The pioneering festival celebrates two decades.
The European festival circuit has never been so saturated but only a select few generate genuine affection like Melt. Where large, multi-day festivals often struggle to create an authentic atmosphere, Melt does it with ease. Part of this is due to its longstanding roots in Berlin's outdoor rave scene and a steady, natural pace of development and expansion. It began life 20 years ago as an open air heavy on local favourites like Ellen Allien and Bassdee before moving 90 minutes southwest of the capital to the iconic Ferropolis location in 1999. The festival almost shut down in 2003 but it teamed up with Intro magazine and began its transformation into the festival we know today. Melt began booking more live bands and indie acts alongside its regular lineup of DJs, helping to pioneer the modern festival format of blending live and electronic music.
Despite growing to book some of the biggest names in music, Melt has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to club culture, often spotting rising talent years before they become staples on the circuit. Mark Smith recently spoke with Melt's booker Stefan Lehmkuhl about the challenges of remaining a leading name in the festival calendar, the evolution of the events landscape and the logistics of running multiple stages for 20,000 people.