Melt Festival 2016 is an electronic and rock music festival and concert series held in Germany. Its concerts benefit enormously from its very unusual location in one of the lesser-known Germany destinations, the open-air museum of Ferropolis (City of Iron), located about 70 miles to the southwest of Berlin.
Melt Festival History and Facts
Until 1991, this was the site of extensive open-air lignite mining. Lignite is the lowest and dirtiest rank of coal, and Germany is the world's largest producer. The effect of the mining technique in this area created large sunken pans that are today lakes, and Ferropolis sits on a peninsula jutting into one of these lakes (Lake Gremmin). When mining was abandoned here, the huge machines used in the process were preserved and arranged on this spit of land like behemoths from another world. Many of the cranes and excavators stand 100 feet tall, are 400 feet in length, and weigh as much as 2,000 tons. The Melt! Festival Germany is held amongst the imposing ensemble of these monstrous machines.
The Melt Festival has been held over three days in July since 1997, with one year cancelled for financial reasons. During the event, the machines are rigged with spotlights and lasers beaming into the sky and onto the crowd below, creating an incredibly surreal atmosphere after dark. To take advantage of this, performances on the six stages don't begin until 4:00 pm. And last well into the night. For this reason, Melt! Festival Germany is often referred to as "Ferropolis in Flammen" (Ferropolis on Fire). The festival organizers describe the music offered as "electronic meets rock." As such, it draws a younger and smaller crowd (20,000 to 30,000 attendees) than more mainstream events like the famous Glastonbury Festival in England.
Tickets to Melt Festival 2016
Tickets generally go on sale in January. Do budget in advance because not all years will have single-day or two-day tickets. It's possible that you may be able to purchase tickets only for the entire three-day event. Tickets include camping and parking, whether or not you are camping or driving a vehicle that needs to be parked.
Directions to Melt Festival
Transportation to Melt! Festival Germany is possible by car from nearby Berlin or anywhere else in the country because the highway system is excellent. There are secure parking areas during the event.
Melt Festival Lodging
Some tour operators offer vacation packages that include round-trip transfers from the Berlin area airports and lodging in hotels and bed and breakfasts around Dessau and Wittenberg that additionally provide daily shuttle serve to and from the concert venue. One tour operator offers a "luxury" camp near the festival grounds called Mixery Festival Camp. This camp offers "fabric hotel" service, meaning you are greeted by a pre-assembled tent that can accommodate as many as eight people. You can even rent your own private toilet to be set up next to your tent. This camp includes concert tickets and swimming permit for the lake. You can cook for yourself on outdoor barbecues (breakfast is provided) and you have access to whirlpool facilities and other amenities including hot showers.
There is also a rough camping site (bring your own tent) and an area reserved for camper vehicles. There are only a handful of pensions and very small budget hotels in the town of Gräfenhainichen, where Ferropolis is located. Virtually all attendees will take advantage of the camping sites.
Melt Festival 2016 is not the only event held here. Throughout the spring, summer, and early autumn tours of the site are available, and these can be part of an excellent Berlin day trip. A number of rock operas, classical operas, and other music festivals are also held here.
Image: PresleyJesus (flickr)