Mysteryland USA Drops House-Packed Lineup for its Fourth Year
Posted April 2, 2017
UPDATE: Mysteryland USA 2017 has officially been cancelled. You can read the official announcement here.
Nestled in the green, rolling hills of Bethel Woods NY, you’ll find the US adaption of the NL-born Mysteryland festival. In its fourth iteration, Mysteryland USA is hosted annually on the hallowed grounds of Woodstock ’69.
The 2017 festival will be a 4-day, 3-night event from June 9th to 12th at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Located a beautiful 2 hour drive from NY, 4 hours from Boston, or 5 1/2 hours from the Canadian border at Niagara, it’s close enough for a quick weekend getaway, but remote enough to feel as though you’re leaving the city behind.
I’ve been lucky enough to make the 8 hour drive to attend Mysteryland every year since the inaugural 2014, and it’s proven itself repeatedly as one of my favourite events. It’s holds a special vibe that I’ve found unmatched elsewhere.
The event itself is fairly small, but it’s versatile, interesting, and well-produced. Everything is a quick walk away – it’s a simple walk between stages to catch a glimpse of several different artists in any time slot. Small, enclosed stages (particularly for the house and techno tents), mean that the performances are more like club shows than festivals massive, allowing you to get up close for intimate musical experiences with your favourite artists.
But unlike other events small enough to give you that type of experience, Mysteryland still includes massive, mind-blowing mainstage productions, which bring new stages every year for all new experiences.
In addition to the musical programming, there is plenty to see, do, and explore at Mysteryland, giving the festival more than just main-stage appeal. There is a wide-variety of amazing food from New York and surrounding area, there are games, rides, and activities, art, museums, a healing garden, and more. Mysteryland packs it’s scenic park space with art to explore, and interactive installations to draw you away from the rail. Did I mention food? I mean, what other festival gives you a whole food lineup of top-notch New York vendors to get excited about?
While one-day tickets are available, most people choose to take part in all three days of the festival. As it is a bit of a drive from the city, and the small towns in the area offer limited options for accommodations, most people choose to stay and camp on-site. This gives you a truly immersive weekend experience, with access to exclusive after parties, silent discos, late night movies, and the best neighbours you could imagine. Camping this year has expanded to accommodate anyone 19+, however there are alternate options for those who wish to stay elsewhere, such as hotels, shuttles, and off-site camping.
For those who wish to stay on-site for the convenience but prefer not to “rough it”, Mysteryland offers a variety of VIP options which include tent or cabin rentals, so the gear can be left at home.
Speaking of gear, you may want to pack light for this one. On-site camping is limited to tent-only. This is unusual for some people who are used to car-camping at other festivals, however, I personally prefer it. Tent-only allows you to get up close to your friends, without being forced to set up in rows. It makes the campsite feel like more of a community, and you don’t need to worry about headlights, exhaust pipes, or blaring stereos while you’re trying to sleep. This does mean you need to carry your gear in on foot, however most people choose to bring wagons to tow their gear. Trust me – if you know it’s coming and can plan for it, it’s a quick and simple process.
One thing that’s consistently impressed me each year at Mysteryland is the crowd. In all my days of festivals, I’ve never met a crowd quite like it. Everyone is outgoing and friendly and just plain nice. Each year, a few hours in, I’m reminded of this after being greeting by so many genuinely pleasant people. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s something that’s given me the warm fuzzies each and every year, and that’s kept me coming back. Sure, there are great people to be found everywhere you go, but the welcoming friendship of Mysteryland is truly unmatched.
But hey, let’s not forget about the music! That’s the real reason we’re all here, isn’t it?
Mysteryland’s lineup has been released, and it’s nothing short of amazing. When ML’s main competition, EDC NY was cancelled, there was some worry that ML may go “mainstream” to pick up the displaced audience. But thankfully, they’ve stayed true to their sound and booked a house-heavy but diverse lineup of underground and up-and-coming artists for those who prefer something unique. Yes, headliners Porter Robinson and Major Lazer are sure to wow the crowd, but most impressive part of this lineup is the undercard.
This year will bring the return of Burning Man-bred Desert Hearts crew, this time as a stage curator and including the entire crew. DH’s fun, upbeat techno sound is making waves as they seem to be hitting almost every festival’s lineup for this year. And for good reason – my first introduction to Desert Hearts was an unbelievable experience. Beam me up, Mikey!
Tickets to Mysteryland have been on sale for a few months, but are starting to sell out. 3 day tickets are currently priced at $199, which tickets with onsite camping begin at $284. One day tickets are not currently available, but are typically released closer to the festival. Those who wish to indulge in a more lavish and upscale camping experience may choose the Bird’s Nest VIP package, which includes private glamping, VIP tickets, and large, furnished tents with electricity.
WHAT: Mysteryland USA
WHEN: June 9-12
WHERE: Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (site of the Original Woodstock)
WHO: 19+ to attend.