This wasn’t my first festival rodeo, music festivals and I go way back. To point I feel qualified to share my Ultimate Festival Survival Guide and Packing Checklist. On my desk sits a nice little mason jar stocked with retired festival wristbands from my jaunts across the U.S. attending festivals. But up until recently, my farthest festival trek was to Summer Camp, just south of Chicago. Granted it was a grueling 15 hour drive in a clunker of an old-school Pontiac from our home in Florida, it was still in the good ole U.S. of A.
The lineup was solid, the venue looked dope, and it was close to my favorite city in Europe (cough, Berlin, cough). So it was settled, to Melt we would go. I booked a ticket and off I went to the land of currywurst and techno. And it was magical.
Glass Animals pineapple that was thrown to us from stage, for real for real ↓
I’m the dumbass who brought a heavy suitcase on wheels to a festival made of nothing but grass and dirt. I think you can figure out the problems that thus incurred.
Since it was a camping festival, we thought we could rent all of our gear there. HA, wrong. Relying on a festival vendor’s English version website, our plan was to rent everything we’d need (tents, awnings, chairs) onsite. Turns out their translation of “book” meant “to purchase” and once we realized this, we were left scrambling a week before take off purchasing all the necessary camping gear.
Thinking the awning that marked our campsite was white the entire weekend yet still somehow managing to get lost finding camp…Every. Single. Time. Turns out our awning was black. Know what your campsite looks like people.
Underestimating the power of a German music festival.
Jorts |North American| noun: shorts made from cutting off and fraying the hem of jeans for a hillbilly-esque fashion statement.
Yes, yes this is an actual thing across U.S. college campuses.
And then you go to a place like Melt. In a far off land of ridiculously good looking Germans mostly all adhering to an effortlessly cool normcore style. A land where none of the aforementioned demographic exists. In fact, during my three nights at Melt I failed to see even just one of the above. No security, no frat bros, no jewel encrusted push-up bras. I could cry it was so beautifully refreshing.
However, Melt didn’t stop there to ensure its venue was top notch. They set out additional stages along the lake that could only be accessed through haphazard entrances between trees and brush lit up by art installations. Like I said, the place was magical.
Unlike many festivals stuffed with vendors trying to empty your wallet selling everything under the sun, Melt catered every aspect toward the overall music festival experience – emphasis on music. Besides a thrift store near the camping grounds, the only vendors were for the essentials: food and alcohol. However there were a couple free craft areas, for you know, those having artistic visions.
From being set inside a venue that included its own lake for swimming, amped up by incredible art installations and a stellar lineup geared towards keeping people on their feet, Melt was an experience unlike any other. Although it took me a solid week to recover, there are few places I’d go back to in a heartbeat and Melt Festival is one of them.
Dave Bayley of Glass Animals ↓
ULTIMATE MUSIC FESTIVAL
ESSENTIAL MUSIC FESTIVAL PACKING LIST