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Sonic Arts Research Centre (Queen's University)

Branding for a uniquely irreverent festival of audio art for curious listeners.

The Sonorities Festival runs once every two years and provides an opportunity for artists worldwide to gather in Belfast to present and experience new work. Since 1981, Sonorities has led the way for musicians, composers, artists and researchers to create and perform works and, as they put it, “make a joyful commotion”.

It is based at Ireland’s most advanced music venue: The Sonic Lab at SARC, Belfast. SARC is part of the Queen’s University School of Arts, English and Languages. A centre for interdisciplinary research in music and sound, which brings together researchers focusing on contemporary practices, historical research, audio engineering and psychology. What is performed at the festival is proudly discordant, ground-breaking and fearless. They clearly know that the festival may not be “for” everyone, and the tag was even “You might not like it”.

We worked with their team to develop the festival’s first long-term Branding and rollout onto a new website, promoting events and spotlighting artists.

Visit The Sonorities Festival Website.

White Sonorities Festival logo set against a swirling, green abstract background.
Plain black Sonorities Festival logo set against a white background.
Man in a green jacket holding a poster for the 2022 Sonorities Festival. Text reads "YOU MIGHT NOT LIKE IT".
A decorated window with a vinyl covering of the Sonorities Festival 2022 brand mark.

The brand mark arose from our initial discussions with the team in SARC when they were describing the festival’s scope. They wanted a symbol which would not reference Western musical annotation or traditional audio technology (such as EQs) since the performances were genre-busting and from global artists. Our solution concept was “Broken Geometric”, which could constantly shift and react in whatever medium it used.

Close up of a crumpled, round vinyl sticker for the 2022 Sonorities Festival. Text reads "YOU MIGHT NOT LIKE IT".
Plain white background with two black metallic pin badges showing the Sonorities 2022 brand mark.
An Adshel poster on a suburban street, advertising the Sonorities Festival 2022.

I wanted to say that we got wonderful feedback on the designs and website. It has been an absolute pleasure working with all of you.

Director of Sonorities Festival Belfast

Dark lecture theatre with a bright screen displaying a countdown to a livestream from the Sonorities 2022 Festival. Text reads "23 minutes to go".
In interior stairwell with a large abstract pattern and the Sonorities Festival Belfast logo printed on the wall behind.

Sonorities Music Festival
Website Design

Building the foundations of a music festival website which will expand and adapt every 2 years.

Our brief for the Sonorities website was to build a unique and informative home for the ’22 festival, which could then be built upon for each future festival, so it became a vast archive of past artists and performances. Additionally, the festival had been running since 1981, and no central public source was available to view what had come before. So another long-term goal for the site is to start going back through the records and building an open archive of recorded performances.

We built a solid custom WordPress site with powerful vital features such as event, date, venue and artist filtering. The site was created for people on the move through the city, enabling embedded audio previews and video performances to promote exploration and discovery.

Visit The Sonorities Festival Website.

An iPad and iPhone with the Sonotities Festival 2022 homepage displayed on both.
An iPad and iPhone with the Sonotities Festival 2022 artist listings displayed on both.
iPhone showing an artists listing from the Sonorities 2022 website

By the performance dates of the festival, we had 105 artist profiles on the site, matched into 27 events. Visitors could watch live-streamed performances and join the conversation from their phones. All recorded performances were later added to the events page, so that the site adapted to become the story of the ’22 festival.

An iPad and iPhone with details of a festival gig displayed on both.
Four iPhones with various pages from the 2022 Sonorities Festival displayed on each device.
iPhone showing an event listings page from the Sonorities website.
An iPad and iPhone with an artist's profile displayed on both.
Apple monitor displaying a page from the 2022 Sonorities Festival
Hand holding a iPhone with the Sonorities Festival website displayed on screen.
Screengrabs of three different Instagram Stories from the night of the 2022 Sonorities Festival in Belfast

Client Comments

Bag of Bees tackled the challenge of branding our unruly music festival with the utmost creativity and sensitivity to our ethos.

I am not alone in being delighted with the results of this collaboration. Our festival artists and audience members alike have consistently praised the glitchy, synthetic yet also somehow organic look and feel of our new website and promotional materials.

This was not a trivial task, but the combined expertise and artistry of Bag of Bees made this a joyous process. Their attention to detail and ability to think outside the box, both in terms of visual aesthetics and how to organise complex sets of information, culminated in a website which is both easy to navigate and exciting to explore.

Bag of Bees’ design for Sonorities truly mirrors our desire to search for beauty in the chaos. If you are looking for a branding and web design team who care deeply about the ambitions of their clients and have the skill to deliver, you are unlikely to find better than Bag of Bees.”

Paul Stapleton | Director | Sonorities Festival Belfast

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