The hidden gem that is the boutique Mystic Garden Festival returns in 2018 to bring a wondrous festival experience like no other in the only way they know how. Mystic Garden, which in it’s first year was known as Secret Garden is the brainchild of Tania Davison. Ahead of the sold out festival next week on 16th June she kindly allotted some of her precious time away from the final stages of planning to explain her background, the festival concept and visions for the future.
It’s a pleasure to have you talk with us about Mystic Garden Festival. As the festival owner and programmer could you firstly tell me a little about your background? Have you always been involved in events? “Thank you” Tania replied “It’s an honour to be speaking with you. My background is actually as a classical violinist. I was playing with the orchestras in The Netherlands when I discovered my love for electronic music. My husband and business partner, Coen van Dongen, is also a huge fan and we would go to these events together. We loved it so much, in fact, that we even bought an electric violin for me and we started performing as a DJ duo (Ceno & Symphonics) at techno events, including the Chateau Techno stage at Dance Valley. It was a lot of fun, but the life of a performing artist team is not what we wanted, so we decided to switch our focus to the other side of the business- organising the events.” What made you sure it was the right time and you were ready to launch your own festival?
“We weren’t actually sure that it was the right time. It just sort of happened on its own. We’d organised the first Mystic Garden event in 2012 (the first year we’d called it ‘Secret Garden’ before changing it over ‘Mystic Garden’ in 2013) for 1700 people and since then it’s just grown on its own organically to what it is now.” The Netherlands and specially Amsterdam is a hotbed for electronic music festivals.”
Were you not concerned about how saturated the market already is?
“It wasn’t really a concern, to be honest. We really were not looking at what other people were doing- we just wanted to do our own thing. We believe in the Mystic Garden concept. Luckily a whole lot of other people do as well haha.” – Tania replied.
When the average festival goer looks through all the summer events on offer and planning their festivals for the season many factors are considered, do you stay in your home country, travel abroad, compare line-ups, are there acts or DJs playing who they have never seen before? I bet there are not many who consider the hard work and planning behind the organisation for these event before they could even go ahead. Could you talk through the challenges in planning the first Mystic Garden compared to the experience you have now gained leading up to this year. There was a lot of learning curves I’m sure? Tania went on to explain –
“Sure. I think the biggest challenge for us were all the hurdles that you run into when asking for a licence and permits to organise an event like this. The local governments are often such large entities that they (unintentionally) make things unnecessarily very difficult for producers/promoters like ourselves. But we’ve learned how to deal with it and how best to streamline our communications lottery and make life as easy as possible for as many people as possible.”
And could you also explain the Mystic Garden experience for anybody who is not familiar with what the concept of the festival is about? “The Mystic Garden is a paradise where time has no meaning. It is a place where people can discover the Magic of an enchanted secret place where life and music and creativity come together for one glorious day to remind us of how life should cherished at every moment!” We try to give people a “vacation” away form reality and from every-day life; a trip into a mysterious happy land where guests can let their “inner child” out to play.
Sloterpark is also the site used for Loveland Festival. What makes this park in Amsterdam a perfect location? “The Sloterpark is fantastic. It’s in Amsterdam and it’s gorgeous. The park lends itself perfectly to our concept.” So, we’ve covered your background, challenges in events organisation, the concept and location. Let’s now talk about the programming? Mystic Garden is predominantly a house and techno festival. When curating the line-ups what are the main factors for you to consider? “We always book artists that we like to listen to ourselves. We like to place new upcoming artists with loads of talent alongside the bigger names. We hope that our guests can discover new artists and music that they would not otherwise have listened to or hear of.”
One of those artists is John Digweed who will be performing on Stage II. Is he a personal favourite of yours? How much of an influence has he been on you and your passion within the industry? Tania replied in enthusiasm – “John Digweed has been a favourite artist of mine for years! He always gives a great performance.”
It’s only fair we now talk about the rest of your team who make the festival possible? Who are your supportive, hardworking co-workers and what are their roles and responsibilities?
“My biggest hero in the world is my husband and business partner, Coen van Dongen. He is a production genius- from the planning of the fences to driving around on a tractor himself, he’s just amazing. His enthusiasm is the pillar that our business is built on and his vision continues to inspire me every day”.
And what are your future ambitions for Mystic Garden? “We hope to continue to take our guests on a Mystic journey for many years to come. We hope to be able to intensify that experience as we grow as an organisation”. It’s been great catching up with you Tania. Thank you for your insight behind such a wonderful concept you bring to us all. Is there anything you would like to add? “Yes! Come to Mystic Garden and experience our vision for yourself.”
Decoded Radio hosted by Luke Brancaccio presents Mystic Garden Festival with Nakadia.
01. Joseph Ashworth – Carmine [Elements]
02. John Monkman – Return to Bamboo Forest [LNOE]
03. Benun & Healey – Ishtar [white label]
04. Luna Semara – Blackwash [Herzblut Recordings]
05. Luke Brancaccio & Simon Berry – Close Your Eyes [Bedrock]
06. Booka Shade – Black Crystal (Wes Wieland mix) [Blaufield Music]
07. Energy 52 – Cafe Del Mar (Tale Of Us mix) [Renaissance]
08. Maceo Plex – Mutant Disco [Correspondent]
09. Matador – Air [Rukus]
10. Luke Brancaccio & Simon Berry VS John Digweed & Nick Muir – Close Your Eyes [Bedrock]
01. ARTBAT – Wall (Original Mix) [JOOF Recordings]
02. Dave Seaman – Virgo Ryzin (Audiojack Remix) [KNM]
03. Fairmont – You’re Already There (Original Mix) [My Favorite Robot Records]
04. Alfred Heinrichs – Dreamcatcher (The YellowHeads Remix) [Kuukou Records]
05. Ismael Rivas – Full Moon (D-Formation Remix) [New Violence Records]
06. Joonas L – Zinn Soldat (Original Mix) [Cyborgs In Love]
07. Jay Lumen – Asteroid (Original Mix) [Footwork]
08. Quivver, Cristoph – In Name Only (Original Mix) [Selador]
09. TNTS – Night Vision (Original Mix) [Natura Viva]
10. Enrico Sangiuliano – Cosmic Ratio [Drumcode]
11. Willscape – Lasting Moments (Original Mix) [deviant]
12. Circle Sky – The Light (Patrice BÃ¤umel Remix) [BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited]
01/06: Midnight Express FM: 4pm-6pmm CST (GMT-6) www.midnightexpressfm.com
03/06: Tempo Radio (Red Stream): 10pm-12am CST (GMT-6) www.tempo-radio.com
04/06: Mio Radio: 3pm-5pm UTC (GMT+2) www.mioradio.net
05/06: Studio Lux FM: 11pm-1am CEST (GMT+1) www.studioluxfm.com
05/06: Soundtrip: www.soundtrip.gr
06/06: Nube Music: 4pm-6pm ART (GMT-3) www.nube-music.com
07/06: Casafonda: 10pm-12am GMT www.casafondaradio.com
07/06: Radio Bondi FM: 1pm AEDT (GMT+11) www.bondifm.com.au
07/06: Krafted Radio: 10pm-12am GMT www.krafted.co.uk/radio
08/06: Danceradio.ca: 6am-8pm EDT (GMT-4) www.danceradio.ca
09/06: STROM:KRAFT radio (Electronic Channel): 11pm-1am CET (GMT+1) www.stromkraftradio.fm
09/06: Deep London: TBA www.deeplondon.org
14/06: Casafonda: 10pm-12am GMT www.casafondaradio.com
14/06: Radio Bondi FM: 1pm AEDT (GMT+11) www.bondifm.com.au
14/06: Krafted Radio: 10pm-12am GMT www.krafted.co.uk/radio
On rotation: Inside My House Radio www.insidemyhouseradio.com
Full show will be uploaded to Decoded Magazine Soundcloud from 16th June.