Mysteryland 2015 — So Much More Than Just A Festival
There are music festivals and then there culture and art music festivals. Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the Mysteryland USA festival at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in upstate New York — the same location as perhaps the most iconic festival to ever take place, that of course being the 1969 Woodstock festival. The festival is only in its second year in America after putting on breathtaking shows for more than two decades in the Netherlands and saw such prominent acts like A-Trak, Richie Hawtin, Porter Robinson, Kygo, Robin Schulz, Dillon Francis and Diplo headline this year.
What separates this festival from nearly every other is the fact that they truly embrace the culture that Woodstock left behind that is about so much more than just the music. Mysteryland, by virtue of being a 21+ festival, was able to have a maturity to it that is unseen at most other festivals such as Ultra, EDC or Electric Zoo in the sense that picturesque landscapes, friends, fashion and good music were the main attractions rather than a parking lot with a stage in the middle as has become so common in recent years.
Of all the festivals I have been to I can wholeheartedly say that Mysteryland was unlike any other festival I have been to with things like a food festival literally inside a music festival courtesy of Smorgasboard, multiple art installations ranging from a 25 foot tall inflatable teddy bear, to giant metal domes that spit fire 30 feet into the air to even the worlds smallest nightclub (a small booth with a dj inside spinning live complete with a velvet rope, bouncer and even line for now apparent reason) and of course the Owari No Nai stage — a Japanese stage that played deep house and had a vibe unlike anything with dancers and DJ’s alike both in traditional Japanese garb while performing and pouring Saki shots into patrons mouths
Of all the stages there the Beatport Big Top Tent, which was taken over by Matthew Dear’s Subversions and Adam Beyer’s Drumcode on Saturday and Sunday respectively, stood out as my absolute favorite and not just because I was able to block the harsh sun while inside. Sets from Ida Enberg, Paco Osuna and Adam Beyer who played an extended set were some of the best I was able to catch over the holiday weekend but overall my personal favorites came from Goldfish and Oliver on the mainstage who threw down sets one after the other that couldn’t have been more different, but amazing at the same time.
While Mysteryland was an overall fantastic experience, one which I will forever be grateful for that is not to say that it was not without its hardships — the main one had to have been the distance between the campsites and the festival entrance which was at least a 10 minute walk each way. Due in large part to this long walk I was able to log an absurd total of 57.5 miles for the 3 day weekend according to my FitBit. That being said if the biggest issue you have with a festival is how long of a walk you had from you tent to the gate rather than a day being cancelled, it was overall a successful festival.
After experiencing my first Mysteryland I am left wanting more and can’t wait to be back next year with my new friends and family in 2016.