From June 10-13, Mysteryland 2016 took over the Woodstock festival grounds at Bethel Woods in upstate New York. With a music lineup that featured emerging and veteran electronic artists, countless art installations, a comedy stage, a speaker series, yoga classes, and more, Mysteryland transformed Bethel Woods into a haven of music and art.
The Holy Ground Campground was filled with tents, canopies, chairs, and flags, and as festival-goers made the uphill trek to the festival grounds, painted statues of horses, giant rainbow colored wings, and hanging lights started to come into view. The scenery was breathtaking: views from high in the Catskills well worth the sore legs required to climb the steep hills. Each of the five stages was decorated differently, all stunning, adorned with metals and lights of all colors. The stages characterized a seamless blending of music and art that was incorporated throughout Mysteryland. A 50 foot dome stood in the middle of the festival, with flames curling and spreading across the top of the dome as spectators gathered around and inside the dome to watch the fire dance and listen to music from nearby stages. People danced on top of a school bus painted purple, joined by costumed dancers and a DJ elevated above the top of a bus on a platform covered in flowers and lights. Armchairs draped with flowers and plants were scattered around the grounds, providing seating along with hammocks, swinging benches, and plush couches.
Mysteryland is the longest-running electronic music festival in the world, with international editions in Chile and the Netherlands running since 1993 (the United States edition began two years ago). Thanks to this 23-year legacy, Mysteryland was able to attract some of the biggest names in electronic music for its 2016 iteration- Skrillex, Odesza, Gramatik, and Bassnectar to name a few. The five stages accommodated over 90 artists in total, all of varying electronic genres. Fans were able to enjoy performances by the Chainsmokers, Tchami, Zed’s Dead, Penguin Prison, and more in addition to the headliners. In the early morning hours, a silent disco featured DJ face-offs where those who weren’t exhausted from a day of dancing could pick up a pair of special headphones that could sync to either DJ’s live set and decide which one they preferred. The headphones would then illuminate either red or blue so partiers could look around and see which DJ had attracted more listeners.
An impressive feat of coordination, Mysteryland transported festival-goers to a different world for the weekend, a world of art, music, beauty, and escape. More than just an EDM festival, the weekend was an all-encompassing experience that transported attendees to Mysteryland: a place bizarre, carefree, and beautiful.