The Rise and Fall of Mysteryland USA
Mysteryland USA was a special kind of festival. Since its inception in 2014 the dance music event which took place on the hallowed site of Woodstock '69 had one of the most unique vibes and community known in the world of festivals. Just this past weekend fans were unfortunately informed that Mysteryland USA would not be returning for a fourth installment even though a full line up had been announced and thousands of tickets had been sold. It was officially canceled, and while no official reason was announced, fans suspect it was because of poor ticket sales, a direct result of a line up which betrayed it's core fan base.
SFX the parent company of ID&T who are the producers of Mysteryland USA went through serious financial troubles in 2016 which eventually resulted in filing for chapter 9. SFX transitioned out of Bankruptcy with a new name, LiveStyle and it was obvious the company was in the business of recouping its losses. It was clear when the line up of Mysteryland USA 2017 was released that LiveStyle wanted to take the festival in a different direction. The festival which had it's heart deep in techno and bass oriented music now featured main stream artists such as rapper G-Eazy and live electronic music pioneers LCD Soundsystem. While both acts are incredibly talented in their own right, this is not what appealed to the hardened core of Mysteryland USA fans. It was an attempt to create a festival that curated more for a Coachella audience rather than for it's obvious fan base. The result was outrage, and in turn low ticket sales.
It showed exactly how out of touch LiveStyle was with its fan base. It is a perfect demonstration of how dance music culture continually rebukes attempts at becoming a corporate entity. In the wake of thousands of disappointed fans, a swirl of rumors, and radio silence the festival took to it's social media to officially announce its cancellation. It was met with widespread disappointment and of course the self righteous fans coming out of the wood work to declare they were in fact ‘not surprised'. In the official Mysteryland USA group on Facebook among promoters posting ticket sales for Electric Zoo and other regional fests, a phoenix rose from the ashes of Mysteryland USA. A fan developed initiative from a specific enclave of Mysteryland USA veterans.
The Lander's River Community Comes Together
Lander's River is a camp site located just miles from the festival grounds in Bethel Woods. It was offered as an official camping option during the debut year of Mysteryland USA to help with the massive demand for camping that official grounds were not able meet. What developed that initial year at Lander's was a community that would become an outspoken advocate for the unique bonds that Mysteryland was able to create. Lander's was a more relaxed camping option that offered a beautiful river to float, less crowded grounds, and of course much more relaxed security than on-site camping. The following year's Mysteryland continued to offer Lander's as an off site camping option as the owner's of the campsite welcomed back the Nomads (the given name for Mysteryland veterans) with open arms.
Over the years the Lander's crew grew closer and soon a community within a community formed. Mysteryland USA has been canceled for 2017, and while no official announcement has been made regarding the future of Mysteryland USA we have to imagine that the festival has held its final edition. It seemed wrong to let the festival which brought thousands together, created relationships, marriages, EVEN children to just die a silent death. That is at least what the Lander's community believed. In just a few short days since the official cancellation a few dedicated members of the Lander's crew banded together to create a small scale, fan funded festival at Lander's River Camping Grounds. The owner of Lander's also donated an incredible sum to help the effort happen. Philip Montgomery a full time stage and theme event coordinator who is also a 4 year veteran of both Mysteryland and Lander's was kind enough to us more detail:
“We plan a massive pre-party for Mysteryland at Lander's with a huge stage anyways and we were ready to handle a set amount of people. So we thought if there's no Mysteryland and we already have this massive stage … what's 2 more nights of entertainment! When Mysteryland was was done we knew we could expand, so much of what we needed was already in place anyways
Philip and the dedicated family that formed at Lander's over the past three years of Mysteryland decided to expand their pre-party to help celebrate the beauty that was Mysteryland one last time. He announced the decision to go forward with the small scale, fan funded festival in the official Mysteryland USA Facebook Group and the details included:
“HERE'S WHAT WE ARE PROMISING FOR THE FESTIVAL
A realistic tier 2 level headliner TBD
A hand full of smaller name brand DJs
Dozens of Djs and Artist from all over the east coast
* festival Dance music
Black on black hard techno
* full blown filthy trap-a-thon
*small amount of psychedelic hip-hop (no young thug)
*STAGING (professional production quality)
Massive main stage in our hanger
Never daytime stage
A wooded stage
Additional pop-up stages
Themed stages and decorations
Drive-in movie night
Multistory burning effigy
Tour at the wood stock grounds
Arts and yoga
So much more
*CAMPING (1500) limited ticket cap
Individual sites with fire pits
Running water , outlets , indoor bathrooms , hot showers
Camp store ,
ZERO restrictions on What u can bring in
Walking distance to grocery store”
Philip continued in his post to explain that while this is the Lander's community first effort at producing a small scale festival, it will hopefully not be the last. If things go well for this initial celebration then efforts could be increased in years to follow.
“We are looking to plant the seeds for a much larger festival next year and are looking for you to join us this year for OUR year one . Please stay tuned and bear with us!”
The line up to the festival will be announced around the time of May 1st and more details will continue to be announced as the dates get closer. If you are interested in attending this event or just learning more about it you can request to join the group here. We are inspired by this act of creation and dedication from the Lander's River Camping community. We cannot wait to see their initial event and hope the best for all Nomads making their pilgrimage to Bethel Woods to celebrate the spirit of Mysteryland USA.
When a Phoenix becomes to old, it bursts into flames, and from it's ashes rise a bird stronger than the one which gave birth to it through death. Like the paradoxical mystical creature we could be seeing one festival dying in order for it's spiritual successor to be given life and become something more special than anyone could ever anticipate. Remember Nomads – Yesterday is History, Today is a Gift and Tomorrow is a Mystery.