MUSIC

Neil Young to headline new major Madrid festival

Mad Cool aims to compete with Benicàssim and other big Spanish music events

Neil Young performs in Washington in November.
Neil Young performs in Washington in November.

Madrid is set to get its own major music festival – and Neil Young has been recruited to headline its first edition.

After years of waiting, failed attempts and great expectations, the Mad Cool Festival is scheduled to take place in the Spanish capital this June with the aim of competing with the country’s other big music events such as Primavera Sound, the Benicàssim International Music Festival (FIB) and Bilbao BBK Live.

The line-up also includes The Prodigy, Jane’s Addiction, John Grant, Band of Horses, Caribou, Two Door Cinema Club, and Gary Clark Jr

“Madrid needs an event of this size as currently all the major events of this kind are great cultural, social and economic drivers acting to boost tourism, culture and the economy at the same time,” says Mad Cool director Javier Arnaiz.

The Spanish capital already has a number of smaller festivals, such as DCode, Mulafest and Mad Music City, but Mad Cool is on a different scale, boasting more days of concerts, a line-up that shies away from pop, and a larger space with room for parallel activities and crowds in excess of 45,000 people.

The event is scheduled to take place on June 16, 17 and 18 in the capital’s multi-use Caja Mágica stadium in the San Fermín neighborhood and will feature five stages – three covered and two in the open air.

Young promises to prove a big lure. The veteran Canadian singer-songwriter has spent the last few months touring with Promise of the Real, the band led by Lukas Nelson, son of music star Willie Nelson, and with whom he recorded the album The Monsanto Years. The Rebel Content Tour kicks off with Young alone on stage, performing an acoustic set of tracks from classic albums such as Harvest and Heart of Gold, as well as lesser-known songs from his back catalogue, before morphing into an electric show with the group. Music critics in both the US and UK have hailed it as Young’s best tour in decades.

Video: Neil Young performs with Promise of the Real.

Joining him on the lineup are British electronic outfit The Prodigy, US alternative rock band Jane's Addiction, as well as the likes of John Grant, Band of Horses, Caribou, Two Door Cinema Club, Michael Kiwanuka, Gary Clark Jr, Stereophonics, Kings of Convenience and Django Django.

“The ultimate aim is to create a brand in Madrid […] that gives us the possibility of reaching other markets in order to expand internationally,” says the director of the festival, whose organizers also include music promoter Live Nation, audiovisual and music firm Zircozine, and TV company La Competencia.

English version by Nick Funnell.

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