With a blockbuster line-up, Melt Festival ran last weekend from 13-15 of July, offering up a 24-hours a day program of music. Check out our photos one of the most visually-arresting festivals around.
Now in its 21st year, Melt festival takes place in the unique setting of Ferropolis, a former open-air mining operation known as the “City Of Iron”. Every year, it's turned into a hedonistic, sleepless playpen for 20,000 festival-goers
The site is filled with looming industrial equipment that can measure up to 30 metres high, 120 metres long and weigh up to 1980 tonnes.
Strolling out in Wicker Man-style floating dress and - yes - surrounded by actual machines, Friday night headliner Florence Welch pirouetted around the stage to a set that began with ‘Between Two Lungs’ and culminated with ‘Shake It Out’. When a fan hurls a crown of flowers on stage during ‘Hunger’, she
wears it like a May Queen.
She elicited rapture with the likes of ‘Dog Days Are Over’, ‘What Kind Of Man’ and ‘You’ve Got The Love’ – which she performed while brandishing a LGBTQ rainbow flag, billowing behind her.
One of her first performances post the release of her fourth album ‘High As Hope’ last month, she plays four tracks off it: ‘Hunger’, ‘Big God’, ‘100 Years’ and ‘Patricia’ – which she dedicates to her muse Patti Smith. “I know that you are with me and I know that you are with us this evening,” she genuflects.
Surrounded by skinny-dipping festival goers at Lake Gremmin, the MeltSelektor stage allowed fans to dance on the sand to performances from Mura Masa, The Internet, Princess Nokia and IAMDDB.
Having long ago ditched his nihilistic “no homo” alter-ego, Tyler, The Creator brought the kaleidoscopic lush ‘Flower Boy’ world to Melt, including the swooning R’n’B of ‘See You Again’, while screens behind him flashed up lyrics to the tracks.
For UK fans of the former Odd Future member, European festivals are the nearest place to catch him perform – as then-Home Secretary, now-Prime Minister Theresa May banned him from the UK in 2015 for being a threat to public order for his vile views expressed on his early material – despite his (now vindicated) insistence that he was writing in character. There’s a piquant irony that he brings nothing but good vibes to Melt on Saturday evening, while May is holding hands with hategammon-in-chief President Donald Trump and the UK is erupting in protest.
“Do you like our pussies?”, enquired Pansy Parker as his Berlin drag collective House Of Presents took over the main stage before Fever Ray’s Saturday night headline set. Resplendent in vagina hoodies, they lip-synched and slut-dropped through a variety of gynecological themed tracks including Janelle Monae’s 'Pynk', Khia’s ‘My Neck, My Back (Lick It)’ and Pussy Riot’s ‘Straight Outta Vagina’.
“Has anyone got a pre-rolled spiff ready to go?” asks Manchester MC Diana DeBrito, aka IAMDBBD, before huffing from an audience’s member’s weed – later gifting her sunglasses as a reward for the smoke. Commanding that the stage lights are changed to pink “to match the colour of pussy,” she weaves her way through her jazz-trap that peaks with a frenzied reaction to ‘Shade’. Her loquacious 420-related chat between songs means she has to curtail her set. “I break the rules everywhere I go” she says, signing off with ‘More’.
On Saturday night, Fever Ray performed club-ready tracks from last year’s ‘Plunge’ album, an ode to Tinder-assisted queer sex, in a joyously subversive, arty stage show that’s kinkier than Prince’s browser history, flanked by an all-female band that included a backing dancer dressed in a foam Michelin Man-like muscle suit. One minute she’s uniting a sea of people in singing ‘I wanna run my fingers up your pussy’ (from the song ‘To The Moon And Back’) the next she’s hurling out a barrage of thrilling noise like some kind of Gayphex Twin.
Described as the “Berghain of the Festivals”, it pulses to a 24-hour heartbeat of electronic music, thanks to the Sleepless Floor, which hosts non-stop acts Thursday evening to Monday afternoon. Do you have the stamina?
Like Hansel and Gretel following a trail of pills, festival goers could explore their way to areas such as The Forest, a featuring interesting nooks and crannies, whether it’s drag queens taking over a tree house, an Art Forum or a stage featuring cutting edge DJs.
Looking like they’d just fallen through a wormhole from the 1970s, Kitsuné-signed Antipodeans (who live a few miles down the road in Berlin) Parcels mixed Studio 54 disco, soft-rock, French house and Beach Boys harmonies in a set that included their Daft Punk-collaboration ‘Overnight’.
“Right here, right now, I’m going to ask you to raise two arms in the air and if it feels good to move, to flow, to fly, we encourage you to join us right here,” says Badbadnotgood drummer Alexander Sowinski, as he marshals chilled-out dance routines like a Kate Bush aerobics video. The Toronto band’s inventive, instrumental jazz proves a perfect soundtrack to a balmy Sunday summer’s evening.
New York superhero Princes Nokia covered Blink-182’s ‘I Miss You’ a capella and performed tracks from her recent mixtape ‘A Girl Cried Red’ which apes early-2000s emo’s adenoidal, elongated delivery so effectively, you half expect Mark Hoppus to wander onstage to tell a few dick jokes.
“We spend our Sundays going to festivals. I mean this from the bottom of my heart when I say this is the best” declared Oliver Sim as Sunday headliners the xx bewitched with the likes of ‘'Loud Spaces’ and ‘On Hold’.
Admitting he'd missed Pride owning to being on tour, Sim was belatedly celebrating, dedicating ‘Fiction’ to “all the beautiful LGBTQ people here tonight” – a theme of inclusion has run throughout the weekend, with women and queer people occupying the top slots.
Her solo turn on 'Performance' was met with hushed reverence, while she dropped snippets of Madonna's 'Ray Of Light' into 'Reunion'
Seeing the anything-goes partying among the lit-up machinery would convince even the Ghost Of Thatcher that miners are great