Madrid music festival mixes the biggest names in rock with Europe’s most interesting musicians
Mad Cool festival is the closest European music fans will get to Coachella without leaving the continent. There’s the Mad Max desert of a location (a dusty open-air space on the outskirts of Madrid), the astroturf, the Ferris wheel. But there’s a distinctively un-American feel to the festival too. The line-up contains just as many big hitters, yet posits them alongside Europe’s most interesting artists, many of whom perform in their mother tongues. There’s a sense of real culture here that Coachella has always lacked.
It feels odd to lead on a review of a music festival by mentioning the heat, but – given Madrid in July doesn’t feel like the most sensible place to host a festival – Mad Cool is optimally designed to alleviate the worst of it. It may be 39 degrees, but the crowds never feel, well, crowded. There’s also a lot of manufactured shade around – even dance tent The Loop is surprisingly airy (although it’s far too small a venue for Two Door Cinema Club’s set). Here, there’s no anxiously checking the weather app to see if you need to pull out the wellies. Walking is kept to a minimum – if you’ve been looking for the chance to live your influencer life and dress up for a festival, this is the place to do it.