Memorial Day Weekend 2014 in the Northeast: Mysteryland & EDC NYC
The Northeast was all abuzz this past week with the release of two major festival lineups that coincide on the same weekend: Mysteryland and Electric Daisy Carnival NYC. The first lineup was released on Facebook on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 1:10pm:
That same day, at 1:49pm, EDC NYC announced its lineup:
“Which Festival Should I Go To?!”
EDM forums across Facebook were alight on Thursday with demands on who was going where. Both festivals have fierce and loyal fans, and many of those fans are loyal to both festivals. The decision on which festival to attend can be quite the struggle and fans of each festival claim that their festival lineup is the best! So… how to choose? Picking which festival is kind of like buying a new phone, car, or laptop– you need to decide what you want to get out of it and what your needs are, and each person’s decision will be made for different reasons. I’ll try my best to break it down and help you make the right choice.
First box to check: if you’re under 21 you cannot go to Mysteryland. Mysteryland is a 21+ festival. They definitely check for id’s. If you’re over 21, then you can advance and continue to decide which festival is for you. If you are under 18: do not advance, do not pass go, do not collect $200– EDC NYC is an 18+ festival.
Location, Location, Location
Mysteryland is located at the original site of Woodstock ’69 in Bethel Woods— the first multi-day camping festival to be held at the site since the historic festival! This rich history definitely draws a lot of fans; however, it is not readily accessible if you don’t have a car– there is no public transport to the festival (check out the details here). EDC NYC, contrastingly, is located at the Metlife Stadium in Rutherford, NJ, which is easily accessed via NJ Transit. If you live in NYC and don’t have a car, Mysteryland may be difficult to access without friends who are going (there are opportunities to rideshare, which I’ve done, it’s legit– see more here under “carpool”).
If you love the full festival experience, then look no further than Mysteryland– camping is available! If you love camping (upstate NY is beautiful– though Memorial Day weekend can be either absolutely warm and summery, or pretty cold and windy!), you have two options with Mysteryland: Holy Ground camping, which allows you to camp right at the festival on the “Holy Ground” of Woodstock ’69; or Landers River camping, which is a great campsite located right on a river (it’s about 25 minutes from the festival and there will be continuous shuttle service). If you’re not really into camping, Mysteryland is also accessible to hotels. The Mysteryland website says that their sponsored hotel is Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center (about 20 minutes from the festival), but there are other hotel options in the surrounding area as well as AirBnb.
EDC NYC does not have camping opportunities. The convenience of being close to a major city is that many people will commute from their homes to the festival. For those of you traveling from afar, hotels will be available in the surrounding area. It is also easy to get there from airports (JFK or Newark are the easiest airports).
Art & Interactive Displays
Both festivals make a strong point of having amazing, mind-bending light and art displays. The attention to detail and the level of creativity is some of the best in the world. Mysteryland actually titled itself “The Electronic Music, Culture, and Arts Festival,” setting it apart from other general music festivals, including its sister festival TomorrowWorld. The festival has a huge artistic lineup that has been released, though few people have taken much notice. Artists & art installations include Angus Watt, Matte, the Lucent Dossier Experience (read more about that here!), Dadara, Kate Raudenbush, and many, many more that you can check out here! Even if you don’t stalk the ML website like me, you can still tell that there is a huge emphasis on interactive displays– displays that you can actually touch and talk to, like the Teddy Bear Shrine and the Love Chapel– just by looking at the types of photos Mysteryland shares on Facebook.
EDC NYC was one of the first festivals of its kind: a city-based festival with an emphasis on amazing light displays. The carnival theme goes perfectly in line with the bright, colorful, neon, and flashing lights that mesmerize fans and have they posting away madly on Instagram sharing their stunning photos with the world. To quote them from their website: “From giant misting daisies perched above the crowd to forests of light and sound, the entire venue is transformed by these unique areas built to feature theatrical performance, special effects, fire displays, water works, and illuminated art.” Over 500 theatrical performers are also hired for this festival, which is seriously impressive!
So, there are a number of things to think about: transportation, accommodation, and age limits. Both festivals have amazing lighting, staging, and arts available, though different styles. The lineup is the last and most subjective aspect in deciding what festival to go to. One important detail to note now is that the Mysteryland lineup that has been released is the full lineup; whereas EDC NYC has only announced “phase 1” lineup, with more to come. For some people who want to see all those big names they’ve always wanted to see, EDC NYC may be the one for you: Afrojack, Adventure Club, Carl Cox, Claude Vonstroke, Damian Lazarus, DJ Snake, Krewella, R3hab, and Sander Van Doorn grace the EDC NYC lineup.
That’s definitely not to say that Mysteryland doesn’t have a heavy lineup of all your favorite artists that you “discovered” on BPM- check out their mainstage lineup, complete with Nervo, Fedde Le Grande, Showtek, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Dillon Francis, The Chainsmokers, Flosstradamus, DVBBS, and many more. A lot of people have pointed out there are a lot of deep house and techno artists on the Mysteryland lineup (though Art Department and MK are on the EDC NYC lineup– showing that both may have their leanings but they are also fairly diverse). A lot of huge Q-Dance (hard style EDM) and Sunday School (house & techno artists) fans are really happy to see their favorite artists having their own stages. I also want to point out a few other amazing artists: Moby, Big Gigantic, Dirtyphonics, Dillstradamus (Dillon Francis + Flosstradamus!!!), Chase & Status, Brillz, Booka Shade, Carl Craig, Soul Clap, Noisecontrollers, and Joris Voorn.
It’s also hard to compare the two lineups when EDC NYC hasn’t released the full one yet. Fortunately (or unfortunately? Depends on how you look at it…) the lineups do not overlap– I’m sure each festival made a point of having their own artist lineup. A lot of festivals across the US are having increasingly homogenous lineups (remember when a lot of lineups were announced a month ago and Outkast was headlining everyone?!) and with two EDM-only festivals going down on the same weekend in the same state, they need to make sure they have a solid and independent showing that demonstrates the culture of the festival. The lineups are really different for each person; some of us recognize a lot of huge names on the Mysteryland lineup, while others complain they’ve never heard of any of them. The battle rages on as people comment and bicker back and forth in a heated debate over which festival has “the best lineup.” If you’re a trance fan, both festivals are lacking in the trance, which fans in forums and on the ML and EDC NYC Facebook pages have not let go unnoticed.
Lineups are definitely important, but I caution anyone making a decision between the two festivals to look at all of the facts. Both festivals are investing a ton of the money you spend on a ticket into the whole experience– stages, displays, art, food, and location. The lineup is grabbing a lot of attention, especially because they both were released at the same time, but it’s important to look at big picture before making any hasty decisions! Also, they both are two festivals that have totally different identities: Mysteryland intends on being smaller, with attention on each individual having an amazing and whole-body experience; EDC NYC is supposed to be a massive blowout, with tons of people, a fatty lineup, and lights that will have you blinking for days. They’re just not even comparable really– neither is “better” or “worse,” it’s just what you want to get out of the experience.
Why can’t we all just be friends?
Buy tickets to Mysteryland here!
Buy tickets to EDC NYC here!