“We have taken note, we are aware that last year there was overcrowding and for the new edition we are going to solve it.” The one who speaks to this newspaper is Javier Arnaiz, director of the Madrid festival Mad Cool, at the presentation in the capital this Monday morning of the 2024 poster. An ambitious cast of bands, with a 90s revival, with a variety of genres and the absence of urban music. “We believe that there are other festivals dedicated exclusively to the urban genre, so we are not betting on it,” says the director.
There is still at least one powerful group or musician to be announced. “We’re just closing it down now. It’s almost done. If we sign it our budget for this year will increase [unos 23 millones de euros en total]”says Arnaiz. The festival extends one day (there will be four days: July 10, 11, 12 and 13) and in the same venue as last year, the controversial Iberdrola Music, in the Villaverde district, south of Madrid.
Surely the two names that attract the most people are those of the Americans Pearl Jam, the only survivors with a poster of the grunge nineties, and the English Dua Lipa, queen of current pop, a few steps below Taylor Swift and who already performed in 2022 at Primavera Sound Barcelona.
In addition to Pearl Jam, there are other bands on the bill that achieved relevance in the nineties, such as The Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, The Breeders or Tom Morello (guitarist of Rage Against the Machine). There are many pearls on the line-up, musicians without as much pull as those who will close the days, but with proven talent. Here we can include Nathaniel Rateliff, Janelle Monáe, Michael Kiwanuka, Soccer Mommy or Genesis Owusu. The presence of Avril Lavinge also deserves a comment, an artist who no one would miss at a festival, but since she is there, she produces empathy and, yes, nostalgia. As is the norm at the festival, there will be hardly any presence of Spanish bands.
The names are important and are already printed on the poster; Now it’s time to improve logistics. The festival director is blunt: “We are going to lower the capacity, remove two stages, from eight to six; change the bathrooms… Improvements are going to be implemented. When a new space is inaugurated there are always incidents. The important thing is that we have taken note and we are going to improve. We are clear that reducing capacity and changing access will greatly improve.” Last year, the day Red Hot Chili Peppers performed, the atmosphere was overwhelming. According to Arnaiz, the engineers last year allowed a capacity of 70,000 people, which was what there was on Chili Peppers day. “And indeed they do fit, but they do not coexist well, as was demonstrated. Let’s reduce that number. How much? We are studying it at the moment,” he notes.
Regarding the problems with the Getafe city council, adjacent to the venue, Arnaiz trusts that they will be solved: “We are meeting with them to together look for improvements. With the issue of noise we are also working to minimize it as much as possible. We believe that it is the ideal place to make Mad Cool, with certain changes and improvements, which we are already implementing. We will announce the changes shortly. There are many people from Villaverde and Getafe who are in favor of the festival, because it activates the area economically.”
All the culture that goes with you awaits you here.
The literary news analyzed by the best critics in our weekly newsletter