Mysteryland USA returned to Bethel Woods, NY over Memorial Day Weekend for it’s second annual installment. The highly successful return of Mysteryland to the iconic Woodstock grounds brought in 50,000 people. Holy Ground camping was also sold out this year at 10,000 people, a 35% increase from 2014. On Saturday, attendees were invited to submit photos and videos via Snapchat to “Our Mysteryland Story.” Broadcasted to over 100 million monthly users, app users tuned in to watch the stream. With perfect 70 degree weather under a cloudless sky during the day, anxious festivalgoers were ready to see what acts like Empire of the Sun, Porter Robinson, Bro Safari, and Diplo had in store. Here are the top 5 sets from the weekend:
5. Empire of the Sun – Saturday, 11:45-12:45am, Main Stage
Empire of the Sun came out strong Saturday night, to say the least. The fully equipped band was accompanied by four futuristic mesmerizing dancers who spun into each song with a different outfit through the performance. The out-of-this-world visuals made this a very engaging experience and certainly one of the most entertaining performances of the weekend. Although it was one of the shorter sets of the weekend, their performance had the crowd buzzing to the Aussie’s hit tracks such as “Alive,” “Walking On A Dream,” and “We Are the People.”
4. ETC!ETC! – Sunday, 6:50-8:15pm, Boat Stage
Ready for the festival crowds after releasing his BBC Radio 1 mix a few weeks ago, ETC!ETC! had the crowd vibin’ early to Sam Smith vs. RL Grime ft What So Not “Tell Me Latch (VINNIE Mash).” Mixing, mashing, and executing different genres in his set, like dubtep favorite “Decisions” by Borgore and old school tune “We Will Rock You” by Queen, ETC!ETC!’s set had the rowdiest crowd of the day.
3. Madeon – Saturday, 6:50-8:20pm, Main Stage
Having the most unpredictable set of the weekend, Madeon really proved to the crowds he’s more than just a 20 year old producer with nerdy, electronic music. With this being my 2nd time seeing Madeon in a month, I fully expected for him to play most of his tracks from his new Adventure album along with other popish, feel god music that makes you feel giddy from head to toe (real talk: “Pay No Mind” is my feel good, guilty pleasure track). To my surprise, this set was nothing short of amazing. All my expectations of what he would have the crowd bumping to were immediately thrown out the window when he dropped Far Too Loud’s remix of “Wild” by Snails & Antiserum. His set featured more dubstep and moombahton than I anticipated. From Dillon Francis’ “Not Butter” to RL Grime’s “Scylla,” Madeon’s set had me raging really hard throughout the entire set. Well done!
2. Bro Safari – Sunday, 10:30-11:45pm, Boat Stage
When Bro Safari took the stage, the atmosphere suddenly shifted. Bro Safari is my favorite producer and though that may make this review slightly biased, you can believe me when I say it is for good reason. With an endless supply of high energy bass, downtempo moombahton, and heavy drops, Bro Safari and his right hand man MC Sharpness graced the decks of the Boat Stage Sunday night to keep the party going. The defining moment when I realized Bro Safari’s set would be a top set of the weekend was when he dropped Dillon Francis and DJ Snake’s “Get Low (Trollphace Remix).” Although it was only the beginning of his set, the crowd went insane. The people jumping and thrashing on the upper deck of the Boat Stage were going so hard, I literally thought the stage would collapse. Dat 808 is mighty powerful. Also a plus for fans, his wife was there not only for support, but to throw Bro Safari merchandise in the crowd during the set.
1. Gent & Jawns – Sunday, 3:50-5:15pm, Boat Stage
With so many high profile names performing at Mysteryland, let’s not forget about the artists who contribute so much to the scene but aren’t as well known as some of the bigger names. With that being said, Washington DC native Billy the Gent and Richmond, Virginia native Long Jawns are undoubtedly the two most underrated trap producers in the dance music scene. After developing solo careers as DJs and producers, the two teamed up to become an unstopped duo known as Gent and Jawns. Starting off with Knife Party’s half head-banging, half club banger “Boss Mode,” the guys played their original tracks along with remixes from Missy Elliott and Drake. What made this set swoop in and take the cake for best set of Mysteryland? Gent and Jawns not only threw down some dirty tracks for the set, but infused their signature trap style and had smooth transitions that kept the crowd energized.
*Article photos taken by Ashley Marro and Simone Fox. Check out the rest of the photos (taken by Simone Fox) from the weekend here.