Following our trip deep into the Ferropolis forest for Splash! Festival, we returned to the former mining complex with another eclectic, energetic Highsnobiety Soundsystem Stage.
Ferropolis, Germany; a remote location in the center of the country, whose closest town, Gräfenhainichen, is almost as tough to find as it is to pronounce. Nevertheless, each year tens of thousands of music fans from across Europe make their way through the German heartlands, to a system of man-made lakes and beaches, for a double-header of music festivals. Set against the breathtaking sight of two enormous disused excavators, Splash! and Melt are sister festivals, focusing on the very best in hip hop, and alternative contemporary music respectively.
Having already brought the likes of Buddy, PhonyPPL and Places+Faces to Splash!, on a stage embedded in the woodland, we went even bigger at Melt. Formerly known as the KV30 arena, the Highsnobiety Soundsystem stage at Melt was constructed from industrial shipping containers, in the backyard of what was formerly the generator building for the entire complex (a building that came in handy when thunderStormzy made an appearance on Saturday night.)
Opening on Friday afternoon with experimental R&B singer-songwriter Charlotte Adigéry, the Highsnobiety Soundsystem stage at Melt focused on bringing an eclectic range of emerging international talent to the stage. As the site filled, and temperatures rose, North London newcomer Benji Flow rocked crowds with his summer hit ‘Deep End’ and a special cover of Frank Ocean’s ‘Novacane.’ Continuing the UK connection, Flohio, one of the breakthrough talents of the past few years, brought the Soundsystem crowd to a fever pitch with tireless energy and frenetic lyrical delivery, before RIN, one of Germany’s biggest rap stars of the moment, hopped straight off the main stage to join Highsnobiety Soundsystem resident DJs, for a surprise performance.
Closing out the night were a double-header of bass-driven DJ sets by Lyzza and Kampire.
Day two began with faint rumblings of incoming thunderstorms, cutting short the second Highsnobiety Soundsystem performance of the day, when Erotik Toy Records were interrupted by an announcement, directing everyone back to their tents. Hunkered down in our generator room, the two hour delay was made worth it when the rains finally stopped and the UK’s current golden boy, Slowthai took to the stage. Backed, as always, by the powerful conducting prowess of DJ and producer Kwes Darko, the Northampton MC whipped the Soundsystem stage into a frenzy. Many good pairs of sneakers died in the mud during that set, but each were necessary sacrifices for what was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the entire weekend.
Keeping the levels high, and the music international, LA native Duckwrth, Cape Town producer Angel-Ho and London’s own Jimothy rounded off the night’s live performances.
And, it was a family affair at the end of the evening, as Tiffany Calver and friends, followed by DJ Lag, closed out the Soundsystem proceedings with a greatest-hits set filled with just about every hip hop banger you could imagine.