Posted May 15th, 2015 (3:06 pm) by Matt Felten
Image by Pearcey Proper
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A trendsetting underground music purveyor and now the owner of one of New York's most cutting-edge dance clubs, Verboten will be curating multiple stages at this year's Mysteryland USA on the storied grounds of Woodstock '69. We had the opportunity to ask a few questions to Verboten's Production Director Michael Roche about the organization, their events, and what we can expect from the juggernaut party planners for the festival and beyond.

Why did you choose the name “Verboten?” How does it represent the essence of the club and the organization overall?

Verboten is the German word for “forbidden.” It came about during a darker time in NYC clubbing when politicians and police were cracking down on NYC nightlife, putting dance music back into the underground. It’s also sort of a tongue-in-cheek call-to-arms to clubbers and dance music fans to remind them that “Nothing is forbidden.” We love hedonistic decadence with a backbone of customer service.

Are there any challenges you expect in moving from a club to a festival setting?

There’s always challenges when you throw an event in a new environment, but the opportunity to take parts of what we do at the club and expand it to the festival setting is a wonderful way to bring in new fans and give something back to our regulars. At the end of the day, it’s about the music and the atmosphere, if you can provide both of those the party will come.

What qualities make an artist worthy of performing on one of Verboten's stages?

Artists who are hungry for MORE. Most of the artists working with Verboten want to have a part at creating the atmosphere in addition to the music being played - from the sound and lights to decor and costumes, they want to make sure the event is memorable and gives something extra to the partygoer. I love working with artists with a vision and it’s up to us to translate that vision into something tangible.

How will you draw in attendees who may not be familiar with the artists performing at Verboten events?

The brilliant part of festivals is the opportunity to catch new acts and artists along with your favorites all in one place, but we also believe that having special food menus and catering nearby, costumed performers and graffiti artists throughout the grounds, and early deep house yoga events will draw new people to these areas and convince them to stay or return to check our our areas again.

Why are your events, such as Flying Circus and Subversions, important to the Mysteryland experience?

Something truly special happens when you have a group of artists all working under one banner or theme. I’m excited about Subversions and Flying Circus for the distinct atmospheres they create - taking cues from the history of classic parties through the years, from Mancuso’s Loft and the ‘90s raves or a tripped out circus set in a tent straight out of the 1940s, they truly set themselves apart - it’ll be exciting to see the festival goers reactions.

With Mysteryland being held on the grounds of Woodstock '69, how will Verboten's stages help the festival live up to the legendary Woodstock name?

There’s still something basic and transcendent in a gathering of diverse groups of people with a shared love of music, dancing and the celebration of life. At the end of the day it’s still about peace, love and music, right? I hope all we add to the festival only amplifies that thinking.

How will Verboten stay relevant in the years to come?

All we can do is stay as music-forward as possible, celebrating our roots in the culture through diversity and reinvention while giving the best customer service people have grown to expect.

Image by Joey Timmer

Verboten will be curating 5 events at this year's Mysteryland (May 22-25), including Verboten (hosted by Thump), Flying Circus, Subversions presented by Matthew Dear, Zeitgeist, and French Express presented by Zeitgeist.

Tickets for the festival are still available on Mysteryland's website. Check out the Mysteryland 2015 trailer below, the set times here, and make sure to keep an eye out for our in-depth festival review!

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