Festival Report Card

Festival Report Card: Sonus Festival 2023

Looking for a place where you can party until the sun comes up for five nights straight? Sonus Festival has you covered.

The festival takes place on Pag Island, located on the coast of Croatia. Not only are you surrounded by some of the best house and techno DJs in the world, but you’re also surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. 

Each stage at Sonus is a separate club that’s located right along the waterfront, and the festival was unique and full of energy. 

Read below to hear about EDM Maniac’s Experience:

sonus music festival, papaya beach club

Vibes: B-

European ravers have a love for techno that is unlike anything we’ve seen in the States. This directly translated into the carefree vibe of Sonus. 

No one was afraid to dance the way they wanted to. In fact, no one really was watching. There was a judgment-free energy in the air. We also noticed there were not too many people on their phones. People were there to party and have a good time. 

Unfortunately, the crowd seemed to be far more male than female, with many large groups of solely men. This is something out of the control of the festival, but definitely affected the overall vibe. 

Many attendees seemed incredibly happy to be there, almost as if this was their last chance to go out and get lost in the music. These people’s energy radiated through the dance floor, but, like any festival, there were also attendees who had blank stares and seemed overly intoxicated. 

We loved seeing people hyping their friends up. Someone would be going hard to one of their favorite tracks, and you’d hear the surrounding people whistling and clapping.

You could also walk up to a bar to grab a drink, and immediately be dancing next to eight strangers without even saying one word. The vibes at Sonus truly depended on which club you were at, and who you were surrounded with.

Production: B-

Each stage at Sonus was a different nightclub. Papaya had a giant shell-like dome structure, with multiple square panels of light overhead that illuminated the entire dance floor. This setup was stunning.

Kalypso had a jungle, earthy vibe, with a massive tree in the back and green foliage as a hanging plant roof over the dance floor. 

Numerous lights at each club were beautifully in sync with each artist’s set, whether that was sexy house or hard-hitting techno. There was also CO2 at some stages which heightened the club atmosphere.

However, the addition of even one or two laser machines could have elevated the space and provided a more enhanced visual experience for attendees. 

We also think adding some more photo ops, pop-up games, sculptures, or booths could be nice, but we’re not sure of the logistics. Sonus did have a bungee jumping tower, which seemed fun if you’re seeking a thrill. 

One element we especially loved was the tall Sonus flags. The festival strategically placed branded festival flags in the sand along the beach, which billowed in the wind and looked magical. These flags looked especially stunning in the morning, waving proudly, and welcoming ravers into a new day. 

sonus music festival croatia, dj

Music: A

The techno scene in Europe is massive, with clubs whose names are known worldwide (we’ve all heard of Berghain), and the lineup for Sonus had many of the major artists we all know and love.

Heavy hitters included 999999999, I Hate Models, Deborah De Luca, and Indira Paganotto performed. The legend himself, Reinier Zonneveld, also threw down an impressive live set to close out the five-day event. 

The house music roster was also incredible. It featured artists such as Chris Stussy, PAWSA, and The Martinez BrothersLoco Dice threw down a sexy house set, which we had to literally force ourselves to leave in order to catch the end of Renier Zonneveld. Mochakk brought a crazy amount of energy to his set, and had us dancing the whole time. 

If you wanted to sit somewhere outside one of the main clubs, refresh, and get a drink, there were even more music options with every beach bar blasting house or techno.

One of our favorite spots was a bar just steps away from the water. This bar had a mini DJ booth set up with a giant shark mouth set up around the stage. Some of the DJs playing there threw down sets that made us question if they were secret headliners or not. 

Venue: B

Sonus is located on Pag Island, one of the most popular party islands in Croatia. Each club had its own unique party and vibe. The clubs stretched along the beach with a boardwalk over the sand that made walking to and from each club seamless. 

The boardwalk had a few food stands, a restaurant, and a few bars. The food options ranged from a machine where you could order fries with a touch screen, to a quick grab-and-go food cart, to a sit-down restaurant with full service. We grabbed a cheesy slice of pizza one day and a chicken wrap another day. Both were great! 

Sonus being located right on the beach was absolutely stunning. But, certain clubs were overcrowded. In the GA areas for popular sets such as 999999999 and I Hate Models it was difficult to find a spot in the back to even catch a glimpse of the DJs.

Something that stood out in an extremely positive way was that no one was aggressively pushing one another. We had GA passes, so we cannot speak to the full VIP experience, but we did notice the VIP platforms seemed to have much more space and a better view of the DJs. 

Speaking of crowds, Sonus did a great job of making sure there were barricades to form lines outside each club, so attendees wouldn’t all rush the door at once. This mitigated the flow of traffic while getting into each club. The lines moved fast, and everyone respected waiting to get in. 

One of our favorite parts of this venue was if you wanted to take a break, or even nap, there were numerous canopies and lounge chairs with cushions, as well as normal chairs spread out steps away from the water.

We went to rest our feet and lay down in one of the canopies after a long night of dancing, and it was a peaceful moment after the full party mode we were in. 

Watching the sun rise over the sea with a salty, warm breeze in your face is something you simply can’t find in many places. 

sonus music festival, red lights

Overall: B

If you truly love house and techno music, Sonus is a great place to be. Highlights for us included watching some techno legends, lounging in canopies on the beach, and gazing at beautiful sunrises after a full night of partying. 

All in all, we’re going to take a page from the book of Sonus, put our sunglasses on, dance like no one’s watching, and live like there’s no tomorrow.

All photos provided by Sonus

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