- Words Isabelle Cassidy
- Photo Credit Kirsten Otto
Melt Festival took place near Berlin last weekend, with a lineup that included Little Simz, Fred Again.., Peggy Gou, Overmono and Shygirl.
Last weekend saw the latest edition of Melt Festival, one of the biggest open-air festivals in Germany. Set against the industrial backdrop of Ferropolis (or City of Iron), over 12 stages offered a world of musical discovery unrestricted by genre or provenance. The atmosphere: a welcoming liberation synonymous with the Berlin clubbing scene, combined with shared love and respect for music, the event, and each other.
Upon entering the arena, the festivalgoer is greeted by an expanse of land, populated by huge pieces of abandoned machinery. The iron giants are elaborately lit, with stages such as the Big Wheel built into the metal structures themselves. Ferropolis has more surprises to offer, as a lake surrounding the festival grounds traces from the campsite to the main stage, and the forest – complete with woodland soundsystems. Full of hungover swimmers in the daytime as temperatures hit nearly 30 degrees, at night the calm waters reflect the festival’s impressive lighting rigs.
Kicking off on the Thursday night, a line-up including Arlo Parks and Little Simz ushered in the festival with a bang. French electronic act The Blaze headlined the Gremmin Beach new main stage, and the group were a massive hit amongst the Berlin crowd. A set complete with elaborate screen displays and more of the spectacular lighting that became a theme of the weekend, those that may not have known the act, came away fans. Avalon Emerson and DJ Seinfeld were some of the Thursday night DJs proving the first day to be anything other than a warm-up, as a calm vibe was established by a friendly atmosphere.
On Friday, after revellers had spent a long day by the lake, there were more huge acts hitting the main stage. In a demonstration of the diversity of programming, Tom Misch soothed the audience with his gentle soul-pop, before Fred Again.. produced a dazzling electronic set and Grime artist Headie One took over as the clock struck 2.00 am. Shygirl hit the 30CV stage to a packed audience, and world-class techno was never far away, this is Berlin after all. Marcell Dettman and DJ Stingray 303 served up their usual seamless mixes. Palm Traxx b2b Hunee on the Ping Pong stage was another unforgettable pairing of legendary DJs, with a full dance floor by the early hours of the morning.
On Saturday, it was DJ Peggy Gou who took the headline slot on the Ping Pong stage– following a truly mesmerising set from Overmono. Caroline Polacheck and Yung Lean filled the main stage with their energetic performances, with a DJ set from Leon Vynehall another Saturday highlight. Wrapping up on Sunday, Biig Piig, Koffee, and Jamie XX had attendees wishing the outside world would never encroach on the sunlit musical paradise.
Outside of the arena lineups, the addition of the Radio Stage on the campsite beach was an ingenious one. Serenading swimmers and sunbathers with a perfect blend of daytime tunes, there are definitely worse places to nap. The roller disco was another fun addition, shifting from a site of skating activity in the daytime, to a packed and pulsing nighttime music venue. Melt Village offered stalls complete with a flea-market and the chance to get your very own Melt tattoo, as food stands offered a range of food options at all times of night. Here’s to next year.