Festival Report: Mad Cool 2023
The 2023 edition of Mad Cool Festival took place in the sweltering Madrid heat last week. Vera Valentin was on hand to take in the sights and sounds.
The 1975 @ Mad Cool Festival 2023
Mad Cool's first day kicked off with King Princess on Stage 3, foreshadowing the much-anticipated performance by The 1975 later in the day. We then ventured towards the Madrid is Life stage, where The Offspring's blistering set drew a sizable audience despite the unbearable Spanish heat. At 20:20, the moment a big portion of the crowd had been eagerly awaiting finally arrived. The 1975, absent from Spain's capital since 2019 due to COVID-related show cancellations, took the stage. Despite some concerns about Matty's health, the band's infectious energy and remarkable performance delighted the crowd. As the sun began its descent, we made our way to Stage 2, where Lizzo and her ensemble delivered an impeccable show that left the crowd with the best energy. The night continued with the incomparable Robbie Williams, who mesmerized the audience with his showmanship while candidly addressing his battle with long COVID when having to stop and sit down for a second. The night culminated with the audience divided, some choosing to listen to Franz Ferdinand and others staying to see Lil Nas X’s performance.
Lizzo @ Mad Cool Festival 2023
On Friday, our day began with The Driver Era on Stage 3, a stage that seemed to be dominated by fangirls (and fanboys) almost every day, followed by the incredible Sam Smith on the main stage. Unfortunately, their set coincided with Tash Sultana's, who delivered an unforgettable show as they returned to Mad Cool after their performance in 2019. We then transitioned to Stage 2, where Queens of the Stone Age ignited an intense energy, prompting everyone to mosh from the very first song. The atmosphere shifted to one of nostalgia as Mumford & Sons took the stage, exuding excitement and concluding their set with a fireworks display that took everyone by surprise. The night ended with The Black Keys and their immaculate guitar skills and iconic songs, which had not been heard live before by many in the crowd until that night.
Tash Sultana @ Mad Cool Festival 2023
Saturday greeted us with more heat and another highly anticipated performance on Stage 3, attracting a fervent crowd of fangirls and fanboys once more. The Rose, a Korean rock band, ignited the stage, eliciting cheers from their passionate fans. Years & Years followed, delivering a 19:00 slot performance that differed from their previous appearance at Mad Cool 2019 when they closed the festival, but still radiated the same positive energy synonymous with Olly. Liam Gallagher was next and braved the Spanish heat, donning a thick jacket for his performance on Stage 1. MIA took the stage next, paving the way for the highly awaited set by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The sheer magnitude of their performance made it nearly impossible to get close to the stage, and the energy of the crowd never wavered. The set ended slightly earlier than scheduled and some of the audience started to leave after these intense three days of music. However, those who stayed were rewarded with a closing set by The Prodigy, who unleashed their signature high-energy performance, leaving everyone eager to return for the next year's festival.
The Rose @ Mad Cool Festival 2023
Words and photos: Vera Valentin
Header Image: Nova Twins by Vera Valentin