Festival season is in the air! Spain’s perfect concoction of warm weather, a little sunshine, and fun people, brings the music festivals to bloom. What more could you possibly want???
If you know Spain, you know this country is BIG on festivals. Here’s a little FYI for you: in 2006 around 900 festivals took place here, with over 1,500,000 people from all over the globe flocking in to live out their festival dreams.
Spain’s most established festivals (FIB and Sonorama for example) have been going on strong 25 years now, welcoming a variety of generations to their well-known line-ups year in, year out. Every year, a new festival pops up amid the music hype of the moment. And they all mean business!
Madrid may have experimented a few different types of festival scenes throughout the years, but now the Spanish capital has become one of THE places to be in Europe’s festival panorama. This year is coming in hot with soooo many music fests. Any genre, you name it. The best ambience? You got it. International bands mixed with local groups? Check. Whether you fancy yourself a bit of a hipster, or you prefer the more mainstream music… You’ll find your scene!
Madrid offers a mouthwatering menu with so many festivals to choose from. Thing is, they’re coming up fast! Here’s a little guide (in chronological order) to see which one grabs your attention, all with CATS Hostels stamp of approval, of course:
Festival Tomavistas (MAY25-26) Rock the Park!
Tomavistas festival is holding its fourth edition this year, and with last year’s major success under its belt, it promises good vibes all around. Last year 16,000 people lived and breathed the best music in Parque Enrique Tierno Galván, one of the city’s stunning green spots. This round invites some sensational indie groups, new and known. The Jesus and Mary Chain, Los Planetas and Django Django lead the line-up. Which upcoming band will win you over? Javier Mena, Él mató a un policía motorizado, La Bien Querida, or Disco Palmeras?
Festival Paraíso (JUN8-9) Cutting-edge electronic music at Uni
There’s a new guy in town. Paraíso festival is on its way, riding the wave of the edgiest electronic music all the way to Madrid’s Complutense University Campus. It has branded itself as “a new sustainable model, without huge crowds, that seeks to create the most special atmosphere”. Joining this unique identity are 40 djs, ready to blow your mind, along with your other 15,000 festival mates.
The legendary Larry Heard, Germany’s Acid Pauli and Floating Points are the top acts of Paraíso’s billboard.
A Summer Story (JUN22-23) A wild summer night’s party
Madrid’s most prestigious mass electronic festival is back for its fourth year with its most ambitious line-up EVER. Their bill features the biggest names in the biggest font possible: Armin Van Buuren, Axwell/Ingrosso and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. A Summer Story invites you to immerse yourself into the ocean of techno, trance, EDM and underground sounds. With a touch of mainstream in there too.
This event will see its gigantic venue overflowing, located in Ciudad del Rock in Arganda del Rey.
The amazing after-party is included with your festival ticket!
Mulafest (JUN22-24) Rara avis: creative trends
Mulafest has become a reknown unique event amid Madrid’s festival panorama. A concoction of vivacious tendencies will all come together at IFEMA, all in the name of talent! This year’s seventh edition will feature electronic music, tattooing, graffiti, textile design workshops and even breakdance performances. Mulafest this time around is all about the ladies. It’s space “Miradas en femenino”, celebrates women artists’ creativity. This is Madrid’s most interactive festival, where the audience can put their creative minds to the test in all different kinds of urban chic, cultural workshops. It’s no doubt this is the city’s most outrageous entertainment event. No rest for the wicked!
Download festival (JUN28-30) Rock guitar showdown
Right, let’s move onto the BIG PLAYERS of the summer festival scene. A stampede of 100,000 people will head to Madrid’s Caja Mágica ( Magic Box) venue, to get a glimpse of the LEGENDS of the heavy, punk and hard rock music world who await there. For its second edition, we’re talking maaaajor classic legendary performances from the likes of Guns N’ Roses, Ozzy Osbourne and Marilyn Manson, mixed in with Avenged Sevenfold and Rise Against. This beast of a venue has four stages and aaaaall of the beer bars, surrounding a ridiculously huge esplanade to jump around, dance, whatever. Get practising your air guitar moves and get serious with the headbanging technique. This is just what Madrid needs!
Río Babel (JUL6-7)
Mad Cool (JUL12-14) Big words: Madrid’s answer to Glastonbury
Now wait till you hear this. After two knock-out editions already, Mad Cool festival has taken its third year very seriously. It’s explosive line up is only fit for the best of the best indie/rock festival-goers worldwide. Pearl Jam, Arctic Monkeys, Depeche Mode, Queens of the Stone Age and Franz Ferdinand are only a select handful of the many artists to play at his UNMISSABLE event. This year Mad Cool has switched up its venue, to Valdebebas-IFEMA, to fit 80,000 demanding music lovers through its doors each day. Now THIS is what we call a FESTIVAL.
DCode (SEP8) Finish the season on a high
Dcode festival has for sure won a place in our festival-goers hearts’ by becoming the closing festival of the season, a finishing touch to a glorious period. This jam-packed one day festival has it ALL. A morning of rolling around on the grass in the sunshine, followed by an afternoon to mingle and then with the night come the megabands and an electronic afterparty. Imagine Dragons, Bastille and The Vaccines will seal the deal at the last festival of the season. The Campus of Madrid’s Complutense will welcome 25,000 people to enjoy every second of the 16 hour craziness (what a day!)
As you’re staggering home, you may even begin to plan for next year, guessing which acts will headline your fave festivals, freeing up your 2019 summer calendar and begin dreaming of the spectacular moments that await next time around!