Top: Love it or hate it, Epic Stage is for EDM. Photo: Thapphawut Parinyapariwat
For those who chase bliss dancing till dawn, Bangkok’s free-wheeling nightlife has been in a state of decline.
With fewer clubland sanctuaries to feel bass aggression, push deep house frontiers, trip through techno or just slam EDM all night without fear of a raid, hundreds of nighthawks headed to the hills this past weekend to the first Mystic Valley Festival.
It was basically a Bangkok club night without the hassles of Bangkok held three hours northeast in a pleasantly scrubby if dusty patch of forest near Khao Yai National Park.
Given the kingdom’s proliferation of Big Music Fests, it made sense that electronic dance music would get its own, and for its first year, Mystic Valley was relatively well organized.
Sets began and ended mostly on schedule, the eight stages were thoughtfully designed for their target audiences, and things mostly went off as expected. That’s probably to be expected since the organizers were folks from places such as Levels and Live RCA.
If you cannot do with less than Wonderfruit-level production values, then you might not be fully impressed. But fine, you can just go to Wonderfuit in two weeks.
The biggest thing missing was more people. There was space for four times as many people, but enough bodies packed in to make for some energy and people-watching. Crowd definitely more farang than Thai.
Predictably, one-in-two attendees swarmed the EDM arena, while the other tribes channeled out to claim stages from trap to trance. Nearly everyone there induced a state of ecstasy or otherwise, so tribal conflict isn’t a bother.
Organizers deserve credit for knowing their music and drawing on reliable talent both local and imported, putting 80 local DJs into rotation with about 50 international talents all headlined by the likes of Sven Vath, Sander Van Doorn and Fedde Le Grand.
Maybe they’ll do it again. Here are some pics. For more nightlife coverage, read our Notes from the Underground column.