I’m pretty excited to have developed this little routine where I write one recap of a festival’s music, and another of the logistics. Bands and DJs aside, all the little details that go into a festival day or weekend can really make or break the experience and I love geeking out and comparing and contrasting how well – or poorly – planned I find the festivals to be. So let’s take a look at Mysteryland, shall we? Using the same categories as I used for my Voodoo post. (Check out the ML music recap over here).
Basically no line! I love getting right in and not waiting forever just for the opportunity to have someone put their hands all over me. This part was really nice too – they did a cursory bag check and a very non-invasive pat down and we were off! I hate walking into festivals and feeling violated (looking at you, Electric Zoo) so this was pretty nice.
What I’ve realized about electronic music festivals, or just regular EDM shows in general, is that everyone is either the best person or the worst person. You have fratty bros in neon tanktops who can’t handle their alcohol and are completely obnoxious, and on the other end of the spectrum, you have the laid back hippie types who are friendly and fun. The fact that Mysteryland happens on the same weekend as the Electric Daisy Carnival means that all the terrible people flock to EDC, because there’s nothing a bro loves more than progressive house or trance music. As a festival more geared towards livetronica (instruments!) and funk/soul, Mysteryland attracts all the awesome people. This was the first time in 3 years that I didn’t go to EDC and let me tell you – I didn’t miss it one bit.
The Fun Stuff
Mysteryland had so much fun stuff! They had a swings ride, a larger-than-life mouse trap game demonstration, and art galore. There were plenty of photo ops, like a swing made out of teddy bears or this giant guy right next to it!
Oh, did you want to pose with your TV family? You can do that, too.
I completely missed this part, but there was apparently also a super zen healing garden with peaceful music and lots of little teepees. I was busy watching an amazing Brooklyn band Savoy, so…next year!
When I saw the water situation I was really skeptical. Instead of the massive booths with workers operating 10+ fast-moving spigots, there were some water fountains situated near some of the bathroom areas, as well as “real” sinks where you could wash your hands or fill up bottles. I anticipated that the lines to fill up water bottles in those fountains would be out of control by the end of the day. Yet somehow, they weren’t. Making it difficult to get free water is one of the worst things a festival can do. Good job, ML! I’m sorry I didn’t have faith in you.
I love small festivals! Any festival where you can walk from one end to the other in 15 minutes or less is okay by me. Though we didn’t camp at Mysteryland, my camping friends told me that the walk from the campgrounds was pretty short as well, which isn’t common. Love that. Keeping things small means less wear on your aching feet, and a greater ability to bounce back and forth between stages without missing too much music.
We rented a car and drove there and back in the same day which worked out well but was exhausting. ML also provides shuttles from the city and local airports, which is nice, if you get to buy a ticket before they sell out, which we did not. Driving is really the main transpo option here. Parking was a piece of cake.
Not gonna lie, ML tickets were wayyyy too expensive for what it was. I initially was supposed to camp at ML for the entire weekend, but realized that $360 was nowhere near worth it for a 2 day festival (most are 3 days and cheaper than this), so I sold my camping ticket and went for the 1 day instead. 1 day tickets were also pretty pricey, but as I mentioned in my other Mysteryland post, my group got severely discounted last minute tickets and it was faaaantastic.
Another thing I’ll say about money is that Mysteryland was a cashless festival, which means you had to load money onto your wristband. Other festivals are forthcoming about the fees involved, saying that if you load $20 onto your wristband you’ll get $18 (or whatever amount) to use. ML tried to hide the fees by giving you 9 “Birdie Bucks” for every $20, and hoping that you wouldn’t try to determine how much that actually was since it wasn’t a one-to-one conversion. Spoiler alert: you still lost money. Things seem cheaper in Birdie Bucks but $9 is still probably only equivalent to 16-18 “real” dollars.
Also, any money left over on your wristband gets credited back to your card, minus a $5 fee. So between loading money and getting the extra back, you basically had to pay 2 separate fees just to be able to purchase food or drinks.
I hate cashless festivals.
Overall though, Mysteryland was one of my favorite festivals and I can’t wait to go back next year. Woohoo!