What can one say about Meltasia, a music festival slated to be held at the Old Game Farm in Catskill over Labor Day weekend? It’s weird – an adjective that came out of the mouth of the organizer, Andy Animal, formerly of the Andy Animal Family Band and Cannibal Tribe. He’s the guy who celebrated his 31st birthday by renting an entire campground to throw a party replete with psychedelics, booze and 150 biker punks, meanwhile asking, “What could go wrong?” He’s the creator of the ever-entertaining Sensuous Yankee Candle YouTube spots, wherein he displays his latest haul of scented votives and describes how much he likes the way they smell.
After organizing private parties with a few hundred friends, he’s opening up to the public – the adult public, specifically. Attendees must be 18 and older. It’s not a kid-friendly event. “We keep it 18 and over,” he explains, “so that if anybody feels like taking their clothes off or anything like that…you know, children seem to keep people from wanting to do that, I’ve learned from past events. This is the second Meltasia. I did the first one in Lafayette, Georgia. To make a long story short, I just somehow wound up doing a party in Georgia. There’s a promo video on YouTube where you can look up the Meltasia experience.”
I asked him where the name Meltasia comes from. “Me and my friends, we always used the phrase ‘getting melted’ as a term for partying. I’ve been doing a more word-of-mouth party at Uncle Pete’s Campground in Phoenicia for the past six years. We called it the Meltdown Funabration. I’d been going to the Old Game Farm my whole life, right up until it shut down in 2006. The place is amazing. It was built in the ‘30s, so it has really cool old-school vibes. We’re excited to be making light out of a formerly somewhat dark situation. Some people don’t like zoos, for some reason.”
A description of the new location for the gathering is on Animal’s website: “Opened in 1933, the Catskill Game Farm was the nation’s first privately owned zoo, but had been left untouched since its closing in 2006. Empty animal pens and feeding bowls dotted the outdoor space, overgrown and dilapidated. In 2012, a family bought the land and renamed it the Old Game Farm. Now, the beautiful ruins of the 206-acre property will be brought back to life, with Meltasia Music Festival.”
The site will indeed come to life when Animal’s party happens. Attendees can camp out on the grounds or plan to bed down in one of the cool, cheap hotels in and around Catskill. “People can bring in their own food, and we’re gonna have some great food trucks there – like, Pippy’s Hot Dogs makes these really great hot dogs with macaroni and cheese and fish crackers on ‘em, which I look forward to trying. I like food that seems like it was designed by a six-year-old.”
When asked what other kinds of activities there will be besides listening to the music, Animal says, “Drinking.” Alcohol will be available for purchase. “What else? We’re setting up a ring toss where you can win beer and other cool stuff, like Meltasia Frisbees. There are goats there for people to see. Just to see this old run-down zoo – like, there’s gonna be a performance in an old monkey cage and little side performances, weird surprises, such as Meltie’s Chamber of Thrills.”
Gates are open at noon on Friday, and Animal has 26 bands lined up to play until Sunday evening, including Shannon and the Clams, Pentagram, Natural Child, Kool Keith, Sheer Mag, Bloodshot Bill, Murphy’s Law, Dirty Fences, Bird Cloud, White Mystery, Vockah Redo, Hector’s Pets, Mystery Lights, Weird Paul Petroskey, the Tough Sh*ts, Surfbort, Pox, the Nude Party, Dose Man, the Paul Green Rock Academy, Scott Fry, It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Fat White Family, Ultraam, Faux Ferocious, Benni and possibly more. Check the playlist and schedule on the website for specific times these performers might appear.
“What do you do in life, besides throw together these crazy parties?” I asked the Woodstock hometown boy. “Anything I can get my hands on, really, that I want to get my hands on. Helping out different projects. Am I an artist? I guess, yes, I am. I’m an art collector: old monster toys. I drew a lot when I was younger. I’ve assembled a lot of people to create really cool art projects. I was also a singer, but don’t do that much anymore.”
Now engrossed in event planning, Animal says that he’s capping the ticket sales at 900 “so that we’re not completely overrun. Oh yeah, we are gonna have a bunch of awesome deejays from around the world, too,” he adds. Expect anything to happen. And prepare for three whole days and nights of food, drinks, souvenirs, vintage goods and other surprises.
Camping is free with ticket purchase, and early arrival is advised to find a good spot to set up. Campers should be sure to bring all the necessary camping/festival gear (tents, sleeping bags, bug spray, comfy shoes et cetera). Showers and restrooms will be available for your convenience.
Most importantly, to really get down and have a safe, kickass time, attendees are advised to see Animal’s rules for a list of what not to bring, which includes outside-purchased alcohol, pets, fireworks, explosives and weapons of any kind. No unauthorized vending or soliciting will be allowed, and campers can build fires in designated areas only. No “colors” (gang or club logos) should be worn, and all bags and persons are subject to search. Lastly, unless you’re bringing your mother along, you must clean up after yourselves. You are adults, after all.