As electronic music festivals continue to gain momentum, many have faced unfortunate sacrifices with radical commercialization. A star-studded lineup entices many, but if a festival only has that to offer is the attendee really having the experience they paid for?
We were lucky to make it to Mysteryland Memorial Day weekend, which shared the same land as Woodstock ‘69. More than 50,000 music enthusiasts made the pilgrimage and were greeted by some of the best talent out there. The event was next level and maintained key factors often lost with the expansion of such productions.
Impressed would be an understatement, see below as to why Mysteryland was an all around enriching experience.
Bethel Woods is located off the beaten path in upstate New York. The landscape is hilly which provided natural amphitheaters at multiple stages. Spread across 10 acres, foot travel was effortless and allowed a sense of freedom roaming the grounds. Many found their own spots away from the crowds to lay out a blanket and enjoy the scenery. When the sun began to set Saturday, a fog settled over parts of the woods that brought twilight shades of orange and blue. The land definitely had a mysterious feel to it moments before darkness.
Arts & Culture
Mysteryland was reminiscent of a fairytale. Around every corner was a surprise, be it a DJ atop a pedicab rolling along the paths or a flock of hammocks attached to massive pines hidden away. We stumbled across the largest teddy bear we've ever seen, a 12-foot television for photo ops, art installations that can’t be described and a metal fort that emitted fire overhead (and gave a moment of warmth among the cool temperatures). Mysteryland also offered yoga, a healing garden and endless shops to pick up one of a kind memorabilia.
Mentioning fairy tails and art installations – Mysteryland’s stages were nothing short of both. The Mainstage was settled in a valley with two Trojan horses dueling. The creatures eyes synced with artists sets, which was exciting yet terrifying. Lighting and sound were top notch and the fireworks were out of this world. No shortcuts were made when it came to production.
The Verboten stage was that of a vintage circus tent. We wandered into a moon room, found a pineapple stage made entirely of balloons and somehow landed in the freakshow tent known as QDance.
However, the stage that got the most attention was The Boat. Sized similar to that of a pirate ship, the sound system easily knocked you over as artists like Minnesota, Griz and Gramatik dropped electrifying sounds. Th best part – attendees could go atop to the deck and over look the DJs and crowd.
We support music lovers of all ages, but 21+ created an entirely different atmosphere. Bass heads, jam band fans, ship fam and all other families united. Walking through the crowd was peaceful as many were festival veterans exchanging stories and making new friends. Everyone was there for the music, not just the party.
Mysteryland's food lineup was on par with the artist lineup, hands down. Bringing a taste of Smorgasburg (New York City's famous food market) to Bethel Woods was nothing short of a treat. Attendees could choose from numerous cuisines, vegan options and delicacies.
Keep an eye out for Mysteryland 2016 announcements and be sure to not miss such a legendary experience!
Mysteryland USA 2015 photo credits:
AJR — Andrew Rauner // @AJR_photos for Mysteryland
DLG — Danilo Lewis for Mysteryland
JL — Jackie Lee for Mysteryland
JT — Joey Timmer | pikzelz for Mysteryland
JC — Julian Cassady for Mysteryland
TD — tomdoms.com for Mysteryland
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