Mysteryland Here I Come! Or Was! Or Whatever....

2014 Mysteryland Setting Up

Last fall, while munching a scone in my friend’s cafe, I eavesdropped on a conversation taking place at the table next to me a mere 2” away. The people were impossibly tall, blond, good-looking and Dutch.

“Say, are you guys from the Netherlands?” I asked.

You could’ve heard a pin drop.

“You know Dutch?” asked one. Another said, “Yes, we’re here for Mysteryland.” They flew in from the Netherlands to get the necessary permits for their first US concert to take place on the hallowed grounds of the original 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, a mere three miles from my town.

I introduced them to my friend, Jane, the proprietor of the cafe and a relationship bloomed. As a result, Jane became their top local vendor at the three-day festival this past weekend.

And yours truly attended. Okay, it was in exchange for free labor at her vendor tent. Still, being a budinsky does have its rewards.

The first day, ear plugs and headset firmly in place, I entered her food tent and walked to the front where the line of hipsters snaked down to the center of the outdoors food court. The 20-somethings who worked there, all local kids, took one look at me, exchanged glances and I knew I was doomed.

The most courageous of all said, “Uhm, Maura, do us a favor and stand in the back.”

He should’ve placed live leeches on my face and made me stand in a bucket of ice water with electrodes attached to my genitalia while holding a live wire. No one likes to be told no matter how subtle the message they’re too old and too uncool for a DJ music festival. I spun on my heel and left.

An hour or so later, after walking a dark country lane with no lights, I arrived home. Just like in ’69. That’s when I texted my friend, “No way am I ever going back up there.”

My ego crushed, I realized I invited our mutual friend for the last day. Once again, armed with ear plugs and headphones, I went with her. This time, the 20-somethings were kinder to me, no doubt instructed by Jane to be nice to their elders. Jane, my friend and I walked up and down the place; I had my body rocked by the sound and we explored the nooks and crannies of a festival that invaded my town.

We had loads of good laughs watching the participants.

“I’m sure the first day it was a terrific idea,” said my friend while watching a young girl struggle with a giant stick pole with a humongous horse head at the end. “But by Day Three, it got rather old.”

Jane pointed out, “Look at this - groups of people dance facing stages where there’re no live performers, only DJs pushing buttons.” One DJ in particular, a skeletal guy wearing mutton chops and top hat, lackadaisically gyrated to the music on stage while his fans danced like hellions.

“Now, that’s a performance,” I said. The only thing this concert did was reinforce that I’m O L D.

The sole drawback was that it was way too loud. Loud enough to rattle doors, windows and floors five miles away. Trust me, I suffered as well with my hyperacusis.

While I agree that it wasn’t right or perhaps breaking codes to have such a LOUD experience, I can only blame it on the residents themselves. Should they have attended the tons of town hall meetings including those of business development, then they would’ve been apprised of the ENTIRE situation. The representatives of Mysteryland flew in from the Netherlands in the deep of winter to attend the meetings and submitted all the proper paperwork. The only thing missing was the residents’ attendance.

I should know! I try to make it a point to attend at least one meeting per month over the past five years. Sometimes I can’t because of my hearing and vertigo issues. But I attend, more so than the cabal. In fact, outside of the town board members, clerk and lawyer (totaling seven), there’s usually three to eleven participating residents, normally SPOUSES of these people. Even though I don’t agree with a lot of actions taking place in my town, I highly respect my town board members. They spend at least four evenings a month on top of their other responsibilities engaged in town matters. Unlike the people they represent.

This is what a packed town house meeting looks like:

I’ve tweeted these pics at least 20 times over the past three years!

Not only that, imagine how we must’ve appeared to the Mysteryland representatives, Netherlands' citizens: complacent, docile, apathetic and ignorant Americans who don’t take part in our own civic duties. Democracy has a price tag. Just like Lotto, you gotta be in it to win it.

Which might explain why on a national stage our country spirals downward.

At any rate, several residents are upset about the overpowering sound and want to have a class action lawsuit against the town and Mysteryland. Although I agree that the sound was way too loud, I’m against the lawsuit. Should they have attended the town hall and business development meetings over the past year, they would've had ample opportunity to voice their concerns in advance.

They don’t deserve to sue.

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