Sonic Wave Festival Review
BBC 6 Music Festival - Day 2
CARDIFF, WALES - APRIL 02: Oli Dwedney, Alex Rice and Alex Greenwood of Sports Team perform on stage at Cardiff University as part of the BBC 6 Music Festival on April 02, 2022 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns)

Sonic Wave Festival Review

Vicky Wilson June 8, 2022

On Saturday 4 June, annual festival Sonic Wave returned to Birmingham’s O2 Institute. Across the Institute’s three rooms, 24 up and coming artists performed music in a range of genres and styles. With tickets costing just £15, and the opportunity to discover new artists and even chat to them after their sets, this event was the perfect way to celebrate the bank holiday.


In past years Sonic Wave has been a multi-venue festival, with performances spread across Birmingham, in independent bars like the Sunflower Lounge and The Castle and Falcon. Though it meant it was easy to hop between sets and explore more artists, it was a little disappointing that this year’s festival all took place in the Institute. At the end of their performance, indie band Sterling Press thanked the audience, reminding them to continue supporting independent artists and venues, before reflecting, ‘though were not actually in an independent venue now’; it was certainly a shame these venues could not gain exposure through Sonic Wave this year.

Photo by Burak Cingi/Redferns


Nevertheless, we enjoyed a day packed with powerful performances. Headliners, alternative-rock band, Sports Team, brought their signature electrifying chaotic energy to the festival. Though we were all a little exhausted by the time they took to the stage in the evening, they rejuvenated the crowd with their dynamic hits about life in modern Britain. To securities’ dismay, lead singer Alex Rice crowd surfed, climbed up onto the balcony, and encouraged mosh pits in the crowds; the atmosphere was ecstatic.

Set Timings

Indie pop singer, Baby Queen was the highlight of the day for me. Her relatable dance hits and commendable interaction with the audience had fans clapping and singing along. It was a shame, however that her set clashed with alt-jazz band Red Rum Club; throughout the event there was many annoying clashes as the headlining performers set’s overlapped, leaving fans to choose between artists. This also meant smaller artists had to perform to near-empty rooms. 

Ultimately, Sonic Wave was a fabulous way to discover new music. In particular, folk style band, The Native and low-fi singer, Eli Smart captured my attention. I have had their discographies on repeat since the festival.

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Vicky Wilson studies English and History at the University of Birmingham. and is the editor of the academic journal, URISE, and Vicky loves to write for Redbrick's paper in their free time. Vicky currently writes within the Freshered team as a freelancer. When Vicky is not writing, you’ll find them spending time at a roller disco or rock climbing in the Peaks.