and the rest from Spain. According to figures given by the organisers, Sónar by Day gathered 46,500 spectators, while Sónar by Night attracted 69,000. This year, the festival hosted 3,000 people less than in the previous edition, but the organisers suggest that in last year’s edition, the presence of the Chemical Brothers acted as a major attraction.

One of the co-directors of the festival, Enric Palau, stressed that this 23rd edition has consolidated its commitment to exploring new formats and contents, both in terms of musical offerings, such as that which Sónar+D provided, to become a true “cultural laboratory”. In short, the sister event to the music festival was a “common house where special things can happen when you link creativity and technology”, a “natural” combination which, for example, proposed a classical piano concert but also performances that were much more radical in terms of noise level, explained Enric Palau.

\u2028According to Palau, the music that Sónar offered this year was marked by the combination of big opening shows like those of Jean Michel Jarre and Richie Hawtin, the energy and urban rhythm of Skepta Stormzy, and the rhythmic and melodic diversity of ideas like those of Nicola Cruz and Ata Kak. A total of 130 acts took part in the festival, amplified by a wide spectrum of sound. One of the stages that made its debut was SónarCar, a place where, for example, marathon experiences have gone on for as long as seven hours.\u2028The organisers also pointed out that, this year, the shows and the voices of artists that had highly critical content had special relevance. This is the case of the acts of Anohni, John Luther Adams, Niño de Elche and Los Voluble, Kode9, Brian Eno, Jean-Michel Jarre and Lady Leshurr.

The consolidation of Sonar+D\u2028

The Director of Advanced Music Operations of Sónar, Ventura Barba, stated that after four editions, Sónar+D has finally found its format. As he explained with satisfaction, “we achieved (that) the creative, technology, science and business community have a dialogue among themselves, thanks to a successful format”. “Now we can definitely say that Sónar+D has become the reference point for the creative and digital communities, both at home and internationally”, Barba affirmed.

\u2028The management was very satisfied with the results. 3,800 people assisted in the conferences and workshops, and more than 580 professionals took part in fast work meetings between experts, creators, entrepreneurs and investors. Regarding the business area at Sónar+D, the space gathered 30 start-ups and 46 investment funds, accelerators, and institutions from a dozen different countries.

International expansion

The international route of Sónar 2017 will be expanded to two new cities. In total, there will now be eight sites spread across Europe, Asia and Latin America. Starting next year, Enric Palau announced that the festival will land first in Istanbul (on the 24th and the 25th of March), and in Hong Kong (on the 1st of April). The new cities are added to the fifth edition of Sónar Reykjavik and the fourth of Sónar Stockholm. The dates of the editions in Bogota, Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile are not yet known but will be announced shortly.


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  • People heading to one of Sónar 2016 venues, at Barcelona Fira de Montjuic (by ACN)