Mad Cool Festival on the importance of gender equality: “diversity enhances creativity”

Booker Cindy Castillo Núñez has also picked her top five bands to see at the festival

Florence And The Machine is set to headline Mad Cool 2022 but the Madrid festival will also see the likes of CHVRCHES, Haim, St. Vincent, Sigrid, Tove Lo, Arlo Parks, Phoebe Bridgers and Zara Larsson all take to the biggest stages while breaking bands like The Regrettes and Brutus are given a chance to prove themselves in front of thousands.

Talking about the importance of creating a balanced lineup, booker Cindy Castillo Núñez tells NME that “diversity in all ways enhances creativity and brings different perspectives to music. This not only gives us not innovation, but richness,” she explains before going on to add that from a business point of view, “diversity brings inspiration, insight & growth to teams which makes a business more competitive.”

Castillo Núñez has been a part of Mad Cool since its inception and is part of a 30-strong full time team that’s 70 per cent female. She goes on to say that “the festival scene has changed so much in the past ten years”, She believes that a balanced behind-the-scenes team will be reflected in the type of acts they book.


“Gender equality is intrinsically linked to the idea of men and women being able to share everything equally, including the distribution of power and the distribution of influence. Therefore, equal representation carries within it a strong symbolic power that will always contribute, enhance, and increase the equality of opportunities. As a result, any situation of equal representation behind the scenes will for sure always contribute directly or indirectly to inspire equal representation in all other areas of the music business,” she explains.

Mad Cool 2022 lineup.

The team at Mad Cool do “everything we can to promote and support women in music. Sometimes the smallest things are the ones that I believe have the biggest impact,” she says. When the festival started the Mad Cool Talent competition back in 2016, 90 per cent of the bands were male so Castillo Núñez altered the makeup of the jury, making it half male, half female. “Since then the presence of female-led bands has started increasing up to the point where over 50 per cent of the bands that signed up for the 2022 event were female-led.”

“I think every festival should always do the best so they can guarantee everyone has the same opportunities” she said. “Sometimes it will result in a bigger female presence and sometimes it wont, but whats really gonna make a difference is we make sure that the environments are welcoming for women, not only in festivals but in every part of the music industry.”

“By doing this, in the future it will be less of a struggle to have balanced line ups because there will be more women represented in the scene. It’s always important to invest and promote new talent because they are the future of music.  I hope there are some girls out there receiving this information and feeling like they also have an opportunity.”

Mad Cool
Mad Cool Festival. CREDIT: Andres Iglesias


Cindy Castillo Núñez also told NME about the five acts she was most excited for at Mad Cool 2022, which takes play July 6 – 10. Tickets are available here and check out her selections below.

Tove Lo – “I love her energy and the happiness that her music inspires in me.”

Irenegarry – “She is that kind of artist that as soon as you listen to her you know it’s gonna be huge but most of all because her songs are made for girls to walk around the city feeling powerful.”

Wolf Alice – “I’m not sure how many times I’ve listened to their song ‘Smile’ because it’s our anthem in the office! I love this band because when you listen to them somehow they transport you to a kind of oneiric world.”

Nathy Peluso – “There is nothing I love more than a strong woman who shows us that no matter what, all you need in life is to believe in yourself. On top of that, when you add a bit of pop Latin rhythms and life sounds much better.”

Alina Pash – “I had the pleasure to discover her at the Music Moves Europe awards. It amazed me how I didn’t understand a word of what she was saying (she sings in Ukrainian) but I completely and clearly understood her message and her force, which I think is needed now more than ever.”

Castillo Núñez added: “Talking about these acts has made me realise I have chosen each of them because they resonate with me. This means something beautiful, I unconsciously felt represented by all these women and that’s why I liked them and therefore why we booked them. Further proof of how women inspire other women and why we should always try to give everyone equal opportunities.”