BETHEL, N.Y. — More than 20,000 people were expected in Sullivan County for what organizers say is the oldest electronic music festival in the world.
People from every corner of the country and the world came to Bethel Woods, the original site of Woodstock to recreate their own version of the iconic 1969 festival. They said Mysteryland USA was a once in a lifetime experience, simply too good to miss.
"I skipped my graduation to be here," said a Rochester Institute of Technology graduate.
"I feel like I'm going to be like old and in a rocking chair telling my kids I was at the first Mysteryland in the U.S.," said Erek Washington, a local teen from the nearby Middletown.
"As I walk through the campgrounds, you actually wouldn't know it was 2014," said Darlene Fedun, CEO of Bethel Woods.
This is the first time in 40 years local officials have allowed people to camp on the grounds and the first time the electronic music festival Mysteryland USA was held in the United States.
UK band Lets Be Friends created the official theme song for the event, a remix of Jefferson Airplane's 1967 song White Rabbit.
"It's a legendary place. We've been waiting so long for this gig. We are musicians. It's not even if it's about electronic or rock," said Oren Emmanuel of Lets Be Friends.
"This place touched so many people but more importantly, I think it touched history," said John Ford of Lets Be Friends.
Some even used the occasion to get married.
"I wanted to be surrounded by positive vibes and positive people and there's no better place than Mysteryland USA to do that," said Steven Arthur, visiting from Buffalo.
The costumes: out of this world. The art: futuristic. The music could be heard radiating from multiple stages.
But don't just write it off as some hippie event. Lets Be Friends said the festival, the genre and the people are more about unity than anything else.
"It's beyond amazing. The whole point of what we are trying to do is create unity. The dance music is only really the medium in which we communicate between the crowd," said Ford.
Many said they hope this festival happens in Bethel again next year and are happy to have the bragging rights to have been at the original Mysteryland USA Festival.