Festival rating: 8/10. Mysteryland was my favorite festival in 2016. Yes, I loved it more than Tomorrowland 2016!
Mysteryland is one of those classic, historic dance music festivals that you got to visit at least once if you’re serious about the festival scene. It’s billed as the oldest dance music festival in the Netherlands, since 1993. They also do an edition in Chile and more recently, one in upstate New York. The two-day festival is in late August by the Dutch town of Hoofdorp, and although there’s a camping option, it’s just an easy 30 minutes out from Amsterdam so we commuted there.
Robert, my trusty festival buddy in the Netherlands, and I had originally planned to go on the Sunday. However, on Saturday we both found ourselves without plans on a beautiful sunny day. We also found on Ticketswap that two-day passes were being sold for a cheaper price than one-day passes so we quickly snagged tickets for 68 euros and rolled into the festival.
Woo! We were there and I successfully smuggled in a whole bottle of vodka again with my good old vodka in the back pocket trick. It works 80% of the time and so worth it for the amount of money I’d save. 500ml of vodka = 10 eur; 1 red bull vodka at the festival = 10 eur. My friends think it’s ridiculous that it works, as you can plainly see the bottle sticking out of my pants if you look from behind… But it does!
We had an awesome time there. I love how many genres were represented across the many stages at Mysteryland – even Dutch rap EDM (can’t say I loved it, but it was definitely different)! These are my three favorite things about the festival and what set it apart from other festivals for me.
1. Pillar of Dicks
—- NSFW!!! —-
Soon after we walked into the festival venue, we saw a huge pillar of dicks outside the Milkshake stage. Milkshake is a famous LGBT promoter in the Netherlands. Don’t know why but there was a large display of a couple hundred ticks, measured against various objects like remote controls, pasta sauce bottle, pickles, Pringle containers, and more.
When we wandered into the Milkstage stage, the DJ was SINGING! WHOA! So cool, love it!
2. The Q-Dance Hardstyle stage and the MASSIVE HILL.
The Hardstyle stage was much larger and grander than the Main Stage… Only in the Netherlands!
The Hardstyle stage was MASSIVE. What’s more is that there’s a hill directly facing the stage, which expands the capacity of the stage by a lot as you can sit or stand on the hill and soak in the stage and all its greatness in full view. There’s even a Bungee jumping facility at the top of the hill if you’re so inclined.
One thing though is that the hill is seriously steep. I keep slipping when climbing up and down the hill due to the lack of traction on my shoes.. Ended up having to climb on my hands and knees. I’m surprised I didn’t see more people take a tumble down the hill. As I got drunker throughout the night (due to my aforementioned smuggled vodka), I started to slide down the hill sitting ontop of one of those cardboard six-pack beer holders.
What was hilarious to me is that the Q-Dance stage was much larger and grander than the Main Stage. The Netherlands is the land of Hard Dance indeed!
Plus, the hardstyle stage was so much better produced than the mainstage. Badass Lamb vs. Pretty Hummingbirds? It’s a no contest!
3. The People!
As much as I love techno and hardstyle, for some reason I find it a lot harder to meet new people there. I think techno heads tend to dance alone or in their own friend group, under a spell by the music. And hard dance heads tend to be to preoccupied with their dancing (you might get hit by a flying high kick if you get too close). I wish it had been working out differently for me but this is how it’s been.
However, I find that at mixed-genre festivals, especially where there is mainstream dance music, people are much more open and relaxed about meeting new people. Not only guys but also girls, people in relationships. Some guy danced up to me and said to me, “lekker dansen!” (nice dancing!) then introduced me to his girlfriend. I also had a conversation in Dutch about where I’m from with a couple people (how did I manage that). I thought the crowd was really great at Mysteryland and because of that, I loved the vibes!
LOVED Mysteryland and will definitely go again in 2017.
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