Melt Festival, Germany Review: Where beauty and brutality meet

Check out what we thought of Germany's house and techno haven, Melt Festival.

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 16th Jun 2023

Let’s get the awkward part out of the way nice and early, yes I was the sunburnt bloke who had spilt wine down himself and tried to light a cigarette the wrong way around while watching Bicep. Now that’s out of the way, I shall run through what was another outstanding weekend in Ferropolis. 

Germany’s Melt Festival has been a fixture on the European circuit for almost three decades, but one that has undoubtedly been feeling the effects of the pandemic. The festival organisers have spoken openly about this and made some difficult decisions as a result of the heightened financial climate we find ourselves in, most notably getting rid of the main stage. Its curation of DJ lineups is impeccably well-considered, and there is a smattering of the bigger names in electronic music, which will always draw in the crowds. When you compare this approach with the lineups of 10 to 15 years ago, however, the difference is stark. It’s incredible to think that Oasis has played at this same festival site, and Florence & The Machine were performing on the main stage as recently as 2018. 


That said, it’s a perfectly viable option for them to lean into this entirely and solidify its position as one of the best house and techno festivals on the planet. And the 2023 edition was superb. Given the festival’s longevity and the permanent infrastructure across the Ferropolis site, everything runs incredibly smoothly. The showers & toilets are plumbed in and well-maintained. The bar queues are minimal, and the stages are perfectly laid out. All of this helps enormously when contending with the 30-degree heat, which somehow felt hotter in Germany than anywhere else most of the crowd had experienced it. I’m currently sunburnt and hungover in a hotel room in Leipzig but, ultimately, very happy. 

There were a few names my eyes were immediately drawn to when sketching out our weekend. Chief among them was Joy Orbison, and the temptation, as always, is to write 800 words solely about him. However, my editor tells me that instead, I ought to do that in my own personal diary at home. And I will. 

The entirety of the programming on the Big Wheel lineup on the Friday night was majestic. The run of Shanti Celeste & Peach, Joy O, DaphniMarcel Dettmann & CEM could rival any festival in Europe. Though there were a couple of DJ sets which still managed to usurp them.


Job Jobse played a Saturday afternoon set at the perfectly situated Beach Club, a replacement for the Sleepless Floor which now sits adjacent to the campsite. Many were sad to see the Sleepless stage go, given it had been part of the Melt furniture for the festival goers with the strongest stamina. Given that the Beach Club now runs from when the main festival site closes until it opens again around 7 pm, the festival still runs for 24 hours. The stage now has the advantage of being able to go for a dip in the lake while still being within touching distance of the dancefloor. 

A sizable crowd had gathered by the time Job Jobse kicked off his set, and around 15 minutes earlier, the Melt Festival app had issued a warning for a forthcoming thunderstorm and possible threat to life. Thankfully that didn’t materialise, but it could just have easily been referring to the absolute storm that Job Jobse whipped up behind the decks. A flawless three-hour selection which peaked when dropping Bashkka’s Act Bad. He’d gotten things underway with Pangea’s Installations, which, for obvious reasons, was heard several times across the weekend. An absolute monster of a track that will be bullying dancefloors for the next 18 months. And I’m not mad about it. 


Photo: Melt Festival /

Interplanetary Criminal also deserves a mention for an absolutely banging 90 minutes on the Autoscooter stage, which was possibly our favourite across the entire festival. Whichever way you slice it Baddest of Them All is a banger, and every other note of his set was bouncing, bubbling perfection. A mention too, for Skin on Skin, whose unique blend of house, techno and drill vocals rounded off a perfect Saturday night. 

The live performances were similarly excellent, and interspersing R&B, indie and hip-hop among the predominantly electronic lineup is something the festival has always done well. Shygirl and Roisin Murphy were highlights on the Gremmin Beach stage, while Channel Tres was an unexpected treat on the 30KV stage. 


What could be perceived as a comparative lack of superstars on the lineup does little to detract from what the festival does best. The site itself is sublime, as beauty and brutality meet in an abandoned quarry an hour south of Berlin. There are some moments from across the weekend that I will genuinely remember forever, and I will inevitably be telling my future grandchildren stories of Denis Sulta dropping Destination Calabria while we danced together on the beach. But they probably won't give a shit. 


Jonathan Coll



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