While not officially part of the check-in process, the will call line was completely non-existent on both days I attended ML this year. Last year my group waited probably 20 or 30 minutes to grab our will call tickets so this was a pleasant surprise, although possibly had something to do with the fact that I didn’t attend the first day of ML, when lines may have been longer.
Security this year seemed to be even more lax than last year, as I didn’t even get a pat down this time. On Sunday, as soon as I passed through security I reached into my bag to grab my phone, and realized that I had a half-full (or half-empty, if you’re feeling cranky) Poland Spring bottle in there that I had forgotten to toss before going in. The fact that security didn’t grab this means the guy wasn’t even doing a half-assed bag check. Though there were rumblings throughout the festival (and I did witness this once) about security randomly choosing people for what was being called a “strip search,” although I think it was more of a thorough TSA-style pat down including the removal of socks and shoes.
Mysteryland had a much higher percentage of terrible people than last year, because in 2015 ML and Electric Daisy Carnival New York were on the same weekend (EDC is a haven for terrible people, but no disrespect because I’ve been to EDC a few times myself and always enjoyed it). So while last year’s festival had only chill hippies, this year it was only partially chill hippies. Despite being a relatively worse crowd, it was still a pretty decent group and I didn’t witness a single awful act of douchebaggery or a single man wearing a tanktop that said, “Party With Sluts,” which seemed to be a popular outfit choice at Electric Zoo last summer.
The Fun Stuff
For occupying a relatively small space, Mysteryland is chock fulla fun stuff! There were so many interactive installations to see, pose with, or walk through. Some repeats from last year included a giant teddy bear or an oversize TV frame that you could take pictures with your crew in. My favorite update for this year, however, was the “car wash.” It was a short, narrow hallway with tons of streamers and fun noodles hanging from the ceiling, and as you walked through it you felt like you were in a car wash (minus the soap and water). When you came through the other side, there was a tiny room bumping house music and you could stop and dance for a few minutes before continuing on your way.
There was some kind of inflatable art maze installation thing that was supposed to be reminiscent of trees? I didn’t get to go in it though because they shut it down on day 3 due to high winds. Womp. I was also a big fan of the fire dome, a giant metal jungle gym which had fire spewing out the top at night. Sitting under it was a good way to keep warm at night and rest your tired legs.
While the water situation was the same as it was last year, the pressure in the water fountains was pretty weak this time around, meaning it took several minutes to fill a water bottle and an eternity to fill a Camelbak. You could miss out on a lot of the festival trying to hydrate.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I LOVE SMALL FESTIVALS. Knowing you were only ever a few minutes away from anywhere you wanted to be was amazing, and really allowed you to maximize your festival time. Time spent walking is time spent not listening to good music.
I got a ride to ML on one day, and the next day I took a shuttle from Grand Central. At almost $90 the shuttle is sort of ridiculously priced, though I didn’t pay for my festival ticket (Jukely to the rescue, as always) so I couldn’t really complain. But if you have a car, that’s clearly the way to go as a parking pass for the day is only $30.
Just like last year, Mysteryland was pretty overpriced, though this year the festival expanded to 3 days so you were getting more for your money. Still, in my 2 years in attendance I have yet to pay even close to face value for tickets, so the cost of this festival didn’t affect me personally. I would absolutely not have paid the $159 being asked for single day passes, which is just insane.
My summer festival plans are still super up in the air, so I’m glad that I at least got one festival in so far. Here’s hoping a few more materialize for the rest of the summer!
Also – is there any detail I’m not covering in my festival recaps? Let me know what you want to hear about!