what we saw
at Melt Festival 2019

The party doesn't stop at Melt Festival. Here's a recap of what we saw this year.

The iron city’s five levying industrial cranes can be seen from miles away. Dotted across an otherwise arid man-made peninsula of Ferropolis, for a weekend every year, this stark neo-mad-maxian skyline is the perfect backdrop an open-air, a multi-stage music festival.

Running for the twenty-second consecutive year, Melt! Festival is curated by music lovers for music lovers. Merging german’s rave culture, underground techno and experimental electronica, with global hip-hop and grime and genre-blending pioneers, every year,  the festival’s six stages see established, up-and-coming and avant-guard artists from all musical genres from all corners of the planet. Previous editions have seen Björk [who’s booking forever changed the history of the festival], Tyler the Creator, the XX and Lana Del Rey, alongside Peaches, Kali Uchi’s and Mura Masa.

 

Melt! Festival is a celebration of one’s individuality, offering a friendly environment that is inclusive of all. Areas such as Pansy’s Playhouse and the Secret Garden of Porn by Pornceptual provide secure spaces for sexual exploration, without intermission of what’s happening in one area to the other.

The festival’s offers are also complemented by [FAIR]OPOLIS, an area where workshops on consciousness and sustainability in collaboration with various NGOs.

Arriving on-site on Friday evening, we were welcomed to festival grounds by a British triple threat. Multi-instrumentalist Benjiflow, and the soul-stirring voice of Jorja Smith swooned us into the of the night, while Flohio’s frantic delivery and vigorously contagious energy, kept the spirits high as the night rolled in. The south Londoner rising star also had the opportunity to perform her collaboration with techno’s Modeselektor’s performance following her set.

As Saturday morning came, Melt’s in-app notifications did too. Festival organisers prepared for the worst as a thunderstorm was set to hit the peninsula later on that day.

This didn’t stop Stockholm rappers Yung Lean performance,  yet the impending doom was felt shortly after. Saturday eve festivities had to be put on hold due to the thunderstorm and consequent deluge of epic proportions. Festivalgoers were evacuated in an orderly manner to premises surrounding the festival grounds, for the duration of the storm. This has not diluted the festivities, quite the contrary. Festivalgoers congregated whenever they could to weather the storm.

A couple of hours later, the first survivors gathered around the muddy Highsnobiety stage, where resident DJ – Robbie Russel called the crowds in with a mix of 90’s hits, ushering the masses to what would be one of the high-energy charged sets of the weekend. Performing from the middle of the crowd, Slowthai’s hard-hitting hits from his ‘Nothing is Great About Britain’ triggered a response from the crowd, whose ragging moshpits erased our memories of what happened earlier in no time.  Upon the conclusion of the set, the Northampton rapper took the stage to announce that a new collaboration with Denzyl Curry was in the works. His performance was followed by other familiar faces within the British islands – Jimothy Lacoste, Tiffany Calver – and of multi-hyphenated Compton native, Duckworth.

Grime-wunderlord, Stormzy was announced as this year’s headliner, consequent to the arrest of A$AP Rocky – His fireworks-assisted  60-minute performance took us on a journey throughout his catalogue from his 2015 breakout hit ‘Where do you know me from’ to his Kehlani-assisted ‘Cigarettes and Kush’ fro ‘ Gang Signs and Prayers’, and year’s release ‘Crown’.

Sunday performance’s highlights included trap-jazz pioneer Masego, performing with ‘Tadow’ with close collaborator FKJ, while Octavian, Bon Iver and Kaytranada closed this year’s festivities.

This year’s edition gathered over twenty thousand festivalgoers from different nations. Melt! Festival might be an attractive option for those seeking alternatives to the harsh curfews and stringent security measures that can be experienced in festivals in greater metropolitan areas. Two-hours drive south of Berlin, the festival offers free camping options the city of Ferropolis is also a short drive away from Dessau, home to the Bauhaus school.

Melt Festival 2020 will run on 17-19 of July. More info here.

Words by Catarina Ramalho / Photography by Christian Hedel [lead photo]

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