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Sonàr Barcelona is launching an AI music festival

What if AI were the new DJs at post-pandemic festivals?

Sonàr Barcelona is launching an AI music festival What if AI were the new DJs at post-pandemic festivals?

Sónar, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and betevé have announced the first edition of the AI and Music S+T+ARTS Festival, an event dedicated to the musical skills of artificial intelligences, which will play a role in each of the more than 30 shows, presentations and conferences that will animate the program and will be opened by the duet of pianist Marco Mezquida with an AI on October 27th. In addition to music, there will also be phygital talks on the union of machine learning and music and artistic performances such as the collaboration between the choreographer Kiani del Valle and the visual artists of Hamill Industries. Another highlight of the programming will be the holly+ polyphonic show created by Holly Herndon, a pioneer in experiments with the human voice and artificial intelligence, along with Maria Arnal and Tarta Relena. 

The future of festivals is not just music

This is not the first time that the world of AI and that of music collide: in 2019 S+T+ARTS had inaugurated the AIxMusic Festival organized by Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, which was also replicated in 2020 in phygital format with shows on site and in other locations around the world streamed on a common platform. Also in 2019, in Denmark, IBM collaborated with the famous Skanderborg Music Festival, also called Smukfest, to optimize the organization of the program and logistics for over 60,000 participants through AI data analysis. The world of festivals is therefore becoming a platform for experimentation for the implementation of phygital entertainment formats also in other fields, such as fashion, but also a meeting point between the classic festival audience and the new culture of digital art, which combines creativity and physical, technological and digital sciences in completely new ways. 

The study of the interaction between human creativity and the latest machine learning technologies will mean not only the presence of a themed musical selection, but also an opportunity for musicologists, scientists, artists and programmers to meet with the public. A hub feature that will open on October 23, before the actual start of the festival, with two hackathons of 24 hours each that will be both in presence and online. Another initiative will be the Thinking Lab, a collaborative and debate space where scientists, artists and professionals will exchange experiences and knowledge whose conclusions will be published later in a paper on music and AI. 

Immediately after the AI and Music S+T+ARTS Festival, which will close on October 28th, the SónarCCCB 2021 will open which will bring to the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona over 40 shows and DJ sets, by international artists such as Koreless, Tirzah, Leon Vynehall Live and Space Afrika, among others, as well as a program of workshops and talks by Sónar+D,  which will have its highlights in the marathon of documentaries on electronic music at the Aribau Multicines and especially in the public talk between the master of electronics Laurent Garnier and the director Juan Antonio Bayona.

Tickets for the AI and Music and SónarCCCB 2021 festivals go on sale from today on All scheduled activities will take place in front of a physical audience, while most of the AI and Music Festival and SónarCCCB will also be streamed online on and, produced by béteve.