Vibe: (n.) A pleasing ambience. Related forms: vibes, vibez, vibezz
However you spell it, this Memorial Day weekend Mysteryland 2015 had arguably the best vibes anywhere in North America. We here at FestPop are all about a festival’s experience, and this post will be just that. A variety of other media outlets will no doubt be covering the best acts of Mysteryland 2015; we’re here to paint the picture of what it was like to travel and live Mysteryland 2015.
Disclaimer: if you were one of the folks who desperately wanted to attend, but weren’t able to, you might want to stop reading right now. Any amount of FOMO you may have had from missing MLUSA will only grow with each passing paragraph.
In its second year running, Mysteryland’s organizers spared no expense in crafting an insanely awesome space for attendees – from start to finish. This year I made the move to camp on-site at the hallowed Woodstock grounds, aptly named the “Holy Grounds.” After a quick two hour drive up from Brooklyn with friends, we rolled onto the hallowed hills of Bethel and hiked 15 minutes to our camp site. We shared the space with 10,000 other attendees camped across grassy acres of bliss. No other festival I’ve been to had such a wonderful level of community and camaraderie from the get go. Strangers helped each other set tents up, charged cell phones for those in desperation, joined random jam sessions and shared toothpaste, highfives, sunblock and more. Put another way, camping vibes: on point.
Situated a few hundred yards from the Holy Grounds camping, built into the rolling hills, sits the festival stage grounds. As you can see in the below photos, it was quite a sight to behold. The main stage featured two massive horse heads bowed forward towards one another as if in adoration of DJs spinning below them. This year’s boat stage, dubbed Boat 2.0, replicated a Huckleberry Finn-esque steam ship and was a huge party pleaser with its hype-filled sets and functioning steam stacks. The Verboten stage payed homage to their 10,000 square foot metal shop turned night club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with a non-stop dance party all festival long. Fire spitters and acrobats dazzled under a massive, fire spewing instillation. Smorgasburg-sourced and local eateries dished out delectable grub. Some smaller stages kept it old school with funky, OG jams. I could go on, but I don’t want to give those FOMO-filled readers any more reason to cry right now. Venue vibes: definitely on point.
When it comes to festivals most people are swayed one way or another based on the acts that will be playing. But I’ll go out on a limb and say that in today’s burgeoning festival space, good acts are table stakes for a good festival. MLUSA checked that box (and then some) by pulling dozens of top artists, and on top of that, they built debatably the best physical presence of any festival in the US. How could it get any better, you ask? How about having the most amazing people of any festival I’ve been to in the past 5 years.
MLUSA’s Memorial Day timing shares the holiday weekend with another big NY-area electric festival: Electric Daisy Carnival. The thing these two don’t share is their age policies: EDC allows anyone 18+ in. Mysteryland is a strict 21+ festival. If you’ve been to an electronic music festival in the past few years, you know full well of over-the-top, ragey, candi-covered youth that can detract from an otherwise awesome experience. I’m more than pleased to say that there were few to none of those hooligans at MLUSA.
At one point in the second day of the festival, a friend of mine remarked how great everyone there was. “This place has some magic about it. Seriously, there’s some Mysteryland magic going on!” It became clear that there is something truly special about the event and the area. Call me crazy, but MLUSA has managed to channel their site’s historical positivity and openness into an electronic festival full of positive, communal, and well-intentioned attendees. That’s a fact that anyone in attendance couldn’t deny, and one that they’ll proudly tell you about. People vibes: on point.
The overall experience:
Let’s just say this: if you were tasked to find the best electronic-themed festival in North America, you’d be hard pressed to not give Mysteryland the top vote. All the above sound awesome? Do yourself a favor and get up to Bethel next year. Who knows, a couple decades down the road, maybe you’ll be telling your kids you were there in 2016, a part of the vibes, with all the pride that your old neighbor does about his Woodstock ’69 experience.
Written by FestPop Staff Writer
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