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Mysteryland 2009, Floriade Area, Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands

Mysteryland - photo by Paul Underhill

Mysteryland - photo by Paul Underhill

Mysteryland feels like a peacock on ecstasy chasing you down the rabbit hole. The Glastonbury of European dance festivals, this bold, colourful and gigantic event packs more into one electrifying day than other, lesser dance events would dare explore in their lifetime.

Imagine if Lewis Carroll and Terry Gilliam took Bestival, planted it amongst the waterways of Holland, wrapped it in glorious technicolour and fondled the dream with pinches of multiple dance genres. Imagine the fairytale spawn of Paul Oakenfold and Patrick Wolf at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, quivering to rabid techno. Imagine thousands of Cheshire Cats, sky-high on trance, dubstep, gabba and filthy electro, dancing in fields with themes of Mad Max and fairytales.

MysterylandIt’s hard not to speak of Mysteryland (still virtually unknown in the UK) without dealing in such superlatives. This is a 60,000 capacity, 20 stage sacrifice to the God of dance after all. An über-fest of gigantic proportion with so much joy and energy, so much organisation and conviction, that it makes most UK dance festivals look like a few stalls on the village green. In fact, it’s so big, so colourful and so damn fun that it eventually becomes a strain on not just the eyes and legs but your mind as well, as you marvel at how so much has been squeezed into the tiny space of just 12 hours.
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