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Before even entering the festival grounds at Sloterpark, forest nymphs, ringmasters and a beached mermaid all appeared from behind the gates and snaked their way through the crowds blowing bubbles and saying (what I’m assuming were) nice things in (what I’m assuming was) dutch.
The creatures of Mystic Garden could be found throughout the day in plentiful numbers, with a band of lizard ladies and bubble wizards always keen for a chat or to dish out the odd spanking with a riding crop.
Stages populated each corner of the famous dance music festival, meaning if you were wandering around the centre of the grounds, which were peppered with nifty markets and life saving street food, you would be able to sniff out the general direction of new bangers as they dropped.
Some stages were sheltered by giant tents which managed to reach full capacity as it started to rain later on in the evening, whilst outdoor stages were able to hold onto their massive crowd through the bad weather with the use of smoke machines, stage dancers and really really loud music.
Smaller stages managed to attract herds of permanent devotees who may have been extremely loyal fans of every artist on that line up… or just too inebriated to realise there were other stages.
The festival also generously supplied little hidden games and attractions across the grounds to entertain wandering big kids.
A colossal Twister mat was the first we spotted which had been laid out at the back of a small stage area which seemed to be a temple for gangster rap and trap music. Then there was the giant apparatus near the entrance that was basically a cross between those loop rollercoaster games that were in the doctors when you were a kid and ‘Operation’. The aim was to guide a copper hoop along a course without touching the electrically charged rail, which I don’t think anyone really achieved without getting zapped and spilling their drink.
Even moving from stage to stage felt like an adventure with hidden smoke machines in the forest, wooden spires at the entrance and plush-toy effigies populating every dance floor.
As the night went on and the temperature did begin to drop slightly many took to the hot tubs that sat on a small platform nestled next to a bar and overlooking a pretty amazing body of water that ran along the festival.
Inevitably the day did draw to a close. As the sun finally went down and the mystic creatures underwent metamorphosis; crawling into their ‘crew tent’ cocoon and re-emerging in jeans and a high-vis vest, I knew it was time to go.
From the breathtaking decor to the interactive play things, amazing food, chill out zones, numerous stages and markets – not to mention the mind bending bangers – Mystic Garden Festival is really an escape to another land. You know you cant stay for long but you enjoy the magic while it lasts.
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Words and images by Locke Laurent