How did you start working for the festival?
In the summer of ‘95, I began to work for the festival as a volunteer. At that time, we were a small operating team made up of seven people; we immediately had a connection. In September I was asked to make part of the organization, then I started to work as a free-lance computer designer assistant. Basically, my role was to help the designer lay out the catalogue of the festival.
How has your job changed, since then?
From the practical point of view, this job has become more sustainable, considering that we began to develop Sonar before the advent of internet: There’s actually a Before and After Internet. I have been the head of communication since always, and at the beginning there was a lot of manual work: we were in touch with all the journalists, the institutions interested in the festival and the newsrooms; we would confirm and record the press credentials and send press materials, all by means of a machine which today looks prehistoric…the fax! At that time, the whole thing was certainly more complex to manage, both from the budget and from the operating point of view.
After internet arrived, there’s been of course a practical evolution, which has enormously helped in holding contacts with the press and in spreading the contents, i.e. through the digital medium. Thanks to internet, we’ve been able to go much farther: the exhibition of the festival at a digital level, which I’ve always supported, has been very powerful. Being a festival on electronic music, obviously the contents themselves can have their maximum dissemination thanks to the web.
Internet and Sonar go together almost like Barcelona and Sonar do.
What are the strong points of SONAR FESTIVAL, as compared to other digital music festivals?
Pure electronic festivals are hard to find – you can have pop-rock festivals with electronics, dance music and crossover, but pure electronic festivals like ours are really a few, also at international level. I believe this makes us unique and expert, and help us keep our interest in the artistic direction alive. Moreover, our festival is an urban festival, and the match between electronic and urban is our distinctive feature, making us more relevant against other festivals, more massive but less specialised than Sonar.
What are your plans for the future?
Among the festivals out of Barcelona, we’ve recently added Mexico to our foreign locations, which are at present: Istanbul, Reykjavik, Hong Kong, Bogotà and Buenos Aires.
In 2019, then, Mexico will be included, and soon one more location will be announced for another traveling festival in another town. One more piece of news: this year we’re moving Sonar to the month of July, i.e. a period we’re not familiar with, even though in 2020 we’re going back to June. We hope this will allow students and young people, who in June are usually busy with exams, to join in.
What would you recommend to a promoter who wants to set up a festival and make it last?
I suggest to study the local situation and see if there’s an actual need of a festival. Regretfully, there are too many festivals and many events; we’ve reached a saturation of the market, right now. It’s important to understand, as in every business, if there’s a niche, a place available. You need to see if there’s an audience for that, and I would say that what matters most it’s not how many people, but rather the quality of people. I think there’s still some space, but you have to be sure to create a hyper-local and hyper-global context.
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