Sonar, The International Festival Of Advanced Music And New Media Art Of Barcelona Case Study English Dec 12
Case-study: Sonar, the International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art of Barcelona1 1. Precedents Sonar, the International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art of Barcelona, has taken place every year, over three days in June in Barcelona, since 1994. In 2011, it celebrated its 18th edition. Sonar is organized by Advanced Music, S.L. (AM), a company founded and co-directed by three friends and lovers of Electronic Music: Sergio Caballero, Enric Palau and Ricard Robles. Sergio and Enric had a musical group in the 80s named Juno. They met Ricard during an interview with the latter, who in those days worked for Ajoblanco2. From this moment on they would meet to listen to and exchange music. This sparked the idea for the festival. They worked on the conceptualization of Sonar for two years, until, in 1994, the first Barcelona International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art emerged. According to Sergio Caballero, “in 1994 there were two types of electronic music here: the electro-acoustic, a closed niche, and on a more popular level, bakalao3. You would go to speak to a sponsor of electronic music and they would tell you “but you play bakalao. It could be that today you play bakalao and it’s super cool” One of the differentiating qualities of the festival was the division of its content into the diurnal activities of Sonar by Day (which take place at the MACBA and CCCB, two centers of contemporary culture in the center of Barcelona) and the nocturnal activities (Sonar by Night), which were originally held in the Pavelló of Mar Bella4. Regarding this initial period, R. Robles notes that Sonar was created “in a time where non- conventional music (alternative or experimental) practically didn’t exist in our country. There were a few small groups out here, which shared no real connection. Also, there was little information on what happened outside of our country on the topic and it was difficult to find. Keep in mind that we’re talking about a period when Internet didn’t exist and when there were just a few information channels that had limited space for such type of offer... Sonar has always been a strange thing open to everyone. It’s specialized but the same time open… From the start, we combined different sectors, which came from their own “churches”, some of which were very closed off from classical or electro-acoustic music, those were closed off from experimental music and electronica, and the latter made the dance music. We created the conditions for a meeting.“ Due to the rapid growth of the festival (from 5,949 spectators in 1994 to 12,237 the following year, to 53,000 in 20005), in 2001, Sonar by Night changed venue, first from Mar1 Case-Study elaborated by Jorge Bernárdez López for his use as teaching material in the course MusicManagement of the Master’s Degree in Arts Management of the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC). Theauthor would like to offer thanks for the collaboration of: Oriol Amat, Rector of Finance Economics of theUniversitat Pompeu i Fabra; Sara Bernárdez Lai; Ricard Robles and Sílvia Palau, of Advanced Music, and ofEnrique Banús and Consuela Dobrescu, of the UIC; as well as of Cristina Brenea, student of the 10/11 Master’sDegree in Arts Management of the UIC. This Case-Study is available to all participants who wish to use it, withprevious written authorization from the author: (firstname.lastname@example.org) and making clear reference to him.2 Vanguard and countercultural magazine edited en Barcelona between 1974 y 1999. There is also available a videoon the case (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Px87D5u34ks).3 El Periodico de Catalunya, an important newspaper in the region of Catalonia, 2008.4 Municipal Sports Installation at the beach of Mar Bella.5 Sonar’s attendance record is 91,014 (2002).