Who To Catch At This Year’s Mad Cool Festival


After three turbulent and arduous years of pandemics and panic, Madrid’s premium festival Mad Cool returns ready for festival revellers with an extra day, promising five days of world-class music.

The eye-watering line-up is unbeatable in terms of stadium shattering headliners and some of the most exciting up & comers, all spread over sun-soaked stages. This year’s offering includes rock royalty such as Muse, Pixies and The Killers alongside shimmering pop sensations HAIM, Carly Rae Jepsen, Zara Larsson. Alternative fans are satiated by Florence + the Machine, Phoebe Bridgers and St. Vincent whilst after-dark offerings include the mind-bending Flume, Floating Points and Peggy Gou.

Here are some of our picks for the July Weekender.

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Start the weekend right with Conor J O’Brien and his characterful brand of soothing indie folk. ‘Fever Dreams’, released in 2021 was the accomplished songwriter’s most joyous outing so far.

You can also expect deep cuts from the back catalogue including the arresting ‘Nothing Arrived’ and heart-wrenching ‘Everything I Am is Yours’. The arrangement of the new record allows Conor to step outside his traditional folk sensibilities for moments that unleash the full power of the band on new cuts such as Circles in the Firing Line.

Hope Tala

One of the most exciting new names in pop / soul / R&B will play Mad Cool’s final day. Her witty lyricism and free-spirited ability to cross the genres of R&B, soul and latin has made her one of the most hotly-tipped breakout acts. Mega streaming singles such as ‘Lovestained’ and ‘All My Girls Like To Fight’ are sure to bring crowds to this smart writer who’s been compared to the icons including Shakespeare and Maya Angelou, so big shoes to feel there.

She cites Pharrell and Justin Timberlake as some of her own musical inspirations, so be sure to get down and watch as she melds these incredibly diverse influences into an electrifying live performance.


As the festival cools off, the place to raise your body temperature is The Loop. Mad Cool’s dance stage offers an incredible selection this year including Mura Masa, Nina Kraviz, Four Tet and more.

Saturday night will be headlined by Harley Streten, best known by his stage persona of Flume. The platinum selling Aussie artist recently released a new body of work featuring Caroline Polachek, Damon Albarn and LAUREL to rapturous response. Make sure you stay late to see this masterful display of electro smattered with tent-filling chart anthems. 


Andalucian native Irene Garrido shot to viral stardom after recorded a Spanish language of the title track to Lana Del Rey’s Grammy nominated ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’. Her arresting tones and deep emotive delivery captivating fans around the globe and turned Irene into one of Spain’s most hotly tipped new performers.

After first picking up a guitar at eight years old, it feels this newcomer has been in training to take on giant stages for some time. Mad Cool is the perfect opportunity to see Irene on home turf and the show promises soulful and sincere alt-pop.

Norwegian powerhouse Karen Ørsted plays Mad Cool’s Friday night which feels like the ideal setting for the magnificent pop of new album ‘Motordrome’.

This energetic performer promises a stunning live performance as she brings gigantic new tracks ‘Live To Survive’ and ‘Kindness’ to the stage alongside the ice-cool classics such as ‘Pilgrim’ and ‘Waste Of Time’. Having worked with everyone from Major Lazer to Charli XCX, expect setlist surprises and a masterclass in pop prowess from this Scandi songstress.

Gang Of Youths

Australia’s finest Gang Of Youths will bring their stunning second record angel in realtime to Madrid’s Mad Cool on Saturday. Lead by the sauntering, suave David Le’aupepe, expect hands thrown high displays of musical surrender as the band bring these incredible works of indie song-writing to life on-stage.

Having seen this outfit perform at All Points East last year with no prior knowledge to their music, I left the field a die-hard fan as their style and conviction is so convincing you cannot help be converted into super standom, by Dave’s hip flexing alone. Florence + the Machine

Fresh from the release of acclaimed new album ‘Dance Fever’, and a four-year musical break, Florence and her mighty machine are back and recharged. Live dates are scarce this summer so seeing this global act headline Madrid’s Mad Cool will be an incredibly special event.

The new album was inspired by Florence’s despair at lack of dance during the lockdowns and the desire to re-join her fans and friends in festival fields so expect spiritual renditions and mass celebration of music and togetherness in the way only this enchanting frontwoman knows how.

Zara Larsson

Swedish pop royalty Zara Larsson released a masterclass in pop song-writing last year in the form of ‘Poster Girl’.

She’ll be performing at this year’s festival on Saturday night so expect 2am emotional outpourings as she channels Scandinavian sister Robyn for some drama, dancefloor and despair with her discography of mega-hits alongside exceptional new additions such as ‘Last Summer’, ‘Look What You’ve Done’ and ‘Right Here’. For all pop fans, this in an unmissable show on this year’s line-up. 

Sam Fender

Tee-side troubadour done well, Sam Fender will perform on the festival’s closing day and after four days of sunshine, song and plenty of beverages, his sincere song-writing feels like the perfect closing to such an incredible musical offering.

Second album ‘Seventeen Going Under’ and its poignant title track exploded on social media opening Sam up to new audiences and his ascent continues to astonish. Catch him at Mad Cool before he lands on the headline slots of some of the world’s biggest stages.

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Saturday and Sunday tickets are still available for this year’s festival here: https://madcoolfestival.es/en/tickets.php Mad Cool have also announced a new event for September, Andalucia Big Festival that includes huge names including Glass Animals, Years & Years and Muse. Tickets are available here: https://andaluciabig.com/

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Words: Sean Ward

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Link to the source article – https://www.clashmusic.com/live/who-to-catch-at-this-years-mad-cool-festival

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