Peace, Love, and Music Return to Woodstock for Mysteryland 2016
January 14th, 2016Matt Reynolds
Over the years, music festivals have expanded, evolved, upgraded, transformed, and undergone a dozen other changes to stay alive. They’ve booked more acts, added more days, doubled up on how many weekends it goes; if you can think of it, somebody has probably done it. But the true draw of a festival is beyond that – it’s about the atmosphere. Few American festivals have that singular “it” factor that can draw a crowd without a lineup announcement. The weather of Miami for Ultra. The magical forest at Electric Forest. The electric sky at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for EDC Vegas. The desert of Burning Man.
It’s time to add the holiest ground of Woodstock, New York to this list, because Mysteryland USA has that “it” factor.
Mysteryland USA is back at the Holy Grounds of Woodstock, New York from June 10th-13th for its third US edition. Throwing a curveball this year, the main stage features 3 Mysteryland first-timers: Odesza, Skrillex, and Bassnectar. The theme for this year is undoubtedly bass heavy, as Zeds Dead, G Jones, Gramatik, Keys N Krates, and Zomboy round out a filthy lineup. Funk also holds a strong footing this year: Griz, The Floozies, and the Funk Hunters are also on the lineup. Considering Mysteryland has had The Boat stage for two years now – the defacto bass stage – it’s a warm feeling to see it full of such great talent.
In recent years, the festival has emphasized techno, house music, and the underground. This year, there is a distinct lack of this feel, but it is by no means forgotten. Claude Vonstroke, John Digweed, MK, Lee Burridge, and the dark lord Gesaffelstein will show us how Mysteryland gets down. With Claptone, Mr. Carmack, and Golf Clap joining them, phase one still has a taste of what it’s bred in the past – albeit a small one.
One noticeable omission from this year’s lineup is the lack of a Q-Dance stage. In the festival’s first two editions, Q-Dance curated their own hardstyle stage. With artists like Audiofreq, Coone, Brennan Heart, and Wildstylez on previous lineups, this comes as a shock. Hardstyle rarely gets the visibility it deserves in the northeast, and Mysteryland was making strides to change that here. With the absence of hardstyle, it looks as though Mysteryland is deciding to go in a different direction.
But the magical nature of Mysteryland is much deeper than just another stacked lineup. The festival grounds are sacred to music lovers across the world because of the rich, historical background of the site. Rock icons came together for three days of peace, love, and rock n’ roll. For decades, festival organizers have tried (and failed) to throw a full scale festival at the original Woodstock site. Even festivals branded as “Woodstock” in 1994 and 1999 failed to get permission, which ended up being held in surrounding areas. But Mysteryland is different. The CEO of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (back in 2014) said that the reason for the acceptance of this specific festival lives in the “creativity, unity, social responsibility and a focus on the ‘experience’ of the guest.”
Mysteryland embodies exactly these things. With thought-provoking art exhibits and one-of-a-kind stage design (including the freakin’ bass boat), ML is a creative innovator. The festival features group meditation at the Healing Garden, live seminars from philosophers and spiritual gurus, and daily yoga sessions on the Holy Grounds. To give back to the community, Mysteryland created the 10,000 hours community service program, which has found ways to better the Woodstock community, as well as communities across the globe. No other festival before this has encapsulated the original Woodstock ‘69 vibe – the soul – of Woodstock like Mysteryland has.
Procuring tickets this year are pretty straightforward. A 3-Day GA pass will only cost $209 without Holy Ground camping, and $294 with Holy Ground camping. There are a handful of VIP options to choose from as well; a 3-day VIP pass goes for $419, but without camping. For VIP camping plus a 3-day VIP pass, nomads will have to shell out $504 – which isn’t too bad, when we look at what comes with it. Free showers, upscale bathrooms, daily happy hour, private main stage bar…plus, some pretty sweet ML merch. There’s also a “platinum” option, which includes even more sweet amenities, including golf cart service to and from the Holy Grounds (which is unbelievably clutch, considering there is a rather intimidating hill to summit every day).
There are also the Easy Tent packages at Mysteryland, for those who plan on traveling long-distance to the holy grounds. For $899, you get set up for the entire weekend in the Easy Tent community: 2 person tent, 2 person air mattress, and your 3-day GA pass. The VIP versions and platinum versions are mirrors of the standard tickets, with the same tent and air mattresses included. These options are much pricier, but worth it for those looking to splurge.
Unfortunately, the Holy Ground is only accessible for guests who are 21 and over. There are lodging options at nearby hotels for 19+ guests, however, and the Lander’s River campsites will be hosting ML attendees for a third straight year. Each of these choices have shuttle options for ML guests, and from the stories that have circulated since year one, Lander’s is almost as wild as the Holy Grounds – if not wilder.
There are a few auxiliary options that are essential to ML survival. The first – and most important – is the crucial parking pass. For Holy Grounds residents, a weekend parking pass is $40, and secures your spot for the entire weekend. For those staying outside of the Holy Grounds, a parking pass for the entire weekend costs $50, allowing you to leave and return for each day. And, as a new addition to this year’s ML, the organizers are offering different locker and charging “packages.” Guests can purchase a locker either inside the venue or inside the Holy Grounds for $55 or $60 (respectively), but for an extra $20, you can also secure yourself a portable cell phone charger. The days of being chargeless at a festival appear to have come to an end.
This festival is one of the most magical in the country. There is something special about this venue; it’s as though the love from the musical predecessors before us bubble up through the earth, into the feet of those dancing. The respect that flows through the campgrounds is unrivaled, and the late night Holy Ground DJ sets by Bang On! crew have become a staple in Mysteryland lore. A new chapter in Mysteryland history – and Woodstock legend – begins this June. Make sure to be a part of it!
BLACK TIGER SEX MACHINE
HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR
Keys N Krates
TY DOLLA $IGN
BENNY SOTO & MIKE NERVOUS
EAGLES & BUTTERFLIES
The Funk Hunters
GANGA WHITE NIGHT
HOUSE OF YES
PLAY THE MUSIC
TURTLE BUGG MORIS