Doubts emerged at 7 am on Sunday, June 17th. Sónar Festival closed its 25th edition with a message on its giant screens: “See you at Sónar 2019: 18.19.20 July”. The change of date is punctual, due to the celebration of a textile macro fair that will occupy all the Fira Gran Via in June. In 2020, Sónar will return to its usual week. And that is what has led us all to ask the big question: “What happens with the OFF Week in 2019?” Many of us wondered if the promoters would move their events to July to continue taking advantage of the festival hype or would stay in June, strengthening the concept “OFF Week” and thus achieving an (even) greater independence from Sónar.
There’s been a little bit of everything. Some promoters have wanted to become strong in their traditional week of June, while the Sónar Festival itself has wanted to take advantage of that to get some of the most demanded alternatives during its festival. June or July? When is it better to go to Barcelona? It’s impossible to answer that. It will depend on each one’s tastes. What we can do is show you what the city has to offer in each of the 2 weeks.
June (from 13th to 16th)
Traditionally, this was the week when the festival happened. From the beginning, Sónar saw an alternative (and cheaper) movement around called Anti-Sónar, first, and OFF Sónar, later on. As we told you last year, Sonar prevented its name from being used to benefit the alternative movement and that’s when the OFF Week concept was born. Somehow, this will be the first time we have the OFF Week without having Sonar simultaneously. And this is what it will offer us.
Different spaces in Barcelona have maintained the level of the traditional OFF Week in June. A clear example is the Hotel SB Diagonal Zero. Its rooftop with swimming pool offers 3 dates in the afternoon (3 pm to 10 pm) with international stars such as Christian Burkhardt and Cuartero (Friday 14), Oliver Huntemann (Saturday 15) or Doctor Dru and his deep house sound (Sunday 16). The Café del Mar Lounge Barcelona will also open its doors on Sunday 16 to offer a 12-hour party (from 3 pm to 3 am) with the progressive techno collective Valhalla. That’s where Replug Records will celebrate a decade of life. There will also be the parties of tINI and the gang at the Hotel Spa Villa Olimpic Suites (Thursday 13) or Berg Audio at the Watermelon (Friday 14), as well as the great closing of the week with the Brunch -in the City co-curated by Dekmantel at the Poble Espanyol (Sunday 16). Before all this, on Wednesday 12th we will be dancing from 6pm to 6am at the GO Beach Club Barcelona with the people of Sunrise and Checkpoint or, which is the same, the characteristic sound of Sunwaves with Praslea heading the line-up.
The best clubs in Barcelona, as you can imagine, will also increase their activity during this OFF Week. Pacha Barcelona will destine Friday 14th to the Warriors party, led by Steve Lawler and in which Nathan Barato b2b Carlo Lio and Nick Curly will also play. La Terrrazza, the only open-air nightclub in Barcelona, has a weekender with the showcase of Einmusika on Friday 14 and LouLou Records with Bunny Tiger on Saturday 15, where Teenage Mutants are the greatest attraction. As always, Macarena will be open every day (Pirupa on Tuesday, The Dub Records on Thursday and Venom Recordings with Fideles on Saturday are the highlights). INPUT will feature Franky Rizardo on Friday and Henry Saiz in his ONÍRICA party on Saturday, while Razzmatazz will host Katerblau’s showcase, one of the most important nightclubs in Berlin, on Sunday night. Shall Ocin and Raxon join forces at LAUT on the night of Thursday 13, Libertine Records has announced a party in a secret location for Friday 14 and Return will invade Wolf on the night of Sunday 16 with Dewalta, Fumiya Tanaka and Dyed Soundorom as the special guest.
26 years after birth as “OFF Week”, June will witness the birth of the OFF Week Festival. Loud-Contact and Proyectual have joined forces to gather, during 3 days in the Parc del Fòrum, practically all the great DJs of the underground electronic music scene. The extensive space, located on the border between Barcelona and Sant Adrià del Besós and home to other major events such as SoundEat, Brunch -in the City, the Cruïlla Festival and, above all, Primavera Sound, will host 7 of the most demanded parties of the moment this weekend.
Friday 14th will be the day Afterlife will feature on its 3 stages melodic techno stars such as Tale Of Us, Maceo Plex, Stephan Bodzin, Recondite, Mind Against, Woo York, Agents Of Time or Ben Klock, among others. At the same time, the Romanian collective a:rpia:r will be delighting with the microhouse sound of its founders: Rhadoo, Petre Inspirescu and Raresh, in their own stage.
The parties hosted by Diynamic and FRRC with Fabric London take over on Saturday 15th. Diynamic will have Solomun, its creator, along with other figures from the house sound such as the duo Adriatique, Adam Port, &ME, Rampa, Kollektiv Turmstrasse or the Adana Twins, all masters of deep electronica. On the other hand, FRRC and all Fabric move from London to celebrate their 20th anniversary with the great master of ceremonies Ricardo Villalobos and good friends like Sonja Moonear, Roman Flügel, Mathew Jonson or the long-awaited b2b between Craig Richards (Fabric’s curator) and Nicolas Lutz. Experimental rarities focused on the dancefloor are always welcome.
Sunday 16th is the most active day, as it receives 3 simultaneous parties. Paradise party will be led by Jamie Jones and will also feature other idols of groove and tech like Loco Dice, Nicole Moudaber or Guti. On its hand, Ellum, the label of Maceo Plex, will have the same Maceo at its event (the only artist to repeat performance at the festival) along with other eclectic artists such as Len Faki, Ellen Allien or Ben UFO. Finally, Fuse London will also celebrate a decade of house dancing with its artists Enzo Siragusa, Archie Hamilton and Rossko and with 2 (actually 4) exceptional guests: the German tINI and the famous French trio Apollonia.
Outside the city, in Castellbisbal, the colonial house Vila Habana will open its doors on both Friday 14 and Saturday 15 to welcome the crew of Life And Death into its beautiful gardens. Both days, from 3 pm to 6 am, DJ Tennis’ label will feature the Italian artist himself and a long list of exceptional guests, including Axel Boman, Chloé, Danny Daze, DJ Boring, Funkineven, Leon Vynehall, Mano Le Tough, Marvin & Guy, Pachanga Boys, Perel, Red Axes, Wrong Therapy and the Italian duo Mind Against, who will prepare a special house set for the occasion.
The week of July has absolutely nothing to envy to the one of June. Sónar Festival will take place from Thursday 18 to Saturday 20, starting its Sónar+D activities on Wednesday 17. This is, this year, the Sónar Week and this is what awaits us.
Of course, the Sónar Festival itself is the great attraction of the week. As usual, Sónar proposes 3 days of Sónar by Day at the Fira Montjuïc (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), where we will see performances such as Actress & Young Paint, Arca, Bad Gyal, Daphni, Dengue Dengue Dengue, Erol Alkan, Holly Herndon, Kelly Moran, Leon Vynehall, Lorenzo Senni, Mans O, Max Cooper, Nocturnal Sunshine (aka Maya Jane Coles), Nicola Cruz, Perel, Red Axes, Shiva Feshareki, Slikback, Theo Parrish, Virgen Maria or Ylia. On its side, Sónar by Night, at Fira Gran Via, will feature names such as A$AP Rocky, Acid Arab, Amelie Lens, Andy C, Bad Bunny, Blawan & Dax J, Caterina Barbieri, Daniel Avery, Disclosure, Dixon, DJ Koze, Floating Points, Four Tet, HAAi, DJ Tennis, Joseph Capriati, Kaytranada, DJ Seinfeld, Mall Grab, Louie Vega & Honey Dijon, Paul Kalkbrenner, Neon Chambers, Tutu, Underworld, Skepta, Vince Staples, Wajeed or the expected union of Peggy Gou and Palms Trax.
The concept of “OFF Sónar” ceased to be used in its day because Sónar didn’t want its name to play against itself in order to promote alternative events to its own. However, in 2019, OFF Sónar returns, and does so under its own logo and with its own festival, in contrast to the OFF Week Festival in June and with many of the top electronic artists who, unlike the June festival, also perform at Sónar.
OFF Sónar will take place from Thursday to Sunday in the different spaces of the Poble Espanyol (another mythical venue of the OFF Week), uniting them all and counting on Circoloco (Seth Troxler, DJ Volvox, Rødhåd, The Martinez Brothers…) and WooMooN (Rampue, Monolink, Jan Blomqvist…) on Thursday, with Detroit Love x Rush Hour (Carl Craig, Moodymann, DJ Stingray, Hunee, Antal, Young Marco, I-F…) and Drumcode (Adam Beyer, Ida Engberg, Ilario Alicante, Enrico Sangiuliano, ANNA, Charlotte de Witte, Bart Skils…) on Friday, with Innervisions (Dixon, Âme (dj and live), SRVD, Trikk, Avalon Emerson, John Talabot, Courtesy, Gerd Janson, KiNK, Marcel Dettmann, Terr, MCDE, Apparat, Job Jobse…) on Saturday and with Outlier (Bonobo, Agoria, Mathew Johnson…), Exhale (Amelie Lens, Farrago…) and the Closing Party (Carl Cox, Dubfire, Nastia, Lil’ Louis, Chelina Manuhutu, Francisco Allendes…) on Sunday.
July’s Sónar Week will be when all the clubs really open the whole week in order to receive daily the best artists in the world. The biggest marathon will take place in Pacha Barcelona, where the parties of Umamii (Deborah de Luca, Giorgia Angiuli, Richy Ahmed…) on Monday, Watergate (Ilario Alicante, Eats Everything…) on Tuesday, ANTS (Andrea Oliva, Camelphat b2b Solardo, Chelina Manuhutu, Skream…) on Wednesday, Cocoon (Sven Väth, Emanuel Satié…) on Thursday, Moon Harbour (Matthias Tanzmann, wAFF, Martin Buttrich, Denis Cruz…) on Friday and Luciano & Friends on Saturday will be held.
Our friends of La Terrrazza are also going to end up tired the Sónar Week. They face 10 parties in 5 days. From Wednesday to Sunday, the only open-air nightclub in Barcelona will offer one party in the afternoon (5pm to 12am) and another in the evening (12am to 6am). There we will have Guti, Pirupa, Martin Buttrich, Optimo and Ryan Elliott (Wednesday), Guy J, Henry Saiz, Guy Gerber and Cassy (Thursday), wAFF, Darius Syrossian, Lena Willikens, Kittin and Matrixxman (Friday), Special Request, Baba Stiltz and Oliver Koletzki (Saturday) and Hernan Cattaneo (Sunday).
At the time of writing, INPUT has confirmed 3 dates for the OFF Week. The club with the best sound system in Barcelona will have HEX, Prism and PoleGroup (Hitch, PØLI, Lorenzo Raganzini, Adriana López and the union of Oscar Mulero, Reeko and Exium as Selección Natural) on Wednesday, Pan-Pot and Robert Hood on Thursday and Spectrum on Friday (Joris Voorn and Bart Skils).
CityHall is one of the most centrally located and historic clubs in the city and it’s gonna play also an important role during the Sónar Week. It will host 4 marathon nights. Paul Ritch and Marco Bailey will perform on Wednesday, Coyu and his Suara crew on Thursday, Patrick Topping on Friday and Ellen Allien with her We Are Not Alone party on Saturday.
This Is Hardcore is the name that Razzmatazz gives one more year to its small big festival. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Every day, with the Razzclub, Lolita and The Loft open. 3 venues for 3 nights to host Charlotte de Witte, Rødhåd, FJAAK, Amato & Adriani or Gesloten Cirkel on Thursday, Evian Christ, Bhad Bhabie, Happy Colors or MS Nina on Friday and Ben Sims b2b DJ Bone, Surgeon, Rebekah, Mount Kimbie, Paranoid London, Umfang or Eclair Fifi on Saturday.
Other smaller clubs, but sometimes even more intense, must be in your map too. One good example is Moog, who will be joined by Christian Wünsch on Tuesday and SHDW & Obscure Shape on Thursday. This Side UP will have Curses, Zombies in Miami or Damon Jee on Wednesday and Ansome or VSK on Friday. Barcelona’s newest club, The Garage of The Bass Valley, presents 4 special events: on Wednesday, we will dance to some microhouse with the people of Checkpoint, on Thursday it will be the turn of NODE (Architectural and Psyk, among others), on Friday it will count with the Germans from BE9 for a daytime party (from 12pm to 10pm) and, on Saturday, it will host the 12-hour rave of HEX and KHIDI with Boston 168, Stanislas Tolkachev and Phase Fatale as guest artists. R33 will have Lino Fuso live on Thursday, Wolf will feature Shonky and Praslea also on Thursday and Binh, Francesco del Garda, Margaret Dygas, Onur Özer, Nicolas Lutz, Lumiere and Quest on Friday and, last but not least, Casa Gracia will see how Shall Ocin, Raxon, Stephan Barnem and many others join forces in its basement on Thursday night.
The concept of a daytime party and dancing on hotel terraces is also a good option while Sonar happens in Barcelona. Atik Electronik, for example, calls us on the Blue Spot Barcelona rooftop on Friday and Sunday nights. The same goes for the Hotel SB Diagonal Zero: on Thursday, with Happy Techno and Lexlay at the head, and on Saturday, with Oliver Huntemann, who will repeat after his party in June. We cannot forget the Hotel Spa Villa Olimpic Suites, which on Sunday will close the week with Dyed Soundorom, Ion Ludwig and more.
Finally, we must get closer to the sea, the other great added value of Barcelona. Finally, we must get closer to the sea, the other great added value of Barcelona. In GO Beach Club Barcelona will be where INPUT and Swing present Andres Campo, Carlo Lio, Gaiser, Matador and Wade, on Wednesday, All Day I Dream to Lee Burridge, Yokoo and more on Friday and again INPUT to the people of the Solid Grooves label, on Saturday. That same Friday, from 6pm to 6am, Bestial Beach Club, on the seafront, will be conquered by the music of HOSH at the Fryhide party. One day before, on Thursday, Beach House Barcelona will receive the crew from Checkpoint.
Here is the last party on the outskirts of town we couldn’t skip. It will happen on Friday, from 3pm to 6am (it will last 15 hours), and it will take place in the Cuban colonial house Vila Habana (one of the most beautiful locations around Barcelona) and will be commanded by Secretsundaze, featuring Derrick May, Jeremy Underground, Marcellus Pitman, Tama Sumo and Shanti Celeste, among others.