Over the span of five days in central California something remarkable and magnificent happened. From May 21-25, over 20,000 individuals came together to create and participate in what is known as Lightning in a Bottle. Lightning in a Bottle (LiB) is a transformational festival, incorporating music, art, workshops, speakers and more into something so unique and refreshing. Brought to you by The Do Lab who brings their vibes to festivals from Coachella to Boom, LiB has made San Antonio Recreation Area its home for the second year in a row.

As a first time LiB attendee I will be honest, I was a little skeptical on what the five days would bring me. Stories from life changing experiences, to a new outlook on life, left me unsure of what LiB really would all be about. I have attended a handful of festivals in my lifetime, each time learning and experiencing something new. However, Lightning in a Bottle has left the most positive and drastic imprint on my life thus far.

When we first arrived close to Lake Perris, we saw a line at least 2-3 miles long of cars, all of whom were out dancing and socializing, immediately sharing their beauty within to the strangers around them instead of dreading the wait into the festival. At that very moment I already knew this was going to be my favorite event to date. The Do Lab has carefully mastered what it takes to create a festival unlike any other while still appealing to the masses, making this year their biggest year yet with a 33% increase in ticket sales. Every second inside the festival grounds was so captivating and every attendee, performer, and staff member did an exquisite job of making you feel at home.  After what turned out to be some of the best five days of my life, I took time to reflect on what really made this festival so important and established a list of 5 key things.

When you leave the festival, don't let the festival leave you 

Lightning in a Bottle embraces uniqueness while breaking the social norms to create a place of comfort for all individuals who attend. Throughout the five days you have the opportunity to learn so much at LiB. From workshops to speakers, or even the festival goers around you, everyone has an important story to share and tell. During your time at LiB, a blanket of support and utopia surrounds you at all times, creating an atmosphere unlike any other. However, after any festival it is easy to forget what you learn especially as you head back into the busy life of the "real world". What I learned that was most important is to not let the "real world" control the world you want to live in. Don't allow yourself to forget all of those important lessons you learned during the five days just because you are no longer surrounded by the beauty of it. Not every person in the world will get to experience LiB the way you did, but you do have the special opportunity to share what you learned and the memories you made with others, bringing even a little bit of that happiness you found into their lives.

It's a marathon, not a sprint

Most people haven't experienced anything like Lightning in a Bottle before, and no matter how many festivals you have attended, LiB provides you with something I have never participated in before. Unlike festivals who end at a certain time, there is always something going on in the LiB grounds. From Amori's to 7am Silent Disco's, there is a part of the festival grounds that is always awake. However, 4-5 days is a long time to be wearing your body out, so remember that it is a marathon not a sprint. Treat your body as well as you can, always remember to be healthy and hydrated. Get some sleep, but make sure you do give your time to explore some of the hidden treasures that surround you.

It's about more than just the music

Lightning in a Bottle brought fans one of the most anticipated lineups of the summer. From Odesza, Flume, Thomas Jack and more there was a plethora of music to please everyones musical needs. At night the stages creep with anticipation for some of the best sets to date, however there is so much more to the festival than just the lineup. The Lucent Dossier Experience combines music, dance, aerialists and more to bring you a show unique to its own. Or you can take the time to watch speakers on topics from Bob Marley to the Language of Touch and more. There is a wide variety of workshops as well, making it easily appealing to everyone attending. Not a huge yoga fan? Try Fuck Yeah Yoga or Ecstatic Dance to loosen your mind body and spirit with a twist. Anything from interactive art, The Grand Artique and more, there is definitely something for everyone who attends.

Enjoy the sunsets and appreciate the sunrises

Lightning in a Bottle is placed on numerous peninsulas on the bed of Lake Perris, giving a beautiful view to guests.  The sunsets were some of the most beautiful things I experienced at the festival (besides the immaculate art work scattered around the festival), and taking the time to sit and watch the sun with friends both new and old created a soothing feeling in the midst of a bustling festival. The peninsulas allow those who wish to sit on the rocks and over look the sun as it creeps behind the trees, setting the festival from day to night, as the stages and moon now light the festival grounds.  Also, even though it is remarkably early, nothing beats the sunrises, especially during morning yoga. For at least one day, try to make it out to a sunrise and give thanks to the earth and the beauty around you that blessed you with yet another day of magic and memories to come.

Self reliability is key 

I had the opportunity to sit in on a Q&A with festival creators Dede Flemming and Dream Rockwell, who shared their journey's and experiences and explained to us how them along with The Do Lab and Lightning in a Bottle got to where it is today. One important part that they continued to reiterate is the idea of reliability and responsibility. For being an all ages festival, LiB was definitely the most mature and respectful festivals I have been to yet. The idea of taking care of your body, and keeping an eye out for those around you provided a much safer festival than I could have ever imagined. While LiB is a zero drug tolerance festival, creators still did their part of establishing reduction and safety instead of total prevention by partnering up with DanceSafe and the Zendo Project. By taking responsibility for your own actions, whether it be recycling your items, respecting the space of others and more, Lightning in a Bottle created a euphoric atmosphere for all in attendance. It teaches you the idea of self-love, while maintaining the love you have for others.

Everyone, whether inside the festival grounds or not has a story to tell, and LiB teaches you to take the time to explore those stories. Bringing in tickets sales from roughly 45 countries, it was beautiful to see the cultural and language barriers shatter as individuals came together as one. With the most intimate of vibes, the dusty festival grounds left you with a new outlook on the satisfaction of life, and how life really should be enjoyed, not just lived. The vivid memories, acquired life long friends, an obsession with newly found artists and more, Lightning in a Bottle continues year after year to bring individuals a place of enlightenment and security.

Even though the magic of Lightning in a Bottle has come to an end, The Do Lab is going back to Oak Canyon Park for three days of camping, music and more as it brings you its first-ever Woogie Weekend.  With a 48 hour sale starting this Saturday at 10am you have the chance to purchase tickets to inspiration and bliss that The Do Lab so masterfully creates for its attendees. Grab tickets HERE!

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AUTHOR CREDIT: CHEYENNE HAVENS

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