Both Stateside and abroad, music festivals keep popping up like wild daisies in untouched fields. If you’re going to make an impression in the overflowing market, you’ve got to bring your A-game, and offer something more than just a list of musicians on a stage. You’ve got to create character and atmosphere, and foster unforgettable moments that last a lifetime.
Sonus is a “destination festival,” one of those most luxurious of events that requires a trip from your humdrum home to an exotic locale. A musical vacation in Croatia might lure the affluent and adventurous, but if you want repeat players, you go for gold. With 20 years of experience, the Sonus’ German organizers CosmoPop are happy to test their expertise, and come Sunday Aug. 20 (lasting to Thursday Aug. 24), the team will celebrate five years of fun in the sun at Sonus 2017.
“I believe what sets us apart from other festivals is our DNA,” says Robin Ebinger, CosmoPop’s Partner and Head of Marketing, in an email interview. “We come from the dance floor. We have been ravers. We started to do the shows. We do everything by heart, and we have a close connection to the scene and to the artists… It is a passion. We love what we do, and this makes the biggest difference, I think.”
CosmoPop has survived more than two decades in the party business because of its attention to detail. “We can be very German,” Ebinger jokes, accentuating the company’s dedication to quality sound, infrastructure, and important (though sometimes forgotten) elements like clean toilets and efficient cooling systems. If you’re going to dance from sundown to sunup and sundown again five nights in a row, you’ve got to have your drinks cold and your porta-johns fully stocked.
At Sonus, that kind of never-ending party schedule is the norm. Just outside of the city Novalja on the Croatian island Pag, the festival is split between three clubs; Papaya, Aquarius Zrce, and Kalypso. In 2017, Papaya was named the No. 9 club in the world by DJ Mag, while Aquarius Zrce was number 24, and Kalypso 39. They’re beach side clubs, each with their own flavor and vibe, but they’re all set up like arenas, and as Ebinger says, “they rock like hell.”
Parties go from dusk to dawn for five days and nights. Then there are the afterparties, where Ebinger says “the legends unfold.” There are also exclusive boat parties in the diurnal house, where international artists play alongside local talent or newcomers for 250 people in the middle of the ocean.
If around nonstop party hour 56, you find yourself yearning for natural wonders, you can hit the sands for some water sports, rent a boat, or just take a hike in a nearby national park. You are in paradise, after all.
But let’s be real: You didn’t drop hundreds of dollars and get on a plane to not listen to five days of music, and with 70 artists representing the underground electronic music scene — plus extended sets, on-the-fly back-to-back engagements, and lots of label showcases — music is the easiest thing to find. And that distinction of repping the underground is intentional, by the way.
“We started to go on raves in the early ’90s,” Ebinger says. “There was no Internet or airplay of this music. You had to dig into the scene for your musical education and socialization. However, we also feel a certain responsibly to keep the fire burning, and continue with what we do. We want to make people dance.
“We have seen so many paradigm shifts in the industry,” he continues. “So many generations of fans, customers, artists, and industry people coming and going in the last 23 years … If you have a good product, in your niche, you are immune to trends. However, you always have to be very attentive and observe everything. It’s not the right strategy to jump on every bandwagon immediately, (but it) helps to have a young team that brings in fresh ideas and new perspective. We always try to do everything with passion and focus on our product, not so much on the competition.”
If you want a taste of the sounds Sonus puts on its sleeve and its back, check out the 46-track playlist it created for Spotify. It’s got tunes from this year’s lineup of artists including Tale of Us, Richie Hawtin, Seth Troxler, Adriatique, Solomun, Rødhåd and more. It’s six hours of beautiful, atmospheric, blood-pumping, day-dreaming house and techno, hand-crafted by the CosmoPop organizers for your enjoyment.
“This selection comes from the team,” Ebinger says. “Each track … brings memories flooding back, from the sunshine settings, to boat parties to after hours raves.”
Sonus celebrates five years of seaside partying Aug. 20 through 24. Find tickets and more information online, and listen to the official Sonus playlist below.