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Mad Cool on improving the customer experience

Mad Cool director Javier Arnáiz has spoken to IQ about how the festival has continued to improve its customer experience.

The Live Nation-backed festival took place in Madrid between 6 and 10 July, with more than 160 acts including headliners Metallica, Florence and the Machine and Stormzy.

The recent edition took place over five days instead of three as part of  “a commitment to offer the best experience for the community of music fans”.

Since launching in 2016, Mad Cool has grown rapidly from an overall capacity of 45,000 to 80,000. But this “massive growth” has led to some “incidents” in past editions, as Arnáiz told IQ after the 2019 season.

With the 2020 and 2021 editions cancelled due to the Covid pandemic, this year was the festival’s first opportunity to premiere a new and improved customer experience. Organisers added additional access points, doubled bar services and toilet points, increased the internet network, security and cashless points, and decreased the daily capacity by 10,000.

“It has been a very tough road till here but we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel”

“We have worked really hard for everything to work well,” says Arnáiz. “I think everyone felt the difference clearly and internally the team worked better.”

However, there’s still room for improvement, he says: “At the exit, we had some problems regarding transport due to MADO (Madrid Gay Pride) taking place the same weekend as the festival. This made the general public transport services collapse at certain moments.

“We paid for the metro services to remain active, offered free bus rides to the city centre (paid by the festival), we and had taxi and private transport. We had a critical situation with Uber rates that were disproportionately high and the audience, logically, complained. We are already working on improving this too.”

Alongside improving the customer experience, Mad Cool faced common post-pandemic challenges such as a shortage of personnel and materials, as well as acts cancelling last minute due to Covid.

“It’s been hard work and a continuous challenge, but this 2022 edition has been good and we will probably recover from these two last years thanks to the results of this edition,” says Arnáiz, adding that the festival sold a total of 312,000 tickets for this year’s event.

“Mad Cool festival didn’t receive any financial support of any kind during the pandemic, it has been a very tough road till here but we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he adds.

“We will probably recover from these two last years thanks to the results of this edition”

The festival team’s attention will now turn to Mad Cool Sunset, a one-day event in September taking place at the same location as the flagship festival.

Also in September, the team will launch Andalucia Big Festival, a new 30,000-capacity festival for Málaga, Spain with headliners Muse and Jamiroquai. Years & Years, Biffy Clyro, Nova Twins, Michael Kiwanuka, Paolo Nutini, Stereophonics and Run the Jewels are also among the 52 acts slated to perform.

The ministry of tourism is reportedly dedicating €4m of its EU funds to the event in order to bring tourism to the area outside the normal peak season.

The organisers estimate that the event will have an economic impact of around €25m in Andalusia.

“We studied the market before the pandemic and realised Andalucia was lacking an event of such characteristics and that the market and population would embrace it,” explains Arnáiz.

“We started working together with the local authorities, agencies, and collaborators and the project has become a reality. Sales are doing well and we are sure it will be a great success in every sense.”

Andalusia Big Festival is to take place near Sacaba Beach from 8–10 September this year.

 


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Mad Cool reduces capacity by 20k, adds extra day

The organisers of Mad Cool festival in Madrid have reduced capacity, increased stage numbers and added an extra day to make the 2020 edition “more comfortable and pleasant”.

The fifth outing of Live Nation’s Mad Cool will have a capacity of 60,000, a 25% decrease from the year before. For the first time in 2020, the festival will run for four days, from Wednesday 8 to Saturday 11 July.

Since launching in 2016, Mad Cool has grown rapidly from a starting capacity of 45,000 to 80,000 last year. The festival moved to its current home, which can accommodate 35,000 people per day, in 2018. This “massive growth” has led to some “incidents” in past editions, festival director Javier Arnáiz told IQ in a post-season reflection.

In another bid to tackle overcrowding, the festival will have an additional stage next year – bringing the total number to seven.

“The five-year mark signifies a massive challenge for a festival that always wants to be better and learn from its mistakes”

More space will be also dedicated to rest and relaxation, with a “larger and more varied” food offering.

“We are satisfied to have arrived to where we are with a committed team, top-class artists and, above all, a dedicated audience,” say organisers in a statement. “However, the five-year mark also signifies a massive challenge for a festival that always wants to be better and learn from its mistakes.”

Last year was “tough” for Mad Cool and other festivals across Europe, according to Arnáiz. Sales were lower than usual, which was due to a “lack of headliners” and the strength of previous billings.

“We have to continually work to improve the experience of our audience”, Arnáiz told IQ.

Line-up and ticket information for Mad Cool 2020 will be available in due course.

 


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