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By Jake Cannon. LAST UPDATED July 19th, 2016

The magic behind Melt!

Germany's best kept secret?

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Our Thursday evening in July sees us waiting at Platform 6 in Köln Hauptbahnhof station. We’re waiting for the infamous MiXery Melt! train to pull into the station.

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The overnight train travels right across Germany to Ferropolis. It’s a precursor to Melt! Festival, one Germany’s biggest and most renowned music festivals and, as an old friend who travelled on it last year said, ‘a pretty rough way to start a festival.’

There’s a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air as Belgrade DJ Tijana T provided the soundtrack across the country. We arrive at the City of Iron at around 4am, just missing the pre-party. But the real party starts tomorrow.

Its location, a museum 362 days a year, is one of the best you’ll find for a festival. You might have seen the spectacular backdrops of machines lit up by photos or online. But you have to experience it firsthand to appreciate its awesomeness.

There’s more to the site than the digging machines. Now in its 19th year Melt!’s relatively remote location – a 1 hour 40 minute drive away from Berlin – makes it a desirable festival haven. There’s lots of green space to just chill when the thumping techno gets a bit too much.

Located on a small peninsula, a huge lake is surrounded by plenty of greenery. There’s lots of space to fit in camping, cheap bars, toilets, variety of food and even an efficient shuttle bus service to get you from the camping site to the festival, about a 20 minute walk away.

Then there’s the music. It’s arguably one of the best curated dance music line-ups you could wish for. The Big Wheel was my home for a large chunk of the weekend with Vril, Ben Klock, Modeselektor and The Black Madonna living long in the memory.

Jamie xx brought a distinctly techno theme to his usual UK-inspired sets. The crowd loved him even more for it. For anyone wanting a respite from the house and techno on offer then Kode9 on Saturday morning was their man. The Scot threw down a blistering 90 minute selection of dubstep-infused remixes and re-edits.

A special mention to the Sleepless Floor. A 90-hour non-stop party that offered up some of my festival highlights from George FitzGerald on early Friday evening to Dr. Rubinstein pumping out acid-induced beats on early Sunday morning. Unforgettable.

You could start your night there, head into the festival – it was the only stage you didn’t need a ticket for – then head up there a full 12 hours later to round the night, well, morning off.

This year’s line-up doffed its cap to the UK. European festival organisers have obviously looked to the UK’s thriving scene for artist inspiration. But British festivals should do the same when it comes to putting on proper parties.

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