Top Ten Special Moments at the Inaugural Mysteryland USA
It’s been a month since Mysteryland happened. Those of us who were there, we are still having serious withdrawals from the amazing festival. Here is a list of the top ten moments at Mysteryland that we hope you didn’t miss!
10. The Museum is Open!
On Sunday of the festival, the Woodstock museum was opened to all Mysteryland USA attendees. Having the opportunity to look back at the original festival that took place on this historic site was powerful. The influence Woodstock had on music and culture in the US was palpable and many artists on site claimed to be inspired by this incredible history. The museum itself was well designed and could be seen fairly quickly, so it was definitely worth the visit!
9. Rekorderlig’s Flower Crowns, Hot Air Balloon, FREE Hard Cider, and Really Cool Staff
Rekorderlig’s Swedish cold cider was definitely a hit– people could collect free tokens and redeem them for a shot of cool, tasty cider. But once you got your drink, you realized that Rekorderlig had more to offer than just drinks. Flower crowns made of beautiful, live flowers were available for sale and are apparently a Swedish tradition. They had a cool minibus, a bar, and some chairs for chilling in the back. When it wasn’t windy, they would blow up the Rekorderlig hot air balloon (which unfortunately wasn’t often). On top of that, all of the people who worked there were incredibly friendly and attractive, which was in line with the Rekorderlig slogan, “Beautifully Swedish” (seriously, these people were all gorgeous).
8. Mysteryland Wedding
At the very start of the festival, Mr. and Mrs. Mysteryland were wed. It was amazing to see two people join in matrimony, join in a commitment to a lifetime of happiness and everlasting love– at a festival that is fully committed to bringing everyone together under the unity of music, the arts, and love. Be sure to check out our interview with the bride here!
7. The Wishing Tree
Attendees could write wishes on leaves that were attached to the Wishing Tree, once again allowing fans to interact with the art and make it their own. According to the Mysteryland website, “The tree inhabits the architectural form of a 27′ tall Balinese temple, which is overtaken by the vines of a benevolent Tree Spirit.” After the festival the tree will go on a world tour to share our well wishes of peace with our global community. One Mysteryland USA forum member shared their Wishing Tree note, which was dedicated to his best friend and souldmate, who he lost two months before the festival. People’s well wishes and positive comments on the photo in the forum shows us how art can connect us and social media can be a positive source of sending our support.
6. The Late Night Boombox Stage
Exclusive to Holy Ground camping, BangOn! hosted a mini stage that looked like a giant boombox on wheels, just outside of the big top circus tent. The stage pumped amazing music in the after-hours of the festival, after all the non-campers had gone home but the campers wanted to continue the party.
5. A Moment With Moby
In the Healing Garden, Moby gave an intimate lecture on music therapy and neuroscience. Sitting in a simple arm chair with hundreds of festival goers around his feet, it seemed as if we were at a grand story time for adults. Moby explained how music can be used to create new pathways in the brain that can stem the tide of the results of strokes, Alzheimers Disease, and more: “If you’ve lost part of your speech center, you can no longer speak. But if you play someone’s favorite song from when they’re 12 years old, even if they’ve lost the ability to speak they can still sing.” (You can read more about Moby’s talk on EDM Sauce.)
4. Throwing Away a Dollar for the Sake of Art
One amazing art installation at Mysteryland was the interactive art display by Dadara. Festival-goers could take a real dollar, draw a design on it, and then paste it onto the Transformation Tree in exchange for a “bank note” (which was a fun little souvenir of the moment). Actors that are part of the Dadara installation assisted in explaining the meaning while also comically interacting with each other and festival fans, creating a well-rounded, multi-demensional, hyper-interactive art display. According to Dadara, “In times when governments spend billions on preventing banks from falling, but those same governments are cutting back drastically on the Arts… In the process [of drawing on the dollar and gluing it to the tree] the financial value of those banknotes is destroyed, but new value is created.” Seeing tons of bills, even a 100 euro bill (approximately $136), and all the smiling faces as people destroyed the value of their money and creative collective artwork was inspiring. The installation was originally created for Burning Man, the pinnacle of American festival culture– symbolizing that in many ways Mysteryland is a festival quickly heading to the top of the quality festival food chain here in the US.
3. Josh Wink’s 20th Anniversary Vinyl-Only Set
Josh Wink has been creating electronic music since the late ’80s. Looking at the packed crowd in front of the stage during his set Saturday, I could tell many of these fans were infants– or not even born yet– when he first started making his mark on the scene. When Josh Wink pulled out the record “I Am Ready,” the person to my right gushed to me, “I remember the first time I heard this in 1994!” Watching a house music legend sifting through his records, pulling a vinyl out, and spinning it on his deck while the crowd cheered and swayed was possibly one of the most amazing musical moments anyone could ever have.
2. Native American Traditional Opening Ceremony
You know you’re at a special festival when they have an opening ceremony. But when they bring in a local Native American community to demonstrate their tradition of dance, music, and community, you know this is some next level shit. During the opening remarks, a member of the group spoke about their intentions, “This opening ceremony is to give thanks and to unify the intentions of Mysteryland.” After watching a beautiful display of traditional music and dance, fans were called to join in the circle marked on the ground, hold hands, and begin dancing.
1. Sunday at the Sin Salida Stage
This stage was listed under the “arts” section of the bill and it overlapped both the art and music lineups. The stage pumped great music, but it also had an awesome Día de Muertos theme. This “installation” is actually from the original Mysteryland in the Netherlands in 2013 and were actually transplanted from the Netherlands to partake in the first MLUSA and immediately you’ll know why: these guys bring a party like no other. All of the performers, both dancers and their own house DJs, were dressed in full costume, including skull face paint. Particularly on Sunday, the Sin Salida stage made it a point to be the most fun stage possible: the mayhem included pouring tequila shots in the crowd’s mouths and even a topless dancer. Sunday night, a huge crowd formed around the stage as DJs who were supposed to perform in the Big Top tent in Holy Grounds that night were moved to the Sin Salida stage. Incredibly talented Dutch techno/house DJs The Man With No Shadow and Michel De Hey were pumping out such amazing beats that a dense crowd formed around the tiny stage. Rumor has it that The Man With No Shadow was asked to take it down a notch because the crowd was getting too roudy and large (always a good sign)! During Michel De Hey’s set, Lex Empress (who is also Dutch and was MC of the Main Stage) rocked up in her Queen of Hearts costume, bringing her beautiful live vocals to put the cherry on top of Michel’s dance-inspiring beats. It was an amazing way to close out the weekend to say the least!