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OFFSónar Barcelona, or how an entire city surrenders to electronic music

The annual event took place on the week of July 15-21, framed within the yearly Sónar festival.

As usual on this date, Barcelona was flooded with electronic music in its purest state. For 7 non-stop days, performances were spread throughout the Mediterranean city; especially in Poble Espanyol and in various of the city’s landmark clubs.

The week ahead was looking intense for electronic music lovers. Events were going to take place which would gather many renowned labels, promoters and artists from different genres of electronic music worldwide. The parties overlapped one another, and it was impossible to try to not miss anything. But the magic was in the quality to be found, regardless of where you danced.

It’s essential to begin by highlighting the already-consolidated OFFSónar and its incredible schedule for these days. The event once again turned Poble Espanyol into the sole stage for exclusive showcases with artists from all around the world. It brought together nine parties during four days in unique spaces, in parallel to other events taking place across the city.

Next, we’ll take a tour through the ones we enjoyed the most:

On Thursday, we started with the showcase of Guy J’s label, Lost and Found. The Israeli DJ, an icon of progressive house, showed why his imprint and artists are part of the high class of the genre, and made us vibrate in La Terrazza, along with solid sets from Guy Mantzur, Henry Saiz and Nickoizzo.

Next door, OffSónar begun the journey with WooMoon and Storytellers, who cast a spell in the monastery and other special stages. They built an idyllic space where circus performances, giant mandalas and fantastic creatures joined together in this ultra-sensorial party where the music fits more than perfectly.

There were great performances by Audiofly, Blond:ish, Jan Blomqvist, Satori, Monolink and Rampue, who delighted the audience with their sets, followed by a huge closing with Luciano and Damian Lazarus in two separate stages. We were divided between the trademark organic house sound of the Chilean artist and the exquisite selection of techno and deep house of the Crosstown Rebels boss, who made the crowd smile until the end of the night.

On Friday, we heard the call of techno from early on. The showcase from Swedish imprint Drumcode, run by Adam Beyer, displayed a sold-out sign and filled the Plaza Mayor of Poble Espanyol with masterful performances by Charlotte de Witte, llario Alicante, ANNA, Ida Engberg, and with an exclusive, never-seen-before closing by Adam Beyer back-to-back Enrico Sangiuliano.

Meanwhile, two classic labels joined together and brought the best from each one; Carl Craig’s mythical imprint Detroit Love, and Rush Hour from Amsterdam, two heavyweights for a heartfelt tribute to worldwide techno and house. The Detroit family quickened the pulse of the audience with DJ Stingray⁠, Moodymann, Wajeed, Holographic and, lastly, Craig, who started his set by presenting himself, as if he were unknown to someone in the crowd, and closed the night like the master he is.

On the other stage, sparks were flying in Amsterdam. Young Marco, I-F, Interstellar Funk, Sassy J, Insanlar and Hunee back-to-back Antal made the audience boogie till they dropped with their vibrant selection of house, funk and world music, ending the evening with the joy of pure dancing.

Both the night and the music were still going strong in Club Bestial, where German producer HOSH introduced fryhide to OFFSónar for the first time. One of the most recognized artists of the Diynamic label flooded the venue with his trademark deep house and melodic techno sound, full of fine rhythms. He was joined by Tone Depth, Tim Engelhardt, Groj, Simao and 1979.

Then, Saturday arrived and with it one of the most anticipated dates, the Innervisions showcase. This time, all of Poble Nou surrended to the crew, which took over the whole venue with a very complete lineup. Headlined by Dixon and Âme, we also danced to Haai, Frank Weidermann, Trikk, SRVD, Avalon Emerson, Courtesy, John Talabot, Gerd Janson, Kink, Marcel Dettmann, Terr, Marcus Worgull, Or:la, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Apparat and Job Jobse.

In the main stage at the plaza, Catalan John Talabot offered us, as always, a dark and introspective journey, he made us dance and forget the heat! We also witnessed the live match between KiNK and Weidermann with a Live back-to-back set, a show that rarely happens and difficult to forget. Lastly, the most anticipated performance of the night, Dixon & Âme closed the night flooding the main square, without even a disappointing second.

There were also great shows in the other locations. In The Monastery, Apparat offered a DJ set designed to destroy your sneakers, followed by Motor City Ensemble, who, as always, brought out our funkier, jazzier side, sharing the stage throughout the night with Dixon. Trikk and Âme also took part in a very special back-to-back, mixing live and DJ sets in the early afternoon.

We couldn’t give up on Sunday and decided to attend Outlier, presented by Bonobo, where Agoria, Mathew Johnson (live), Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and the artist himself, with another one of his highlight shows, captivating the crowd in the Monastery of Poble Espanyol. Without a doubt, Bonobo’s set awakened so many emotions that the audience was surprised by a marriage proposal in the middle of the dancefloor. It was a “Yes”, to everyone’s relief, and the musical journey continued its course.

Lastly attended the not-to-be-missed Sudbeat party at La Terrraza, headlined by Hernan Cattaneo next to Danny Howells, Nick Varon, Oliverio and Graziano Raffa, with whom we continued the night in rising local powerhouse Valhalla who, together with Graziano Raffa, delivered an uncompromising afterparty for the bravest souls. The sold-out sign hung from both events, where the last people standing after such an intense week enjoyed themselves.

See you next year, Barcelona!

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