Sonar festival returns to Barcelona for it’s 26th edition between the 18th and 20th of July, last year’s landmark edition saw over 126,000 people attend the programme making it one of the largest events in Europe. Sonar has built a reputation for being an international festival and this year is no different, drawing on artists from over 36 countries, the sonic output is guaranteed to be as varied and diverse as ever. 2019’s edition brings together the biggest names in the electronic and grime worlds with the likes of Disclosure, Stormzy and Skepta taking to the main stage, offering a guaranteed highlight no matter what corner of the music world you lie in. With over 140 shows taking place over the three days, it might feel difficult to decide who to watch, so here’s a few acts you don’t want to miss.
The former Phonox resident has seen a rapid rise in the last year. Off the back of winning Radio One’s essential mix of 2018, HAAi has quickly become one of the most in demand DJ’s in the industry. Having spent time playing the warm up slots whilst honing her craft to some of the bigger names on the lineup, here HAAi plays sandwiched between Skepta and Paul Kalkbrenner, a reflection on how far she has come in such a short space of time. Having now graced some of the biggest stages across the world including the likes of Glastonbury, DGTL and Love International, her energy is infectious, and you can tell she really loves what she does. Expect a psychedelic trip of unorthodox song selections as well as several of her own techno productions that never fail to disappoint. One not to miss.
Most Famously known as Caribou, Dan Snaith created his Daphni alias to venture into the dance world and hasn’t looked back since. Known for his great production skills, his recent EP ‘Sizzling’ has gained recognition across the dance world, with many naming the lead single as one of the hits of the summer. His DJ sets are known for his wide-ranging taste in music, expect left field selections with genre blending curve balls which are certain to keep the audience on their toes.
Four Tet has been at the top of the electronic music world for over the last decade, with over nine albums produced throughout his career he has covered every field of the dance world, from ambience to raw dance fuelled productions. Much like his producing career, his DJ sets are full of variety and his incredible musical knowledge always adds a layer of unpredictability. From playing unknown songs from the Far East to snippets from Cinderella, Four Tet will take the crowd on a journey with no one quite sure where they will end up.
Residing from Israel, Red Axes consists of Dori Sudovnik and Niv Arzi. The duo has taken the underground dance world by storm due to two successful albums and numerous EP’s that display their unique production style. Their aesthetic is both weird and wonderful, using an array of instruments ranging from bells to guitars and distorted vocals which often vary in language, Red Axes rethink what dance music can be. Taking inspiration for Africa, the Middle East and Vietnam their style is impossible to compare to others and seeing them play a rare live set will no doubt be one of the highlights of the weekend.
Originally the main headline slot was given to A$AP Rocky, however due to being under arrest in Sweden he has had to cancel all his European shows throughout July. Sonar acted quickly by replacing him with Stormzy, fresh from his headline performance at Glastonbury that had the whole country talking about him. Stormzy represents the fast pace in which Grime is becoming one of the lead genres in world music and playing two of the biggest festivals in Europe in the space of a month shows the great height his personal career has reached. Known for his high energetic performances his slot will no doubt cast the most anticipation and perhaps ask the most questions. How will he make this show differ from his Glastonbury performance? Guess we will have to find out.
Given the honour of closing out Sonar festival with a two-and-a-half-hour set, expect Dixon to take the audience on a euphoric journey. For years he has been regarded as one of the best selectors in the world and his popularity has only grown since a venture into the world of GTA where he appeared as a character. Now with a residency at Pacha Ibiza, he takes less bookings elsewhere, so this could be one of the rare opportunities to see him during festival season.
Peggy Gou b2b Palms Trax
Peggy Gou and Palms Trax close out the Friday with a back to back set that should prove to be quite a heavy few hours. Both DJ’s have built a legion of followers due to their varying styles. Musically, mostly house and techno will prevail throughout the set. Peggy has climbed the DJ ladder rapidly in the last year due to both her grafting nature as well as her intelligent use of social media. Palms however is the more diverse DJ and I think he will be the stand out throughout, I’ve seen him numerous times and he has always impressed.
Jake Wright | WRITER