Why Mysteryland Might Just Be The Best Music Festival In NY

Talia Aroshas
Talia Aroshas is a Capricorn semi vegetarian who obtained her master’s degree in the art of coat checking after four years of intense study at NYC’s mostly highly regarded titty bar. Here, she double majored in high-brow sarcasm, and graduated with honors in pungent irony. As a result, she is fluent in both languages. All coats aside, after two years as Editor in Chief of one of NYC’s leading nightlife blogs, Talia realized her greatest passion to be music and is very excited to be heading 20something’s Create vertical, mostly for the free concert access it will get her. Follow her on Instagram on all her music adventures @gangsta_rap.

The first festival I ever attended was the All That Music And More Festival in 2000 when it stopped by my hometown in South Florida. Being all of 11 years old, I had relatively high hopes, but absolutely no expectations. All I cared about was the vow of live music fulfilled, with bonus points given for a solid viewing spot on the lawn. A youthful, unjaded version of my present self, escaping into a substitute reality came easily, and as LFO and B*Witched took to the stage I did just that. What mattered was the music, what it brought was joy and what it promised was release. In those few moments, my kid cares were gone, my eyes lit up and the world was mine to discover. Corny? Yes. But that’s the beauty of innocence—corny reigns supreme.

And in the 20 something years since, something awful happened: I grew up.

Time passes, life takes its toll, and before you know it you’re the used up, bitter and frustrated adult you promised yourself you would never be. Sure, concerts are great, heck so is Disney World—but they are far from being the magical places they once were. You long for the same sort of fantastical satisfaction, but you’re not quite sure where to find it (assuming a quest to find Narnia is out of the question).

Well, last week, I stumbled upon a bit of that substitute reality. I lost myself in a world of music, by way of a three-day interactive musical experience unlike any other I’ve had before. Although maybe I didn’t really “lose” myself at all—I just found the wide-eyed, joyful 11-year-old version I had so very much missed.


A creative journey of the mind, body, soul and taste buds, Mysteryland is a music festival that stands a cut above the rest, because rather than being just about discovering music, it’s about discovering yourself (and, yes, also, really amazing food).


The scenery:


(Danilo Lewis for Mysteryland)

Situated in the beautiful rolling hills of Bethel Woods, New York, Mysteryland delivers the creative journey it promises attendees by offering an interactive experience far removed from society—both literally and figuratively. Unlike other festivals of its kind, Mysteryland is a destination, and the journey is worth every moment. For three days, festival goers leave the modern world behind (that is if you don’t count all the technology that goes into putting together a festival), and set up camp on “Holy Grounds,” the serene campsite neighboring the festival. With reality far enough away, you are able to truly immerse yourself in the music, culture and wonder.


The lineup:


(Andrew Rauner // @AJR_photos for Mysteryland)

Boasting a lineup of names ranging from the biggest acts in mainstream electronic music, to those up and coming on the indie scene, Mysteryland catered to all tastes, leaving no genre, or subgenre out in the cold. The only dilemma concertgoers faced? Deciding which acts to see, of course. But no matter which stage they chose, attendees were not disappointed.


(tomdoms.com for Mysteryland)

Stand out acts included Empire of the Sun, with stunning visuals and live dancers in tow, Porter Robinson, who, also known for his visuals did not disappoint, Mija, who lit up the Webster Hall stage at 4pm Sunday with the energy of an army, Bro Safari, who I’m listing out of bias and also because their set kicked a**, and, of course, festival closers Dillon Francis and Diplo, who pretty much own EDM.


(Danilo Lewis for Mysteryland)


The Stages:


(Danilo Lewis for Mysteryland)

By featuring nine stages, curated and designed by some of New York’s hottest names in live music and nightlife, Mysteryland presented itself as, essentially, nine festivals in one.


The diverse lineup aside, each stage offered its own unique atmosphere, which kept concert goers on their toes and totally immersed in their musical quest of self-discovery.


The Food:

Oh my god you guys the noms. Never have I ever in my lifetime of festival experiences seen such a dangerously delicious array of eats. All the eats. From burgers to nachos, ice cream to crepes, Mysteryland welcomed some of New York’s most beloved food vendors to festival grounds, advancing the notion that it was so much more than the run-of-the-mill music festival. Because in all seriousness it could have held its own as a food festival, as well.


The Activities:


(Danilo Lewis for Mysteryland)

I nearly lost my shit when I passed the karaoke booth on my way to the main stage on Saturday. “Is this real life?” Yes, yes it was. Not much into singing, but really like the idea of getting super drunk and embarrassing yourself in front of a ton of people you don’t know?

Well, good because they also had mechanical bull riding. Yup. And this, of course, was in addition to the usual carnival type rides that have become staples of music festivals, as well as some bohemian clothing shops. Oh and a ball pit. Because yes.




(Julian Cassady for Mysteryland)



Image Sources:  Facebook