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© IDTOne of Holland's best outdoor festivals celebrated its thirteenth edition on August 26, 2006 at the beautiful former Floriade recreational area. The line-up was massive, the weather was nice and the crowd was gorgeous. Head on in for a full report!

Party: Mystery Land 2006
Location: Haarlemmermeer, Holland
Date: August 26th, 2006
Time: 11:00 - 23:00

Mystery Land has been one of the leading festivals for years now, each time granting tens of thousands of party people the opportunity to rock their socks off once more during the festival season. This time around, the location capacitated no less than 50.000 souls, who were able to visit numerous areas orienting towards a wide range of styles in electronic dance music.

This year's areas: Girls Love DJ's, Sneakerz, Hiphop, Open Air Stage, Cocoon, Rauw, Release Yourself, Dirty Dutch, All Is One, Dave Clarke, PAM, The Blackbox, Q-Dance, KJK, Studio80, Ex Porn Star, Eclipse and the 'secret' Zphere Stage.

After taking quite the early train, we arrived at Mystery Land's doors around 11 o'clock. We were handed a very artistic looking, orderly & compact timetable/plan, so finding our route wasn't too hard. Though we had a whole day in front of us, it just wasn't possible to visit every stage and get a good look at it without spoiling our overall experience, so instead we made a selection of the stages we thought would be nice, judging from the line-ups.
The search for lockers to put coats in took half an hour (seems like we missed them when entering), but it did enable us to get to see the whole festival area for a first time. The location itself is quite the beautiful one: it's basically a forest and attached a recreational area, surrounded by and filled with smaller and bigger lakes, lots of colourful gardens and an uncountable amount of benches to just relax on. The whole thing breathed a fairy-tale like atmosphere: entertainers in the weirdest suits were present everywhere, with the decoration in the forest filled with signs that had (mostly funny) sayings on them.

A well-deserved coffee break geared us up for the first set of the day in the Eclipse tent: future hero Sander van Doorn was doing his thing here, spinning a set filled with some of his own productions, some other techy numbers and even some more uplifting stuff. Sander's own remixes for Armin van Buuren 'Control Freak' and Arctic Monkeys 'Sun Goes Down' came by, as well as Terry Ferminal's rocking tune 'Nymph', Preach's 'Broken Inside' AvB's latest single 'Love You More' and 'Rogue' by Re:Locate. The tent in which all this happened looked quite nice: the ceiling was covered with stars in multiple colours, but the coolest thing was the way in which the speakers were set up. They weren't your usual 'black boxes', but instead they were integrated into what in some way looked like a huge ass ventilation system. Kind of hard to explain in words, so here's a pic that shows it a bit better:

Mark Norman took over the decks about an hour later, so we thought it'd be a nice time to go and check out one of the other areas. Our walk again showcased the beauty of the location: we went by small lakes and a few bridges, and even a hill which was mown and polished to look like this ancient pyramid. It had two stages on top of it, which were reachable by stairs. Dave Clarke's tent was situated right next to this, so we decided to go and check out that area first. Alan Simms was jamming out some deep house/techno here, followed up by John Lord Fonda who was to perform an hour-long liveact. The decoration of this tent was of the more industrial type; big metal things hung from the ceiling in circles, with some slightly reflecting panels behind the DJ booth to complete the picture.

While it wasn't too crowded yet at the early hours of the festival, the people that were there already really showed they were up for it. After doing our best to dance around a bit on Simms' tunes, we thought it'd be a good idea to go and check out the pyramid. And boy, was that a good idea! Standing on top of the thing really gave a great overview of (half of) the festival area, which is shown beneath.

As said, on top of the pyramid there were two stages: the Black Box and a 'secret' Zphere stage. As you might have noticed already from the name, the first one was filled with harsh hardcore beats. I don't like this type of music too much, but I must admit that the atmosphere in the building really reflected the type of music that was being played there: inside, it was very dark and smokey, which of course totally corresponds with the pure nature of hardcore. We didn't stay here for long, and started making our way back down to the main path.
If you check out the last posted photo above, you'll see that the main path led straight into the woods. First of all, we decided to go and see the Open Air Stage, which has always been quite the decorational spectacle. This year, it was no different: the whole stage was made up of a shiny, colourful castle which seems to have been taken straight from another coasily told fairy tale. Monte La Rue jammed out his tunes there, and it seems like people were enjoying it 'cause the place was filling up in no-time.

Yoji Biomehanika closed off Trance Energy 2005 with a huge blast, as did Scot Project during this year's edition. They performed an exclusive back2back set at the immense Q-Dance stage, which was definitely one of the highlights of the festival. At first, Scot Project was doing his thing all alone, and to great effect. He spun loads of harsh, raw tunes, including a massive remix of Marco V's 'False Light'. The stage itself looked right-on amazing: it looked like a huge symmetric wall with towers in it every now and then, decorated with purple flags, and the DJ booth right in the middle. Truly one of the coolest stages I've ever seen! Check it out:

Madman from Japan Yoji suddenly appeared from a raising platform, making mad gestures like we're used to from him. He started playing B2B with Scot, playing tunes like Bart Claessen's 'When Morning Comes' and his massive own 'Samurai' which still kicks ass like no other. As you can see from the above pictures, the field was filled with thousands and thousands of people already: I heard that the total capacity of this stage alone was no less than 15.000 souls, so it was quite the impressive sight from up above. As the Q-Dance stage was adjacent to the hill, turning around 180 degrees resulted in some more wicked snapshots from the Black Box and Zphere stages plus a bungee-jump area:

Our stomachs started asking for food, so we left the Q-Dance area and got ourselves some french fries. A positive thing to note here is that the same coins were used for both good and drinks, which means no hassling with different coins all the time. Speaking of food, there was quite the variety available: the usual stuff like sandwiches, hamburgers, fries and fresh fruit was there of course, but the cool thing was that there were also quite a few 'foreign' snacks to get. Thai Chicken, noodles, wraps, you name it, they had it!

As it was already past 4 then, we decided to hop back into the woods and check out some of the stages near the Open Air Stage. The Rauw stage was packed with beautiful people, so we got ourselves a spot somewhere in the middle and checked out what was going on there. Didn't take us longer than a few seconds to find out, because Felix Da Housecat was totally blowing the roof up there! He had just started his 3-hour set, and he did an a-ma-zing job. Literally everyonein the tent was going berzerk, throwing their arms in the air all the time with the brightest smiles on their faces. Felix spun a very energetic set, filled with badass basslines, cool remixes of old rock songs (think 'Sweet Dreams') etcetera. While some might say his choice of records was a bit cheesy here and there, this was made totally redundant by the way the crowd reactes on the tunes. Definitely one of the best experiences of the day! The Rauw tent itself had a DJ booth which you could walk and dance all the way around, which really put the DJ right in the middle of everything.

We stayed in the Rauw area for an hour longer, after which we thought it'd be a nice time to go see Sven Väth's Cocoon area. After all the previous mania we were quite energetic, but adjusting to the spacy, deep techno that was being played by Steve Bug was quite hard. This tent was decorated rather nicely: huge warped traffic signs surrounded the dancefloor, with a big round lamp-like thing handing from the ceiling right in the middle. The lighting here accompanied the music greatly, giving the whole thing a mysterious, gloomy feel:

Quarter past six meant the start of one of the highlights of the day: an hour-long liveset by Dutchman living in LA, Tom Holkenborg aka Junkie XL. His new album 'Today' has been sitting in my CD player for a long, long time now, being a fantastic collection of dance music, breakbeat tracks and some beautiful ballads. Junkie XL is often called a 'one-man band', a thing which he certainly proved again while doing his liveset. He started off with his famous remix of 'Red Pill Blue Pill', which got the crowd going in no-time. Of course, he also showcased a few tunes from 'Today': the self-titled single 'Today' was played, as well as the massive breakbeat tune 'Mushroom' and the guitar-loaded banger 'I've Got A Xerox To Copy'. Junkie XL's contemporary music is an amazing combination of EDM and lots of influences from rock, working out to great extent during this live-act as well. A great Junkie XL remix of a tune by Editors called 'Camera' was one of the last tunes played, being a typical yet very well produced interpretation of the original rather slow song.

Richie Hawtin took over the wheels after this, pumping out the music he's known for: minimal techno. We'd already had our portion of techno for the day so decided to give our feet some rest, sit down a bit and have some more food. Meanwhile, we ran into the Studio 80 stage, which featured relatively unknown yet very promising artists. It's a shame there weren't too many people there, because the bands and DJ's that were there really stood out. I saw some crazy live-acts with live drums, synths and electronic guitars, quality stuff!
Recharged again, it was time to give the Mystery Land terrain a last good look before we went to close the day where we started it: the Eclipse tent. While walking there, the sun was going down, which resulted in some more cool shots:

Nic Chagall (one half of Cosmic Gate) spun quite the nice set, filled with tunes like his own 'Monday Bar', the massive new Cosmic Gate 'Should Have Known' and 'Life Less Ordinary' by Alex MORPH & Rank 1. Our feet were getting tired, so we hung around here for one more hour to catch a bit of Marcel Woods too. He opened with Steve Angello's 'Teasing Mr. Charlie', but started spinning his distinct tech trance not much later.
As we had to catch an early train to get back home in time, we weren't able to see the fireworks and the lasers at the Open Air and Q-Dance stages, so unfortunately I can't tell you about that.

All in all, Mystery Land 2006 was an amazing experience. While it had rained constantly the preceding day, the weather was quite good with temperatures around 20 degrees and the sun shining through the clouds most of the time. The festival is too big to get a good feel of all the stages, but that's not that much of a problem since the party feeling is there in every corner of the area, of course.
ID&T have put a lot of feeling in the decoration of the areas. As the name of the festival implies, the whole thing breathed a slighly mysterious, yet very comfortable happy feeling, which was being expressed using cool entertainment, a good organisation and a superb line-up.
If you haven't yet visited Mystery Land, definitely go and have a look next year 'cause it's something you can't miss!
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