Photo by Marie Chatard
One of the wonderful things about Melt! is that none of the music starts until the early evening, giving the whole day over to guilt-free sleep-ins, booze-ups, lake paddles and Grillpartys with your mates.
We woke up early, sweating horribly as the sun had turned our tent into a furnace, boiling beers, liquefying Ritter Sport squares and making sleep impossible.
Before the aforementioned indolence could begin though, we trundled off in search of over-priced coffee, passing the already mammoth queues for over-priced showers.
Music festivals are odd things, ripe for anthropological pickings. For one, they’re a textbook example of economics in action. Supply and demand: emotionally vulnerable, imprisoned patrons forking out extreme wads of cash they would deem offensive anywhere else.
After paying Norwegian prices for a few beers last night, we decided to take up the bike rental service (€1.50 per hour) and ride into town to visit Gräfenhainichen’s local Lidl to save our credit cards from utter buggery, where the shell-shocked local population wondered what had happened to their sweet town, and some Swedes looked equally shaken by the news that Lidl doesn’t take foreign credit cards.
Along the road we passed like-minded shallow pockets making the journey with the inspired aid of supermarket trolleys, skateboards and even a wheelbarrow to transport their crates of 5,0 beers, Coke, wurst and water.
Back at camp, the rest of the sorry site was headed lakeside. The huge Gremminer See borders the campsite, its muddy, dragonfly-full reeds rimming the walking track, and though icy at first, the day was seriously heating up, making the water a cool relief after hot tents and sore limbs. People bring drinks, boomboxes, floaties, ball games, smokes and settle in for the afternoon.
Many adopt their air mattresses as rafts. Drifting across the water comes the sounds of the Sleepless Floor, a 24/7 stage for the wide-eyed zombies, and the towering Ferropolis cranes stand like sleeping, stony Gothic structures, a world away from their laser-lit nocturnal transformations.
But we were going to enjoy our sloth and human need-fulfillment time while it's on the cheap, because beyond the Melt! campground, lie the festival grounds, where we go back to paying Norwegian prices for everything, for our supplies must be left behind.