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There are few cities more ideal to hold an international music festival than in Spain’s finest artistic, buzzing and cultural hub – Barcelona. The combination of vibrant city life, a long, white, sandy beach and some of the greatest, pioneering acts worldwide, has made Sonar one of the most recognised musical events of the festival calendar in recent years.

The official event, which this year played host to such acts as dark, trip-hop, electronic giants – Massive Attack, upbeat festival heroes – Rudimental, and disco legends – Chic and Nile Rogers, is located in Fira Gran Via de L’Hospitalet. For the thousands of festival goers from across the globe, a half hour cab journey from the city centre lies Sonar’s main party venue – a massive, open, airport hanger. This year the record attendance was set for the festival with a strong crowd of 109,000.

Aside from the main event, where most flock on Friday and Saturday Night, throughout the week, dotted around the city, some of the most exciting and emerging electronic DJ’s hold raves in secret locations, in what is colloquially known as Sonar “Off” Week. The way to find these parties is online, months prior to the event, because they do sell out – and fast!
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In the heart of the Catalan city, a ten minute hike up the hills from the Olympico Stadium in Fira Montijuc, bass heavy party starter Eats Everything joined a wonderful line up in the stunning El Monasterio (the monastery) – which offers spectacular views of the city. Once the sun sets on this mountainous location, the exquisite monastery lights up, as does Barcelona’s scape and the DJ’s really turn up the heat. No doubt a highlight, but with only one negative – the extortionate drink prices! If you are going to this one and I advise you do, bring extra cash.

Another “off” party, which was a standout show, was the Fact Music Pool Series, headlined by none other than house wonder and club groover Maya Jane Coles. Whether you are in the pool relaxing with a cocktail, under a tropical palm tree or poolside and raving, this unique pool party has the outstanding vibe of a summer oasis. Get ready to dive in head first to cool waves of deep dance.

So, my recommendations for anyone thinking about attending Sonar 2015. Firstly, do it! Second, consider the range of events which are on offer and do extensive research. Behind the quality and stature of the main event, the “off” week is where you will find those moments of true wonder in some of the most unknown, hidden and inspirational locations of Barcelona.

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