The Story Behind The Mammoth, Hand-Painted Stage Diplo Is Playing At Mysteryland

These Trojan horses were five and a half months in the making.

The main stage at Mysteryland might easily be the biggest spectacle of the fest. Not only does the stage serve as the home for big-name DJs like Diplo, Porter Robinson and Dillon Francis, but it's the most monstrous art installation of the event -- each piece of it is hand-painted, taking five and a half months to complete.

If you take a step back and truly get a good look at the thing, like nearly 20,000 people in attendance have, two horses heads jut up above the tree canopy of upstate New York. It's huge. After all, it has to live up to the stages of Mysteryland past -- the towering castle, the larger-than-life grimacing owl -- and it needs a mystery of its own.

Gavin Alaoen/MTV

Porter Robinson

We caught up with Mysteryland brand director Lotte Anna Lebens, who unveiled the secrets behind the menacing stage. She said the structure traveled all the way from Holland, taking four weeks to get across the Atlantic. Dutch artists Dennis van Harten and Tijs and Marisja Smit got the idea from Mysteryland's creative director, and together, they worked on developing the theme -- this year, they took on the myth of the Trojan horse.

Of course, the story of the Trojan horse takes place in Ancient Greece, when the Greeks stuffed a giant wooden horse with an army outside Troy. And when the Trojans thought the Greeks had sailed away, they reeled the horse into city as their trophy. However, overnight, the army jumped out of the horse, taking down Troy.

"If you really break it down and give it a bit of your own spin, which we're allowed to do, it really is about never knowing what to expect," Lebens told MTV News. The "unexpected" is the whole point of Mysteryland, where at one moment you could be in a house of mirrors and at another you could be dancing under a sea of balloons.

"We had the idea for the stage pretty early on," Lebens said. "For five and a half months, it's cutting out all the bits, it's adjusting everything. It needs to be painted, repainted, third layer." From there, they set up the stage in a warehouse, checked to see if everything looked right, and then they packed it all up and sent it to the States. About a week before the festival, they started building the scaffolding.

The whole stage design was only teased a few days before the festival and was even kept a secret from the crew building it -- "We really want to keep the mystery in Mysteryland," Lebens said. The result: two horse heads, one good, one evil, enveloping either side of the stage. "One side is the good, the sweet horse who will protect you through everything, and then the other side is the evil horse that is your inner demon inside of you."

Throughout the weekend, the stage hosts over 240 single pyro shots a day. It blasts confetti out into the crowd and syncs its lighting, video, smoke and fire to the command of the DJs. There are seven flame burn jets, 16 full color lasers and 34 CO2 shoots (and for you A/V nerds, there's 120 moving Mac vipers, 80 Mac color blasts, 40 Atomic 3000s and 50 UV blasts). Add all that to the insanity Diplo will bring, and this Mysteryland will be the fest that you'll never forget.

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