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Camping permits for 7,500; Electronic music festival headed for Bethel Woods

By Fritz Mayer
October 2, 2013

Mysteryland is billed as “The world’s longest-running electronic music festival,” and next year the event, which was created in the Netherlands 20 years ago, is having a North American premier in May, and is set to take place at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

The every-night event will take place during Memorial Day weekend from May 23 to May 26. Both Bethel Woods and the Mysteryland promoters are advertising the spectacle on their websites, and it’s being treated as a significant development at Bethel Woods.

The website information says, in part, “Promoters from all over the world have been trying for decades to convince the owners of the Bethel Woods site to host large-scale festivals in this special spot. After a year of talks, ID&T (the company that created Mysteryland) has finally won approval for the first U.S. edition of Mysteryland, which is also held annually in the Netherlands and Chile.

“We chose ID&T’s Mysteryland brand as the first modern-era festival on the hallowed grounds for its belief in many of the same principles as our own organization—creativity, unity, social responsibility and a focus on the ‘experience’ of the guest,” said Darlene Fedun, CEO of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

In the Netherlands, the event in August sold 60,000 tickets; the organizers expect the event at Bethel Woods next year will have far fewer participants. Dan Sturm, the supervisor of the Town of Bethel, said Bethel Woods recently began the process of applying for the permits they may need for the event.

Sturm said that, as part of the project, Bethel Woods is seeking a permit to accommodate 7,500 campers. The camping would not take place on the parcels that house the pavilion, but on a separate parcel owned by the organization. Also, he said, the performance will take place not in the pavilion, or on the original Woodstock field, but on another field. He said the number of people at the event itself would not be more than about 20,000.

An American freelance writer who attended the 2012 Mysteryland event in the Netherlands wrote about the experience for a website called Do Androids Dance (doandroidsdance.com). Identified only as Tyler D., he wrote, “With 60,000 people in attendance, 1,700 staff members, 10 stages, and more overlapping talent to leave us all feeling horrible and privileged simultaneously, there was rarely a dull moment from the moment the doors opened to the final fireworks show.”