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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Festival garners praise, revenue

By Dan Hust  - staff writer

BETHEL — A variety of officials and businesspeople say Mysteryland's Memorial Day Weekend was a success, and they hope it returns next year.
“This crowd was very well-behaved,” said Sullivan County Public Safety/Emergency Management Commissioner Dick Martinkovic, who counted 15 different states among the license plates in Bethel Woods' parking lots on Saturday.
“I'm very impressed with how Mysteryland managed the property,” he added, also giving credit to the police, security and emergency medical personnel who ensured an event free of major injuries or traffic tie-ups.
Around 15 potential attendees were arrested for drugs/DWI en route to Mysteryland, while the State Police indicated only two were made on site.
Martinkovic said drug “amnesty” boxes were utilized by some of the 20,000 people who enjoyed Mysteryland Saturday and Sunday.
“I think Sullivan County should be proud this group came here,” he remarked.

And spent money here, added Lander's River Trips owner Rick Lander.
“It was a good start to the year,” affirmed Lander, whose two campgrounds and 80 staff catered to nearly 2,000 Mysterylandgoers.
Area gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets also made out well, he said.
“It was a good start for everybody,” Lander nodded, recalling a local convenience store owner who embraced and repeatedly thanked him.
A waitress at a Monticello diner made $200 in tips one evening, related Bethel Town Councilwoman Lillian Hendrickson.
“The gas stations made money,” she added. “The liquor stores made money.”
“There were people 10-deep at the Dollar General [in White Lake],” said Bethel resident and planning board member Susan Brown Otto.
Former town supervisor and current Smallwood resident Allan Scott thanked town leaders during Wednesday's Bethel Town Board meeting, congratulating them and Bethel Woods on “an extremely successful event ... [that] had a tremendous impact on the economy.”
With Rolling V shuttle buses ferrying Lander's campers to Bethel Woods, the roads were remarkably free of heavy traffic, save for a brief backup along 17B in White Lake during everyone's departure Monday afternoon (which wasn't solely from Mysteryland, considering it was the end of the Memorial Day weekend).
“There were no traffic problems at all,” marvelled Bethel Town Supervisor Dan Sturm. “Overall, I was very pleased about the entire weekend, including how Mysteryland was run.”
Like other locals, he was amazed by the laid-back, polite attitude of festivalgoers.
“They just came to have a good time,” said Sturm.
“The people were so fantastic,” agreed Lander, who spent several hours at the festival. “They were clean, well-educated, courteous ... and I think they enjoyed the area and the surroundings.”
Even Sheriff Michael Schiff, whose deputies assisted the State Police, was charmed.
“This was the nicest group of young men and women that I have dealt with at a concert of this size,” he affirmed. “The extensive planning between the Mysteryland promoter, Bethel Woods, public safety and the Town of Bethel was quite evident.”
“I heard all good things about the young people - how everybody just got along,” added Bethel Councilwoman Vicky Vassmer-Simpson, whose late father Art made Vassmer's General Store an icon of the 1969 Woodstock festival.
“It was kind of like listening to my dad's stories about Woodstock.”
* * *
Word is that Mysteryland will be back next year, and possibly the year after that.
Bethel Woods and Mysteryland officials would not confirm whether a contract exists, but they did indicate a return visit is likely once they conduct a formal analysis of how this inaugural version fared.

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