Mysteryland USA Versus TomorrowWorld | Compare The Festivals
Mysteryland USA, was the second foray into the American festival scene for organizers ID&T. Their first festival in the US took place last September in Chatahoochee Hills, a beautiful suburb of Atlanta. When ID&T announced that they would bring Mysteryland to the US, there was never ANY doubt among fans of electronic dance music, that the festival was going to be a very special event. After all, Mysterland is the longest running electronic dance music festival in the world. Of course it would make sense to bring the festival to America, given the inclusive culture of dance music, electronic music has been on meteoric rise over the last couple of years.Several DJs have won Grammy Awards and been at the forefront of multiple “Pop” hits!
As a member of the Fiesta Frog team, I had the AMAZING opportunity to attend both TomorrowWorld, ID&T’s festival in Georgia, and Mysteryland USA at Bethel Woods…you know, the site of “The” Woodstock.
The question that everyone asked me when I got home on Monday night…which 21+ festival was better?
According to the Daily News, about 20,000 festival-goers made their way up to Bethel Woods for the inaugural Mysteryland USA. As the organizers intended, the festival was a smaller, more intimate, gathering of fans. The goal with this festival, keeping to its European roots, was to highlight established acts and to showcase some of the new talent that is making noise in the EDM community. A positive aspect of the smaller space was that you could quickly navigate from one stage to the next, it wasn’t a huge hassle to catch multiple djs playing during the same time slot because you could make it from the furthest stages to the main stage without much of a hassle.
TomorrowWorld 2013 was MASSIVE. After the three day festival was over, rougly 140,000 people had come to Georgia for the experience of ID&T’s first US festival. As one of those people, I can say that the festival surely didn’t disappoint…there was something for everyone. For this festival, over 8,000-acres of land was rented out in order to create an entirely new world for attendees! At times it could be a little overbearing to run over from a side stage to the main stage for a set you’d like to see, after exhausting yourself dancing on an opposite side of the festival.
The music at Mysteryland USA was an interesting mix of established DJs, that you’d find included in almost any successful festival’s lineup, as well as up-and-comers that I’d never seen, or heard of, before. Several acts made their US festival debuts, and I came into contact with genres that I wouldn’t typically listen to. For instance, I dropped by the Q-Dance stage to hear some Hardcore EDM. The sound of which reminds me of a cross between 90s Hip-hop, Juke — a famous Chicago style, and a bit of rock and roll. I especially enjoyed the fact that many of the DJs at the Q-Dance stage employed the help of an MC. The combination of a live vocalist helped keep the energy at a very high level, something you desperately need…when you’re jumping around to the Hardcore sound.
TomorrowWorld brought out all the stops, in terms of a musical lineup. This festival definitely made great use of the space, there was very little overlap of sounds between stages. It was easy to immerse yourself in a particular sound without interference from the other music being played nearby.
TomorrowWorld 2013 was a fun experience, it was exciting to be part of the first group of people to attend the American version of this festival! What was really interesting was that it’s the first 21+ festivals that I’d ever been to. As I expected, the crowd was a little more controlled than you’d find at a 18+ event, but you probably already figured that too. Of course, there were still people that got out-of-hand but that’s gonna happen no matter what event you’re at.
During the performances you’d notice that you were part of a MASSIVE swell of people who were sharing the experience. Yes you’d run into people that like your costume, or those that just wanted to make new friends, but for the most part who you were didn’t matter. It was easy to lose yourself in the crowd, or lose your friends. Even doing that wasn’t so bad, there were SO many people there that you’d find new ones shortly.
Mysteryland USA took place on the site of the original Woodstock Festival, a fact that wasn’t lost on the fans nor the DJs that performed. Did it have a noticeable effect on the festival? Yes, it did. The truth is that the conditions on Saturday weren’t the best, it was on-and-off raining during the early part of the day. You could see that some people weren’t very happy with this, but instead of letting it effect the entire day, large groups flocked to the stages that were under tents, or to the relaxation area where you could chill out for a while, until the next break in the rain. When I got a chance to put my camera down, and hang out at the main stage during one of the mini-storms, I noticed that, although I saw people running between tents, the people at the main stage weren’t leaving because of the storm. I think that a lot of us didn’t want to leave the area because we weren’t willing to run from the rain and miss out on something awesome and historic. That’s the ghost that hung over the entire weekend, “Is this going to turn into Woodstock?”
Ultimately it didn’t turn into Woodstock, , but it was cool to be around a smaller crowd of people at each stage — they were still pretty packed — that really wanted to be at each stage. The fans were there for the music, everything else came second. It’s definitely a festival to check out next year!