Ferropolis, Germany

Like many festivals, Melt’s 2022 edition has been two years in the making, and for its return, the team ensured this extra time was put to good use. Seven new stages were introduced for its latest chapter, and there were more artists and live performances than ever before on the bill.

In spite of these new additions, Melt retains its core feature: its illustrious setting. Named the City of Iron, the Ferropolis open air museum is home to an array of ​​towering 20th century cranes that act as the centrepiece of the main festival area. Tasteful and finely selected multi-genre programming has become synonymous with the Melt experience, and these boundaries have been arguably pushed even further this year. A broad range of live acts – such as Headie One, Shygirl and Koffee – feature alongside electronic big hitters Overmono, DJ Stingray and Peggy Gou to form a varied, yet nicely balanced, offering.

The addition of an extra full day of music has not been taken lightly, as Thursday’s timetable is as equally invigorating as the rest of the weekend. Greentea Peng kicks things off on the 30Kv stage, with crowd pleasers such as Downers and Mr. Sun sparking an early moment of amalgamation. This, combined with Arlo Park’s pleasantly tranquil indie pop, is a gratifying calm before the storm. It’s when the cinematic drums of Little Simz’s opener, Introvert, rings out across a nightfallen Gremmin Beach that it feels like the weekend has truly begun. She’s followed by Avalon Emerson and Mama Snake’s sets of breakneck techno, which feel as though they’re foreshadowing what’s to come over the rest of the weekend.

After each night of music, the industrial backdrop of the main festival area becomes almost eerily deserted during the daytime. In stark contrast, it’s the campsite and the surrounding beaches that become the focal point. Morning yoga sessions, industry talks and workshops are on offer for those looking for a peaceful beginning to the day, to heal and recover from the night before.

Alternatively, bookending each side of the campsite are the Club Floor and Radio stages, which are undoubtedly the go-to spots for daytime music. Set right on the edge of the beach, The Radio stage is particularly impressive. Throughout the weekend local stations HÖR Berlin, Refuge Worldwide and Radio 80000 curate a day’s line-up, each with the likes of DJ Fuckoff, Moxie and Yu Su passing through. The opportunity to enjoy the music on the beachfront dancefloor or whilst taking a refreshing dip in the lake creates a blissful atmosphere that’s hard to beat.

Despite a daily timetable brimming with quality acts on offer, there’s still a magic to be found in stumbling across unexpected moments of brilliance, sending any plans out of the window. For example, the Saturday night sees the Roller Disco stage – which, until this point, had been relatively low-key – descend into an alluring sense of chaos. A thumping blend of acid, breaks and trance from Marlon Hoffstadt going back-to-back with Malugi has people jumping over the barriers to get in on the action. They play an edit of Britney Spears’ Hit Me Baby One More Time, which becomes one of the more unexpected dancefloor highlights of the evening.

Throughout the whole weekend, the Big Wheel stage plays host to some of the most exciting DJs around at the moment. On the final night, UNIIQU3 blends her endless arsenal of Jersey club bangers with the high-BPM techno that has been a mainstay on the majority of Melt’s dance stages. When the evening;s stage curator Partiboi69 steps up to the decks, his somewhat meteoric rise is reflected in the busiest Big Wheel crowd of the festival. It’s his own unreleased edit of Tokyo Drift’s K on My D + C that causes peak levels of mayhem across the dancefloor.

‘A New World’ was a phrase used by Melt in the preceding months leading up to the festival, and this promise is certainly delivered upon throughout. For its most loyal, and frequent, regulars, there may have been an adjustment period to take in its new stages and the axing of a few old favourites. But it’s the festival’s spirit of inclusion and creative freedom that makes it such a memorable experience. In short, though Melt has undergone drastic changes its quintessential ethos still remains. 2022 marks the beginning of a compelling new chapter for Melt, and there’s something enthralling in the idea of seeing how the festival tops this next year.