After several successful outings in Europe, ID&T (the company behind Tomorrowland, Sensation and many other prominent EDM events/festivals), decided to bring Mysteryland to the US last year. Despite a strong effort by the organizers to capture the spirit of its European counterpart, it was ultimately met with a fair bit of criticism.
Not one to be deterred, ID&T brought back Mysteryland USA once again in a new and improved state, hoping to give those in attendance an unforgettable Memorial Day Weekend. Competition was certainly tough, with Counterpoint, EDC New York, Movement Detroit and several other festivals also taking place during the same time. And while I can’t speak to how those aforementioned events went, as I wasn’t present, I can safely say that Mysteryland USA 2015 was, by almost all accounts, a success and is most definitely a weekend that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Taking place in the legendary Bethel Woods, where Woodstock was held back in 1969, there was a palpable sense of hippie culture permeating through the festival all weekend, a fact that the organizers made no effort to hide. Mysteryland’s connection to Woodstock is one of the things that makes it unique, and being on the same grounds where that iconic festival took place certainly adds to the overall atmosphere and vibe that you get when you step onto the picturesque location.
Where a festival like Electric Daisy Carnival goes for a more fantastical feel and Tomorrowland strays to the more magical side of things, Mysteryland’s decorations and design would fall into the artsy/bohemian category. Strewn throughout the festival grounds were odd, whimsical and inspired designs which added almost a mystical element to the whole thing. From a swinging chair made out of teddy bears to a bizarre mirror exhibit and even a full-sized fire dome that had flames coming out of its ceiling, there was no shortage of distractions lying around for those who wanted a breather from the music.
Speaking of the music, the festival’s eclectic lineup was a huge change of pace from last year, but most certainly a breath of fresh air amidst all the other summer festivals that pack their roster with main stage talent only. Whether you were craving tropical house, drum and bass, techno, future house or anything in between, you were able to find it across Mysteryland’s six stages.
Throughout the weekend, I made my way to almost every stage and for the most part, I left each one impressed. Whether it was the much talked about boat stage, which featured everything from a fantastic funky set with Griz to a hyper, bouncy and hard-hitting batch of music from TJR, or Adam Beyer and his Drumcode gang taking over the Beatport tent on the last night, there was a welcome and finely-tuned mix of music on display during both days.