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Getting Melted at Meltasia: A Look Back

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Words by Jackie Green and Photos by Devon Bristol Shaw.


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Very rarely does an event fully live up to its projected hype. We get all jazzed about something, usually with good cause, and our inflated expectations are not quite met. The leading contender in passionately smashing this notion to smithereens? Meltasia – an independent music festival held over Labor Day Weekend 2016 in Catskill, NY.

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The Nude Party were one of the first bands to perform and are not to be missed

The 2016 incarnation of a festival previously held in Georgia found its home in an abandoned petting zoo FKA The Catskill Game Farm. Andy Animal, notorious party god, solicited shredders Pentagram, Shannon & The Clams, Natural Child, and Fat White Family to headline the long weekend. With a line-up so visibly stacked and a mötley crew of musically-spoiled New York City dwellers eager to escape the city for the serene hills of Catskill New York – expectations were, in fact, very high. The presence of NYC hometown heroes The Mystery Lights, Daddy Long Legs, Surfbort, Dirty Fences, and Thick on the bill only added to the anticipation. The inclusion of non-New Yorkers such as The Nude Party, Birdcloud, White Mystery, among others ensured the geographical representation was well rounded. Even a sizeable group of Canadians felt the border was worth crossing to join the debauchery, maple leaf flag flying and all. The zoo, previously abandoned, was repopulated once again with animals – party animals.

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Vockah Redu killin’ it on stage

These party animals camped for 3 nights where the zoo animals once were – tucked behind fences in neat little squares of community campsites on either side of the main festival road, aptly named ‘octupus,’ ‘zebra,’ ‘gazelles,’ ‘dolphins,’ and whatnot. Thus, it was easy to continuously cross paths with festival artists, non-festival artists and everyone you knew to be in attendance without sending a single text message.

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Campers in the ‘Dolphin’ enclosure

For most festival go-ers, a typical regret is missing a set in favor of another set, or to just take a damned break. With one main stage, complimented only by a super bad ass monkey cage in which sets were played behind bars, no sets overlapped. The proximity between main stage, monkey cage, campsites, food, and a tattoo station was wonderfully coordinated to ensure no one had to miss any music. Not even if you were getting a not-entirely-sure-what’s-on-my-arm-for-eternity tattoo or taking a booze induced snooze for 5 hours.

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Sheer Mag of Philadelphia, PA

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White Mystery of Chicago, IL

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The Mystery Lights of Brooklyn, NY

At Meltasia, friends were reunited, new friends were made, working relationships formed, and nudity was the norm rather than the exception. The community feeling was on high, so high – that there was an un-official Camp Meltasia reunion at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, NY the Tuesday following the festival. Fat White Family headlined before heading back to the UK – giving the thirsty animals a round 2 of their magnetic energy and were supported by Pawns.

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Hanging with Thick and The Nude Party

Meltasia was a gathering of the kindred spirits – an awakening of the universal soul, if you will, and a call to arms for the musically addicted and party time professionals.

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Friends melting together

A very special thanks to Andy Animal for throwing the whole damned thing, Mr. Joe Jagos for ensuring we could properly document this historic weekend for our future grandchildren, all of the performers who have put days, weeks, and years of their lives into their art, and to the party animals without whom the Catskill Game Farm would still be abandoned.

…still melting.

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Meltasia 2017 is this weekend September 8th-10th at Blackthorne Resort in East Durham, NY. Tickets and details here.



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