The story of Mad Cool Festival 2022 – in beautiful photos

Madrid's biggest party is back! Here's all of the action from this year's festival as it happens

Team NME have descended upon Madrid for the glorious return of Mad Cool, which has taken over the Spanish capital for the first time since 2019. With a killer line-up that boasts huge headliners such as Metallica and The Killers, guitar heroes Sports Team and St Vincent, plus mega-exciting local acts including irenegarry and Megane Mercury, it’s set to be a huge weekend.

To get a taste of the action, keep up to date with our rolling photo gallery below, as we bring coverage from every corner of the festival site as it happens. Keep checking back for updates – as told through our stunning photos. Let’s go!

Day one: we’re back, baby!

Credit: Press

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What a beautiful view.

Day one: kings of the mosh pit

frank carter
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes stormed the Region Of Madrid stage, matching the intensity of the heatwave with their similarly scorching rock belters.

Day one: Yungblud is all smiles

Yungblud live
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

The pop-punk misfit was overjoyed to be at his first Mad Cool, telling us that “Spanish crowds sing louder than any other country in the world”. Right on!

Day one: jump up, jump up and get down!

yungblud live
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

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Our favourite Donny boy never fails to deliver a raucous set.

Day one: Carly Rae Jepsen achieves pop hero status

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Jeppers kept the bangers coming in a set stuffed with her biggest hits, and even found time to air her gorgeous new single ‘Western Wind’.

Day one: cut to the feeling

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Pure, unbridled euphoria in a photo. Perhaps CRJ is as excited to be at Mad Cool as we are!

Day one: Placebo hit up the main stage

placebo live
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

The groundbreaking rockers were on exhilarating form, delivering tracks from their stellar 2022 comeback album ‘Never Let Me Go’.

Day one: Brian Molko, resplendent in white

Placebo live at Mad Cool Festival 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Placebo live at Mad Cool Festival 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

The Placebo frontman held their cult following enraptured as he belted out some of the more obscure and undersung bangers from their back catalogue.

Day one: exit light, enter night…

Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

The party mood sets in at Mad Cool once the sun goes down.

Day one: through the fire and the flames

metallica live
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

The mighty Metallica brought plenty of pyro to their huge headline set.

Day one: horns to the sky!

metallica live
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

The veteran rock Gods got the crowd rocking out to all their hits.

Day one: who’s got James smiling like this?

metallica live
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Here’s guitarist James Hetfield flashing a huge grin as he rips through another massive riff.

Day one: all hail CHVRCHES

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

The Scottish trio lit up the festival site with their luminescent synth-pop bangers.

Day one: Lauren Mayberry soaks it all up

Chvrches live at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Chvrches live at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

The Chvrches singer kept us going throw a goth-pop rave.

Day one: Twenty One Pilots don balaclavas

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The duo brought the costumes and some smoke machines – and a massive crowd!

Day one: Twenty One Pilots do their own stunts

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Backflips, confetti and big production value – Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun closed out the first night of Mad Cool with some serious bombast.

Day two: back at it again

Credit: Jaime Massieu

Amyl and The Sniffers put on a scorching show on the Madrid Is Life stage.

Day two: a class act

modest mouse
Modest Mouse at Mad Cool 2022 (Credit: Andy Ford for NME)

“I’m gonna let you know something up front: my hype level is this. I’m not good at hyping up crowds. That’s it. Thanks for coming to hear our music,” Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock tells the audience at their late afternoon set. No matter – the legendary band don’t need hype to make their set a good time, as they demonstrate with their killer Mad Cool performance.

Day two: ushering in the night

Credit: Jaime Massieu

London Grammar’s stunning performance came with the perfect accompaniment: the sun setting over Mad Cool Festival. Closing with a euphoric, extended version of ‘Lose Your Head’, the trio’s set was the ideal way to usher in the night.

Day two: Deftones dominate

Deftones
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Closing their three-month tour with a final stop at Mad Cool, Deftones wowed over a colossal crowd on the main stage.

Day two: open up the dancefloor

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Sigrid’s slick set of synth-pop smashers got everyone on their feet.

Day two: look at these Dragons roar

Imagine Dragons
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“It feels like we’re with old friends,” Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds told the audience during their set. Given the response of the crowd, it looks like Mad Cool agree.

Day two: life is a carnival

Imagine Dragons live at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Imagine Dragons live at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Ticker tape rains down on Imagine Dragons’ theatrical Thursday show

Day two: St. Vincent struts her stuff

Credit: Andy Ford

St. Vincent put on a late-night show to remember over on the Region Of Madrid stage.

Day two: wave your flag

St. Vincent at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
St. Vincent at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

It’s Pride this week in Madrid, and St. Vincent is certainly feeling it too.

Day two: he’s the man!

Credit: Rob Loud

The Killers brought heaps of back-to-back bangers during their headline set.

Day two: The Killers bring us a world exclusive

Credit: Rob Loud

“Do you wanna be the first to hear us play a new song right now?” asked frontman Brandon Flowers during their set – the answer was obviously yes. Debuting new track ‘Boy’, it was an exciting glimpse of the band’s next release.

Day two: Tove Lo brings the good vibes

Credit: Andy Ford

Tove Lo celebrated “the last ones standing” at her late-night show over on the Region of Madrid stage, treating the revellers to a party-starting set of pop goodness.

Day two: Foals close the show

Credit: Andy Ford

Foals blitzed through a raucous, career-spanning set to close the festivities on day two.

Day two: Life Is Yours

Foals at Mad Cool 2022 (Credit: Andy Ford for NME)
Foals at Mad Cool 2022 (Credit: Andy Ford for NME)

Foals party-fuelled album of summer smashers was meant for nights like this.

Day three: MØ shares the love

Credit: Jaime Massieu

The Danish pop sensation got up close and intimate with her fans during her evening set.

Day three: rocking out with The War On Drugs

Credit: Jaime Massieu

Adam Granduciel and co. delivered a life-affirming performance on the main stage as the sun began to set over the festival site.

Day Three: come fly with Jamie Cullum

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Aided by his aerodynamic stage presence, jazzy singer Jamie Cullum gave us his all on the Region Of Madrid stage.

Day three: Culllum, the rockstar

Jamie Cullum
Jamie Cullum at Mad Cool Festival 2022 (Picture: Andy Ford for NME)

Who knew wee Jamie Cullum would pull one of the Region Of Madrid’s biggest crowds of the whole week, and smash out some true rockstar moves as well as a Killers cover?

Day three: dancing with the dead

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Phoebe Bridgers’ sunset set featured a selection of skeleton costumes among her backing band.

Day two: a moving moment

phoebe bridgers
Phoebe Bridgers at Mad Cool Festival 2022 (Picture: Andy Ford for NME)

During ‘Punisher’, Bridgers offers her mic to a young woman on the barrier. Tears streaming down her face, the fan instead screams: “Women’s rights!” It’s a vital moment that reverberates well beyond the PA of this stage.

Day three: sisters are doing it for themselves

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California trio (and sisters, duh!) Haim’s set was a guitar-wielding jumble of a party.

Day three: Haim time means sausage time

Haim at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Haim at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

With the addition of a bevy of massive inflatable sausages which adorn the back of the stage – inspired by the artwork from the sisters’ latest record ‘Women In Music Pt. III’ – the array of swinging deli meat in the background thankfully doesn’t distract too much from the real action.

Day three: it’s giving… international party-starter

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Coming all the way from London to “have some fucking fun”, Manchester’s alternative hip-hop star IAMDDB got the crowd pumped with her Northern cheekiness.

Day three: having some devilish fun

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Incubus took us down memory lane with their career-spanning set, much to the delight of the excitable Mad Cool crowd.

Day three: no pyro, no party

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The cloaked rebellious bandits that are Muse will the people of Mad Cool to rage through all the political fuckery in headlines the world over. Read the five most supermassive moments from their set here.

Day three: masked up

Muse at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Muse at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Muse arrived on stage in the hoods and metallic mirror masks of the rebel militia from their recent music videos, teasing upcoming album ‘The Will Of The People’

Day three: Guitar icon

Muse at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Muse at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Plug in, baby. It’s Muse time

Day three: “This little light of mine…”

Credit: Andy Ford For NME

Alt-J certainly let their lights shine, staying true to the festival’s slogan (“Shine again”). Illuminating the Mad Cool stage on day three, it was a fantastic spectacle to behold.

Day three: Mmm, let’s tesselate 

Alt-J live at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Alt-J live at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

It’s a dreamy and ravey end to day three from Alt-J.

Day four: hola, hola, hola

mad cool atmos
Mad Cool Festival 2022 (Picture: Andy Ford for NME)

Man, it’s a hot one – but we’re loving every minute here in Madrid.

Day four: Leon lights up the Mad Cool stage

Leon Bridges
Leon Bridges at Mad Cool Festival 2022 (Picture: Andy Ford for NME)

Leon Bridges’ smooth, sun-kissed set on the Madrid Is Life stage helped Mad Cool ease their way into the festival’s fourth day.

Day four: shut up and play the hits

pixies
Pixies at Mad Cool Festival 2022 (Picture: Andy Ford for NME)

And boy, did Pixies do just that on the Mad Cool main stage: ‘Monkey Gone To Heaven’, ‘Vamos’, ‘Caribou’, ‘Here Comes Your Man’, ‘Debaser’, ‘Where Is My Mind?’ – the list of classics just went on and on.

Day four: sing with me now

gang of youths
Gang Of Youths at Mad Cool Festival 2022 (Picture: Jaime Massieu)

Gang Of Youths’ triumphant set on the Region Of Madrid stage was a communal affair.

Day four: he bangs the drums

Mura Masa
Mura Masa at Mad Cool Festival 2022 (Picture: Andy Ford for NME)

Mura Masa drummed up all sorts of good vibrations on The Loop stage as night-time descended on the festival site.

Day four: they said it changes when the sun goes down…

mad cool festival
Credit: Andy Ford

The crowd were pumped for Kings Of Leon’s sunset slot.

Day four: Zara brought the zeal

zara larsson
Zara Larsson at Mad Cool Festival 2022 (Picture: Jaime Massieu)

Zara Larsson’s slick performance on the Region Of Madrid stage went down as pure pop treat.

Day four: Kings Of Leon have the magic touch

Credit: Press

The Followill brothers served up a barnstorming set on Saturday, replete with their biggest anthems.

Day four: Editors take a well-earned bow

Editors
Editors at Mad Cool Festival 2022 (Picture: Jaime Massieu)

Mad Cool had a lotta love for the Birmingham five-piece.

Day four: Florence in full flow

florence and the machine
Florence + The Machine at Mad Cool Festival 2022 (Picture: Andy Ford for NME)

Florence + The Machine’s headline slot on the Mad Cool main stage was a typically spell-binding affair.

Day four: feel the love

The crowd for Florence + The Machine at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
The crowd for Florence + The Machine at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Florence Welch refers to the Mad Cool crowd as her “cult”, and there’s certainly nothing but devotion on display.

Day four: Royal Blood reign supreme

royal blood
Royal Blood at Mad Cool Festival 2022 (Picture: Andy Ford for NME)

Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher brought day four of Mad Cool to an end with a typically barnstorming set on the Madrid Is Life stage. Our highlight? Thatcher banging his massive gong.

Day five: Bow down

Princess Nokia live at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Princess Nokia live at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Princess Nokia emerged at Mad Cool as a punk princess.

Day five: howay the lads!

Newcastle
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Newcastle United fans lined the barrier for Sam Fender’s huge Main Stage performance.

Day five: we love you Fender, we do

Sam Fender live at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

N’awww, look at that smile!

Day five: strike a pose

Nathy Peluso live at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

A masterclass in stage presence and dance, the Argentinia-born-Spanish-raised Nathy Peluso delivered one of the finest sets of the weekend.

Day five: seriously, you need Nathy Peluso in your life

Nathy Peluso like at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Nathy Peluso like at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Peluso is like RosalíaRihannaChristine & The QueensGrace Jones and The Terminator in one bewilderingly awesome package – pulling one of the biggest crowds of the whole week, as well as proving to be a twerking, flower-abusing surprise highlight.

Day five: Two Door Cinema Club are back!

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

The Bangor trio brought their seminal indie anthems to a packed-out The Loop tent.

Day five: hear that roar! 

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Throughout Jack White’s killer headline set, the Mad Cool crowd continued to rock out, even after four extremely late nights.

Until next year. 

The crowd at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
The crowd at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Thanks, Mad Cool – you were beautiful.

Check back here at NME for the latest news, interviews, photos and more from Mad Cool 2022.

NME is an official media partner of Mad Cool Festival 2022

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