An hour ago the first shuttle left the gravelly entrance of the Melt! camping ground, and three minutes later the bus delivered its first load; the masses of late twentysomething, black Ray-Banned yukis sent a beer-soaked cheer up into the thick steely clouds as Melt! opened the gates of its festival grounds for 2011, and – after a cosy pat-down – poured on through.
Techs are soundchecking, food stalls are opening, people are doing the gawk rounds and what must be JACK TENNIS and the first keen beans have started an early afternoon rave at the Gemini stage.
Some of us old nanas at heart are still recovering from the journey though. Having left Neukölln S-Bhf station at 11:00, we pulled in at Gräfenhainichen 90 minutes and an extra €30 poorer, after the Frau working the Deutsche Bahn ticket window failed to mention that Melt! now lies in Sachsen-Anhalt, beyond the borders of our Brandbenburg-Berlin ticket, and a stony DB inspector didn’t give a shit.
It would’ve been a great moment to appeal in the name of the Common People and our bleeding wallets, but this codgy grump wouldn’t budge, not even if Jarvis himself had done the pleading.
So now we’re rationing out our beers, though after the long trek along the main road heaving our tent and heavy bags of tinned food and Club Mate, searching hopelessly for the Press check-in area, the delicate distribution of beer is a survival necessity.
But now the Exberliner tent is up in all its flimsy glory. The gates are open, the people are milling, still arriving in droves – which makes sense as none of the music really starts today until about 17:00 or 18:00.
The vibe on the ground is of patient excitement as if no-one’s sure they’re quite allowed to start really partying yet. I’m about to go investigate the vegan hot dog stand, see if We Have Band are really as cookie-cut awful as people say, have another drink and start stalking. Game on.