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Mysteryland: Having a Rave Up 

click to enlarge The main stage at Mysterland USA in 2013.
  • The main stage at Mysterland USA in 2013.

It's a month away from Chronogram's annual summer music festival round-up, but after the winter of 2014 we more than deserve a head start on the season. So let's talk about Mysteryland, the Dutch-born electronic music culture and arts festival that makes its US debut at the original Woodstock site Bethel Woods on Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25.

Founded in 1993 by Netherlands concert promoters ID&T, Mysteryland has been cited as the first and longest-running electronic dance music festival in that country and one of the oldest in Europe. Since its inception, Mysteryland's organizers have set their sights abroad, launching a December edition of the event in Chile in 2003 and now a May version in America.

"I'm actually debuting at Mysteryland here in the US, although I did play for many other events from ID&T, like Tomorrowland and Sensation," says DJ Nicky Romero. "It was very high on my list to be playing at this festival. Mysteryland has such a great history and reputation."

Romero is hosting the kickoff on May 23 with Protocol NY Reboot, a pre-party festival-within-a-festival that features artists on his Protocol label: Tritonal, Don Diablo, John Dahlbäck, Vicetone, and Michael Calfan. May 24 includes Romero, Steve Aoki, Showtek, NERVO, Fedde Le Grand, Dyro, and others; May 25 has Kaskade, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, Moby, Dillon Francis, Kill the Noise, Flosstradamus, and many more. In addition to its Main, Boat, and Big Top stages, Mysteryland will host DJ sessions at the festival's spiegeltent and other locations on the Bethel Woods grounds. Also promised is a food court area populated with vendors imported straight from Brooklyn's acclaimed "food flea market," Smorgasburg, and such on-site activities as yoga, meditation, a "Love Chapel," a rodeo, festival library, and live painting by New York street artists.

"[Bethel Woods] has so much cultural and musical history," Romero says. "It's holy ground. And it has inspired so many generations. It is such an honor to be playing here. These outdoor festivals are a bit different. There is always a great vibe amongst the audience and so many great artists are performing, so you really need to stand out. Expectations are very high. So I always try to surprise the crowd by playing special edits of my own music, unique remixes, and quite often I try out new music at a festival. But I always play with a lot of energy and drive."

Mysteryland takes place May 23-25 at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel. The May 23 portion begins at 6pm; May 24's and 25's segments start at 1pm. Camping, hotel, and Airbnb accommodations are available, and shuttles will be on hand to ferry festivalgoers from New York, Philadelphia, and Newark Liberty International Airport. "Festival Survival Kits," featuring a two-person tent, two sleeping bags, and an air mattress, are for sale via the promoters. Check the festival website for ticket prices and more information. Mysteryland.com.

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