Metallica t-shirts and boat shoes at Mad Cool, the festival that no one can leave
5 o'clock. Time at which this chronicle starts and at which the luckiest attendees to Mad Cool arrive home after more than three looking for transportation to leave the Valdebebas venue. The exit operation was the great chaos of last Wednesday. A day later, the problem continued and even worsened due to the greater influx to the festival as the weekend approaches.
Mad Cool vs. BBK Live: how the rivalry between two promoters has shaped a Spain of ultra-competitive festivals
"Yesterday at this point I was already in my bed," says a girl in the long line of the night bus that goes from Valdebebas to Cibeles. The clock shows 2:00. The thermometer 15 degrees. There are still 45 minutes left before the next batch of vehicles – which do not accommodate the hundreds of people who multiply every so often and wait impatiently – appear to the cheers and applause of those who still keep their spirits up.
Mad Cool has once again favored Uber over taxis, which has caused huge queues of people waiting for a service that cost up to 100 euros. Those who wanted to bet on the seconds found numerous refusals to serve as a response to the disdain of the festival. Its stop is separated from the enclosure, at the other end and in the middle of the street, while for Uber there was an island prepared as it left. Even so, on Thursday night they did not give enough and the cancellations of trips to clients were continuous without giving alternatives.
“It's the market, friends”, but that has made Mad Cool a Kafkaesque labyrinth that traps you for more than three hours at the end of the day. The festival that everyone wants to go to, but no one can leave.
Who is who: rocker or 'cayetano'
There was a great desire to party in Madrid. too many. It was noticed on Wednesday on the public transport to Mad Cool, full to bursting from the early afternoon. The suburbs seemed like the metro at rush hour because, although the Community of Madrid had known for months that from July 6 more than 70,000 people a day would go there, they did not increase the frequency of the trains. By 7:00 p.m., the carriages were filled with an odd mix of travelers with suitcases on their way to the airport and fans in Metallica T-shirts.
Between the two, the "cayetanos" appeared wearing deck shoes. What were they doing on that train? The answer was in their bracelets. They also went to Mad Cool, thus demonstrating his transversal condition. Rock and indie are already mainstream, they sound in Ponzano and attract their clientele to the festival to see Metallica, Carly Rae Jepsen or The Killers.
Choosing which concert to see at Mad Cool sounds like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. On the first day, at one end there was the rock of Metallica and at the other the fun Jepsen giving it all with great songs like Call me maybe. The same thing happened on Thursday: on the one hand, the wild screams of Chino Moreno, from Deftones, woke up the entire crowd and, on the other, London Grammar rocked the opposite end of the room with the enveloping voice of Hannah Reid. Offering such a wide range of proposals has been a mark of Mad Cool since its creation, thus ensuring an eclectic and abundant public. Although they have a red line: reggaeton. And so far they have complied.
No chaos...within the festival
Mad Cool should not fail at anything this 2022. Next year Primavera Sound will arrive in Madrid and a chaotic edition would remain in the memory long enough for the festival lover to change sides.
Before starting the current appointment, it seemed that everything was under control. In the first two days the entrances were fluid and the bars never presented crowds thanks to the payment system with the Mad Cool bracelet that had to be loaded previously or from there... and that was the problem. Getting mobile data has been as difficult as spotting a unicorn and the recharge page for the bracelets has been down since Wednesday.
The data (although there was Wi-Fi coverage at certain points) caused hilarious situations. People couldn't find their groups and a young man could be seen saying, “I'm the one who lifts my shoe”, while he held his in his hand during the Placebo concert. On Thursday, a more refined system than that of the shoe was extended, which consisted of placing the mobile flashlight under the mini so that the bright orange of the beer acted as a headlight.
Beyond these technical failures, the organization has complied. As positive points, the bathrooms were spotless at any time of the day, even the most advanced. The layout of the food caravans has always been remarkable at Mad Cool, and this year it has remained. There were queues, especially at the very Spanish time for dinner, but nothing to do with the Rio Babel festival, held a weekend before and where the wait to eat something reached an hour and a half.
Of music: the cult of Metallica and the big party of The Killers
Wednesday's grill started with Placebo. The band complied as always, and did so with the sun leaving all the spectators blind, because the organizers decided that theirs was the stage that had the sun behind it at that time, so that those who were not wearing sunglasses saw a picture beautiful for Instagram but little of the band.
Metallica were the ones that swept everything away. Old rockers who continue to show that, even if their voice begins to waver, they have more energy than anyone else. They demonstrated it with a beginning that honors maestro Morricone and his The ectasy of gold, and to the hit of classics –some like Master of Puppets revitalized by the success of Stranger Things– and guitar they delivered a concert that had even the flames of fire that came out every two by three from stage.
Halfway through the Metallica concert, there were still no crowds in the bars or bathrooms. The 70,000 people never felt like too many and the sound reached the restaurant area, so you could see people enjoying the concerts sitting on the grass. They were also in the VIP stands, packed with people, because at Mad Cool, like in Madrid, and although Ayuso denies it, there are classes. Those from below and those from above, because the VIP grandstand is physically above it to be able to see everything better.
After the rockers came Twenty One Pilots, who provoked one of the most viral moments of the night, daring to play the melody of Fiesta Pagana, from Mago de Oz. At that moment there was a moment that only happens at weddings and in town festivals, with dozens of kids with deck shoes and Scalpers t-shirts dancing to the song. For them, in addition, there was a Tous stand, an unlikely sponsor of a festival and that was there, with a half-robotic pink bear in the middle of Mad Cool.
The following day gave the real starting signal with the simultaneous Deftones and London Grammar. In front of the stage of some, the fans shook their heads a lot and screamed to be heard over the vocalist's screams. On the other hand, the latter provided a pleasant concert suitable for the whole family. People were rather scattered, with many small children and there was a calm atmosphere, which sometimes gave the sensation of a bucolic advertisement staged in Mad Cool.
Imagine Dragons were a very different thing. They brought together a good part of the festival although they offered a somewhat bland concert. Although they performed the best songs –On top of the world, Radioactive, Believer and Thunder– and Dan Reynolds took a break to wave the LGTBI flag and remember the victims of the last US shooting, the dose of entertainment was moderate. Not even the trite resource of colored confetti managed to improve that taste in the mouth.
To officiate a good ceremony, call the teacher: Brandon Flowers, leader of The Killers. The North American band has one of the best live shows at festivals and once again they have shown off that well-deserved fame. Flowers has kept things warm even during the ballads or the unreleased song –Boy– that no one knew about. There have been no obstacles to dance and spread the good vibes among the tens of thousands of attendees. “We have lived through a time of loneliness”, said the vocalist, inviting his audience to share the euphoria in company. Without a doubt, the best Mad Cool party to date.
The Foals concert was sacrificed for trying to get home at a decent hour. That has not happened. If we knew, we could have joined the Oxford crowd singing Two Steps, Twice.