If the first US edition of Mysteryland was like the festival's baby steps; this year is when it picks itself up and runs. Taking place over the Memorial Day weekend, May 22-24, the Dutch-born festival will once again descend upon the sunny hills of Bethel Woods, the original site of Woodstock '69. Only this time, everything will be bigger: the crowds, the stages, and the closing ceremonies—both Saturday and Sunday nights will cap off with their own fireworks extravaganzas.
Mysteryland relied on the expertise of New York's top dance music crews like Verboten, Webster Hall, and BangOn! to curate stages, which pretty much guarantees a good ride no matter where you wander. But like all festivals, even the slightest bit of pre-planning pays off big time. So here are the DJs that you should round up your rave squad for.
Beatport Stage | Friday, 12-2AM
On Friday, Richie Hawtin will treat Mysteryland's campers to an intimate set. Although the veteran DJ/producer may have lost some serious-face techno cred after pushing speakers onto his fans and dabbling in art world shenanigans, you still can't deny that he's still dance music royalty. If anything, Hawtin's most recent LP, EX, released under his Plastikman alias, proved that he still got it. Hawtin made his name as the overlord of minimal techno—a cerebral and stripped-down sound that you just couldn't escape in European clubs and warehouses throughout the 90s. Recently, he's also taken to teaching techno classes with his college-touring CNTRL program, which is pretty cute. Oh, and where would Steve Angello and Axwell be without the all-black, V-necked ensembles that Hawtin turned into the DJ uniform?
Beatport Stage | Friday, 9:30-10:30PM
Philadelphia's Josh Wink has a knack for big hits with massive doses of psychedelic weirdness. If you've gone out at all this year, you've probably witnessed what his 2014 tracks, "Are You There" and "Talking To You," can do to a peak-time dancefloor. It's scary. Ditto for "Higher State of Consciousness," Wink's chart-topper from 1995. The Ovum Records founder's sets usually worm their way across the techno, acid house, and breakbeats spectrums, but you should also expect some Kraftwerk and New Order dropped in for good measure. This one's for the heads.
Read: "Crate Expectations: Josh Wink"
The Sound of Q-Dance | Saturday, 9-10:30PM
In case you haven't figured it out yet, hardstyle is the shit. Dutch promoter Q-Dance is one of the biggest names in the game, and spending five minutes in their orange tent will make you feel like you've been kicked in the balls, shot up with adrenaline, and exhilarated to still be alive. Because his sound veers towards the more euphoric end of the spectrum, Amsterdam's Frontliner is a less-stressful entryway into this high-octane world. The soaring synth melody of his 2013 anthem "Weekend Warriors" remains one of the genre's biggest anthems, and a rallying call to throw down some shuffles.
Maya Jane Coles
Beatport Stage | Saturday, 6:30-8:30PM
Maya Jane Coles busted out to the forefront of UK dance music with her hook-laden atmospheric house chunes—Nicki Minaj famously sampled the smoking groove from Coles' "What They Say" on "Truffle Butter." Recently, Coles has taken a turn for the dubby under her Nocturnal Sunshine alias, churning out swampy bass tracks like the excellent "Take Me There." If you like your dance sets dark and moody, Coles is your best bet for a guide to the underworld.
Main Stage | 10PM-11PMOh, Kygo. Beloved by many, and hated by even more, Kygo is one of the most divisive names in dance music. Which is obviously why you've got to check him out for yourself. The Norwegian DJ/producer's formula lies within the chilled-out sounds of tropical house—think Avicii, but with more pan flutes. Although Kygo went from bedroom producer to headliner by slowing down and beach-ifying songs like Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" and Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire," it's the collaborations with Coldplay and Diplo that will keep him at the top. It also helps that he's a favorite among a key demographic: sorority girls.
The Boat | Sunday, 9:45-10:30PM
No one knows why Makonnen is here. The weirdo Internet rapper became a bonafide cultural phenomenon when Drake remixed his ode to weekday raging, "Tuesday." The song even spawned its own catchphrase ("...on a Tuesday"). Still, Makonnen sticks out like a Monday amongst Mysteryland's dance-heavy lineup. But whatever, because Makonnen still rules, and his left-field takes on #sadboy rap will be a welcome breath of fresh air during three days of four-to-the-floor.
Webster Hall | Sunday, 4-5PM
Downtown LA's Mija is living the dream. Last year, she casually "ran into" Skrillex while playing a Burning Man art car at Bonnaroo, and they ended up playing a back-to-back sunrise set. A few months later, she won a mix competition to play the Black Butter Records stage at TomorrowWorld, a move that was like rocket fuel to her already-rising star. Mija's recent mix for us is a good taste of her hybrid style, showing off her ability to flit from hip-hop bangers to piano house tunes to dirty bass numbers with the effortless swag of someone brimming with confidence. Or, as her Facebook puts it, she's just "shredding a tidal wave of whiskey on a surfboard made out of don't care."
Zeitgeist Presents: French Express | Sunday, 6-8PM
Few things go down smoother than French tech-house at sunset. And that's exactly what you'll get from Agoria, an integral member of the French electronic music scene who co-founded the InFiné label and Les Nuits Sonores electronic music festival. The accomplished artist's sumptuous productions are heavily influenced by jazz and Detroit techno—which maybe explains why he's the only white European dude with a track on Underground Resistance.
The Martinez Brothers
Flying Circus | 12-2AM
The Martinez Brothers are two adorable actual-brothers from the Bronx. Their father introduced them to dance music via his love for Paradise Garage—the iconic New York nightclub that Larry Levan presided over. It's hard not to hear traces of the Garage in the Martinez brothers' disco and house-inflected sounds—as well as their commitment to bringing dance music back to its black and Latino heritage. When the brothers started their Tuskegee imprint with Seth Troxler last year, they stressed that the vinyl-only endeavor would be a "label of cultural heritage." Plus, if you need any more incentive to catch this duo, they will be playing in our Circus-themed tent.
Beatport Stage | Sunday, 10-11:30PM
If you've ever listened to Drumcode's radio show, it basically functions as the Bible for blood-pumping European techno, then you already know Swedish DJ/producer Adam Beyer—the man behind both the show and the affiliated label. Drumcode will host their own stage on Sunday, bringing together their techno fam of Ida Engberg (who happens to be Beyer's wifey), Nicole Moudaber, Alan Fitzpatrick and more. But Adam Beyer is, without a doubt, the boss behind the whole operation, which makes him the ideal choice if you're a kickdrum fetishist—or just looking to get turnt.
Michelle Lhooq will be live-tweeting her way through Mysteryland. Follow her on Twitter