Mysteryland, the world's longest-running EDM festival with editions in The Netherlands and Chile, will hold its first edition in the United States during Memorial Day weekend at upstate New York's Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the site of the original Woodstock festival in 1969.
"It was a dream we never thought would come true," says Jeroen Jansen, creative director of ID&T, the Netherlands-based parent company that has operated Mysteryland for over 20 years. More than 200 world-renowned DJs and performers, including headliner Kaskade, Moby, Nicky Romero, Seth Troxler and Steve Aoki, will be present at the mini-fest, which runs May 23 to May 26.
Steve Aoki performing during Sundance 2014
"I played the Mysteryland in Europe for quite some time," says Aoki. "I remember playing in 2009, and then last year I headlined Mysteryland in Europe. It's an incredible festival. So when they decided to bring it [to the United States], it was a no-brainer to join in the fun."
Past Mysteryland events in Europe and Chile have included fireworks, light shows and smoke cannons on the state-of-the-art main stages, as well as roaming performance artists, mini villages and man-made micro forests. While many of the details of Mysteryland USA will be kept under wraps until the festival's opening day, the event will feature a food fest hosted by Brooklyn's Smorgasburg, yoga and meditation, live painting by New York street artists, theatrical performances and a wishing tree by artist Kate Raudenbush. Mysteryland USA will offer three stages of techno and house music. And for the first time, the festival brand will host on-site camping.
Moby performing at Coachella in 2013
The festival will sell only 20,000 tickets per day (ranging from single-day tickets to premiere B'n'B VIP tents for $109 to $1,999), which is minimal compared with the 400,000 festival-goers who attended the original Woodstock.
Artists on the Mysteryland USA lineup grasp the gravitas of appearing at the legendary site: "The history of Woodstock has revolutionized what festival culture is all about," says Aoki.
And for Moby, it's a natural fit. "Woodstock 1969 and the current dance scene are similar in that they're about people looking into communal alternatives to an antiquated status quo," says the New York-based musician. "One of the best things about a dance event is that the focus is on the audience, not the performers."