Melt; what happens if you organise a festival in an open-air museum for large industrial machines?
Since its first edition in 1997, Melt Festival has become one of the biggest electronic music festivals in Germany. Melt takes places in an open-air museum for large industrial machines about 140 km South-West of Berlin. Our photographer Jennifer Kesteleyn was invited by Festival.Travel to do what she does best: taking pics of the party and its party people.
Text by Melissa Awouters, pics by @jenn.tonic
'Take me back! Does that tell enough?' Jennifer is obviously impressed by the German way of partying. She has already been to a significant amount of festivals, home and abroad. 'But Melt is by far the most impressive that I've ever seen,' Jennifer tells us.
Melt takes places in the so-called 'city of Iron' Ferropolis. The open-air museum contains machines from the mid-twentieth century, which can measure up to 30 meters high and 120 meters long. 'Calling the machines pretty big would be an understatement. It looks like aliens have landed on our planet.' Jennifer finds the festival site quite the experience, but that's not all. 'Add to this the Berlin progressivity, plus a diverse line-up, and you have the right ingredients for a very cool party.'
A very cool party which literally lasts for three days. 'If you want to, you can keep partying non-stop. There is always some DJ giving the best of himself at the Sleepless Floor. Sleep is for the weak, really applies to Melt!' The Sleepless Floor kept going for 90 hours straight. 'I want to come across this at a Belgian festival for once!'
'My personal highlights are the performances of Fever Ray, The xx, Little Dragon, WhoMadeWho, Apparat, Jon Hopkins, Mura Masa, Coely and Princess Nokia. I really respect the latter, and I've rarely seen the audience going so crazy as during her show. Coely also deserves a shout-out, because even under a blazing sun she knew how to get the people to dance. She knew to attract many more people to her stage than what initially stood there.'
'There was this moment just before Fever Ray's show when a bunch of trannies and other people dressed as Vayyay's ran on stage and performed a weird-ass dance show. Well, there was some explanation for this happening, but it was unfortunately in German.' Jennifer didn't quite catch the story, but Melt festival is known for being a big supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. Each year the festival invites DJ's and artists from the queer scene, including artists from Berlin's most legendary gay clubs and parties.
'The people at Melt are more distinct than the people we see at our mainstream Belgian festivals. Berlin and its associated party scene are much more avant-garde than our Belgian scene. While the fashion trend of wearing Buffalo's is still on the rise in Belgium, it has already reached its peak in Berlin.'
'The policy in relation to clothing that's a little less concealing is more liberal. I've seen multiple women dancing topless, but no one got bothered. Try this at a Belgian festival...'
'Another advantage is that foreign festivals are usually cheaper. Hello, gin tonic for €6,5! I also noticed they are much more generous with the amount of alcohol in the drinks. In addition to that, there were water taps everywhere to refresh yourself. That's very useful in temperatures of +30 degrees.' Besides the drinks, Jennifer is also very happy about the food. 'The range of veggie and vegan options is also more extensive in Germany. Almost every food stall has a veggie or vegan choice. "Dear Chokri Mahassine, go on a working visit to Melt," I would say.'
'Melt is also more of a 'night festival'. Our Belgian festivals usually start at 12u00 and decently end at 00u00. Melt goes on much longer. In my opinion, partying during the day can't live up to partying at night. It is so much nicer to suffer from a hangover next to a beautiful lake in which you can swim than on the busy festival site.' Well, we can't argue with that.
'You can't compare the German party people to our Belgian audience. Germans are much more on the loose, but yet not irritating. I've seen several people taking empty bottles and clandestinely filling with alcohol before entering the festival site. People made improvisational handles with duct tape so that they can carry the bottles over the shoulder like a handbag. You would expect everyone to get overly drunk of that, but that is not the case. Deutsche grundlichkeit expresses itself in a perfect balance between partying and not ending up totally k.o.'
Sounds like Melt Festival is definitely worth the travel. 'I've met people from China, Canada, Australia...' Jennifer tells. So next year you can't really use the distance as an excuse!