The meeting of the Town of Bethel on May 28 attracted more people than usual as a number of residents came to voice their displeasure over the volume of the amplified music that pulsed over the hills surrounding Bethel Woods Center for the Arts until 2 a.m. over the Memorial Day Weekend.
Even before anyone complained, members of the council acknowledged some people in the town were not happy. Council member Vicky Simpson said “Yes, I did hear complaints about the noise from a few residents, and if Mysteryland were to come back that would be something we would talk about.”
Council member Lillian Hendrickson said, “I got numerous complaints about the noise, I was very happy to find out my house wasn’t exploding when I first heard it.” But she added later, "Mysteryland noise and all... we can work on that, but at least something was brought to the county to bring jobs.”
Supervisor Dan Sturm also said he received complaints some “rather direct and to the point.” He said the “powers that be” had been made aware of the complaints.
During public comment, Pete Hofstee who has a farm near Bethel Woods, said, “This music made my house shake, pictures were falling off the wall.... You’ve got to consider the local people, people heard this five miles away.” He added he had no complaint with other issues such as traffic or that additional people were in the town.
Another resident of the neighborhood, Randy Weinstein, said, “On Saturday night, a picture half the size of that Sullivan County Map [which was hanging on the wall behind the board] fell off my wall, the glass broke, the frame broke. I should have brought it here, but forget the dramatics. The base, we’re all very well aware of, that it must’ve bothered a lot of people, I’m not the only one. But the fireworks on Saturday night, that wasn’t fireworks, that was the Blue Angels breaking the sound barrier over my house.” He then invited officials to spend the next Memorial Day Weekend in his house.
Susan Brown Otto, who said she was speaking as a private resident not as a member of the planning board, said that she had taken an informal poll of some of the businesses in the area, and the response was quite positive. She said, “Pecks in Jeffersonville said they got extra business, the convenience store in Fosterdale, there were people ten deep in the Dollar General store in Bethel.”
Hendrickson noted that a diner in Monticello saw increased business because of the Mysterland event.
Alan Scott, CEO of the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency, congratulated town officials and specifically the Bethel planning board for “an extremely successful event, and one that was “run like clockwork.”
Brian Tampke, the project manager for Mysteryland said, “It took a long time for us to bring the event to the United States and to Bethel Woods. It means a lot to us to be here. What you’re doing right now is as important to us as it is to you guys. We want to take everything you guys say, digest it, and do everything in our ability to operate in a fashion that keeps everybody happy.”
There is a rumor circulating that Mysteryland has a contract with Bethel Woods to hold the event again on Memorial Day Weekend for two more years. Tamke, however, said analysis of the event would have to be completed before that decision is made.