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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Mysteryland demystified

Officials: Don't worry about crime, traffic

By Dan Hust - staff writer/columnist

By:
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Ron Hiatt
Former County?Legislator (and Air Force pilot) Ron?Hiatt flew over the Bethel Woods grounds and captured the tents and stages being readied for this weekend’s Mysteryland Festival.
BETHEL — Wondering what Mysteryland will bring to Bethel Woods this weekend?
Join the rest of the county.
But if you're worried about traffic, crime or hooliganism, don't be, say local officials.
True to the sites Woodstock festival roots, this is planned to be one laid-back party - and a tightly-controlled one, at that, even with an estimated 17,500 people a day.
“I'm very confident ...
that the program there should go off very well,” says Dick Martinkovic, Sullivan County's public safety/emergency management commissioner.
In fact, hes so satisfied with the arrangements that his focus will be on the rest of what promises to be a very busy Sullivan County Memorial Day weekend.
“That's my job,” he confirms matter-of-factly.
Mysteryland has 750 employees working the four-day electronic music festival, running from Friday, May 23 to Monday, May 26.
That includes a private security/medical force that will handle on-site issues (though police and emergency workers will also respond, if necessary).
The New York State Police, the Sullivan County Sheriffs Office and the Bethel Town Constabulary will be handling external matters, primarily traffic.
And that may not be anywhere near as challenging as you might imagine.
“We expect a majority of the attendees to be staying put,” relates Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty, who's got around 18 deputies supplementing the two dozen or so troopers that will be stationed around the Bethel area.
While roads right in the vicinity of Bethel Woods - Hurd, West Shore and Best - will be closed temporarily for safety reasons, 17B and other thoroughfares will remain open and moving.
West Shore and the portion of Best next to the camping area will be closed from 8 a.m. May 23 to 6 p.m. May 26, while Hurd from 17B to Bethel Woods will be closed all day May 24 and 25.
(By the way, the Woodstock memorial and historic field will also be closed on May 24 and 25, and the Museum at Bethel Woods is sold out for those two days, so if you're planning a visit, pick another weekend.)
Shuttle buses will be bringing people from as near as Narrowsburg and Monticello and as far away as New York and Philadelphia, further reducing vehicles on the roads.
In fact, Chaboty expects traffic issues to be less than a typical major Bethel Woods concert, since campers will either remain on site for all four days or be bused - and they comprise about half the expected audience.
“Its probably going to be closer to the Phish concert, without the big movement [of people],” he predicts.
The leader of the Liberty barracks of the State Police, Captain Jamie Kaminski, promises his crew will remain focused on traffic flow. Indeed, the State Police is the lead agency for that task.
“Traffic control is very important in a mass gathering like this,” he affirms.
Both the State Police and the Sheriffs Office are being reimbursed by Mysteryland for the extra work involved.
And while visitors will stay on the festival grounds once they arrive, local gas stations and Landers campgrounds will reap the benefits of thousands of travellers.
“Theres an opportunity for businesses, especially in Bethel, to capitalize on a new market,” affirms Bethel Supervisor Dan Sturm, whose town had to sign off on a variety of permits.
Room tax will not be gained on the campsites (which is how it works for any campground in the county, as the beds are only temporary), but sales tax is expected to be collected, which could be significant in a county struggling to increase revenues.
“I do think you're going to see a bump [in the local economy due to Mysteryland],” agrees Roberta Byron-Lockwood, president of the Sullivan County Visitors Association.
“I'm excited,” she adds. “This is the first time its been in the U.S., and I'm anticipating good things.”
“This is big,” nods Sturm, whose daughter will be one of the attendees (all of whom have to be 21 or older).
And at the end of it all, when the last weary partygoers head down Hurd Road Monday afternoon, “Green Teams” will be ensuring all the garbage is cleaned up and trucked away.
“Everything looks good,” says Kaminski. “Bethel Woods is a class act.”
* * *
Wait!
What about next year?
“We have the option to return but of course want to gauge the success of our inaugural festival first,” answers Betty Kang, Mysteryland's public relations director.
“We are looking forward to hosting the American debut of Mysteryland this coming Memorial Day Weekend,” adds Darlene Fedun, CEO of Bethel Woods. “The success of this years festival will determine whether we host in future years. All indications are that it will be a tremendous success.”

Mysteryland
by the numbers
• 17,500 attendees expected each day (though maximum capacity is actually 20,000)
• 9,000 campers - 7,500 along Best Road in Bethel (known as “Holy Ground,” since thats where people camped for the original Woodstock festival in 1969) and 1,500 at Landers River Camping near the Delaware River
• 750 staff
• 200+ DJs, artists and performers (including local acts)
• 4 main stages, outfitted to display pyrotechnics and designed to look like a boat, a school bus, a house of cards and a circus
• 15 beer tents, serving everything from Heineken to Smirnoff (all Mysteryland guests must be 21 or over)
• 11 shipping containers from Holland and Chile (where Mysteryland has a continuing presence)
• 10 minutes of fireworks, starting at 1:50 a.m. on both May 24 and 25
Other interesting facts:
• Mysteryland runs from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, with parking opening at 11 a.m. (Friday and Monday are for campers arrival and departure, with only a pre-party planned Friday evening)
• The on-site camping areas open Friday at 11 a.m. and close Monday at 3 p.m. (only one exit and re-entry allowed per day for campers, none for day-passers)
• In addition to tickets and parking passes, every festivalgoer will be issued a wristband capable of wirelessly interacting with Mysteryland's computer system, allowing guests to check in/out, make purchases and, if necessary, receive refunds in lieu of having to carry cash (and once they leave the festival site, the wristband is deactivated)
• Mysteryland will go on rain or shine, but if winds reach 30 MPH, crews will take precautions with the tent structures (especially the large stages) and will disassemble them if winds hit 40 MPH
• Sustainability initiatives include a recycling program, carpooling options, active energy management, biodegradable serving plates from vendors, free tap water throughout the festival, and a pre-festival volunteering program that saw workers and festivalgoers aiding the Allyson Whitney Memorial 5K run and town gardening efforts
• Guests will receive unlimited amounts of tap water, earplugs, sunscreen and condoms
Thanks to both Betty Kang (Mysteryland's PR Director) and BJ Gettel (Bethel's Code Enforcement Officer) for their help in assembling this list!





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