Mysteryland, the first large-scale music festival granted permission to operate on the hallowed grounds of the infamous 1969 Woodstock Art & Music Fair in Bethel, NY since that momentous weekend 45 years ago, certainly had large shoes to fill. Due in large part to a world-class team of event producers with massive experience in Europe, Mysteryland succeeded in doing just that. Below you’ll find a recap of this incredible weekend from the house/techno perspective–specifically, the Sunday School Mini-Festival–curated by NY electronic music veterans Made Event, which spanned three unique stages.
In a hyper-digital world where the standard DJ tools are laptops and CDJs with USB sticks, it’s refreshing to see a stage dedicated to the analog foundation of this entire scene. An open-air stage, Vinyl Only featured some of the most respected artists in the house/techno realm, including Carl Craig, Josh Wink, Soul Clap, DJ Sneak, Robert Dietz, Lee Foss, Victor Calderone, Steve Bug, Jesse Rose, and Frank & Tony. Despite a bit of rain on Saturday, this stage was consistently filled with music heads grooving to the massive sound system and happily accepting the occasional record needle skip or scratchy vinyl.
Sunday School is in session
Some of the biggest techno acts in the world graced the largest of the Sunday School stages, including Dubfire, Joris Voorn, Pan-Pot, Booka Shade, Chris Liebing, Joseph Capriati, tINI, Black Rose, and Marcel Dettmann. Thunderous techno accompanied by brilliant visual and lighting production helped make this enormous tent a feast for both the ears and eyes. Loved the dual school buses with LED displays–a throw-back to the first Sunday School parties at WMC in Miami years ago.
An impressive light show dominates the Big Top
The most esoteric space, Spiegeltent also featured the most forward-thinking lineup in a beautifully designed octagon structure focusing on an eclectic motif and antique circus decor. On Saturday, Eric Volta and Boris Werner worked the room nicely prior to the Visionquest crew taking over and delivering a stunning, lengthy set. Sunday’s lineup included fantastic sets from Thugfucker and Blond:ish as well as Maxxi Soundsystem. Fantastic vibe in this space–it was one of the highlights overall.
Antique vibes and warm grooves fill the Spiegeltent
One the most pleasant surprises was a small stage called Sin Salida, tucked in between the Vinyl Only stage and clothing/food vendors, that featured a Mexican Dia De Los Muertos theme and a rotating cast of refreshing, interesting DJs playing a wide range of funky tunes. Many people remarked that this stage had the best vibe–people were actually dancing–and I couldn’t agree more. It was a pleasant surprise to discover refreshing new music off the beaten path.
With a stunning, historic backdrop, Mysteryland’s first US edition was a beautiful, memorable experience. From the quality food vendors, curated by Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg, to the multitude of art installations focused on a message of empathy and love, as well as the unique activations available to attendees (including a hot-air balloon sponsored by Swedish apple cider brand Rekorderlig), the consensus emerged that this was indeed a well-executed first effort in the US.
Photos: Rocky Ramniceanu