Over this past Memorial Day weekend, a few awesome festivals took place all across the United States. Many traveled to the Big Apple for EDC NY and Mysteryland, and also to Michigan for Detroit's Movement Festival. On the other side of the U.S. though, a very remarkable festival also took place that is undeniably, very different than the rest.
California’s Lightning in a Bottle Festival, which was held over a course of four days, was certainly an experience that all who attended will never forget. From the moment my friends and I stepped foot on the San Antonio Recreation Area, there was an unexplainable feeling of immediate bliss, comfort, and excitement to just… be there together.
It being my second year attending this festival, I thought I knew what to expect. Coming to the event with my soul still buzzing from the experience I had last year, I still can’t believe that The Do LaB has, once again, put together something so phenomenal that it has completely changed my life. All over again.
There are many reasons why LiB stands out from other festivals today, and over the duration of the time I spent there, I was able to explore new things and see what truly makes LiB so special.
If you’ve been on social media in the past few days, have any friends that attended LiB, or like to keep up with festivals, then The Woogie is probably a recognizable name to you. The structure of this stage is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before, and was definitely the most talked about over the weekend. With the DJ booth being set up right in the middle of a giant tree, around a beautifully colored basket-like structure, it’s hard to take your eyes off of it. Not to mention, the rainbow structures that are placed around the stage, called “Eeperts”, that gorgeously lit up once the sun went down. The Woogie stage was home to some of the best names in house and techno over the weekend, who blasted beats through some banging Funktion One speakers. Bob Moses, Fur Coat, and Shiba San had some of the best sets I had the pleasure of dancing to at The Woogie.
One thing that is without a doubt, impossible to ignore, is the atmosphere that this spectacular place carries. Everyone, everywhere, ages old and young, were exerting the most contagious positive energy that I have ever been around at a festival. Just walking around made you feel an automatic shift that flowed through the entire event. Lightning in a Bottle is truly transformational, just by the vibes and ambience that the people that attend bring forth, and influence one another with.
Not only does this festival carry some amazing musical talent, but there are also numerous other forms of talent being sprawled out all around the San Antonio Recreation Area. With many extremely influential speakers coming out to bestow their knowledge from the early morning to the late evening, one had the opportunity to give their ears a rest from the groovy beats. Not only were there dozens of speakers, but there were also many workshops taking place to teach attendees about many subjects that we use, or may use, in our everyday lives. Every type of yoga you can think of took place all day, and every day of the festival. Over the span of four days, I still don’t believe I was able to cover everything to do. There were so many places to walk and explore, it was mind-blowing. This festival has expanded itself to give people the chance to roam and learn more about things they like, and discover new things they may have never even heard of. What a beautiful thing.
LiB’s home, the San Antonio Recreation Area in Bradley, CA, is the perfect place for such a festival. Being surrounded by nothing but land gives LiB the upper hand by being able to fully create a community undistracted by outside influences. No busy streets, buildings, or lights other than the ones coming from the festival itself were to be seen. Sitting on the edge of a hill, watching the sun set over an expansive green field and mountains is an image that is engraved in my memory forever. The weather was perfect this year too- each day being in the 70’s made the heat way more bearable than expected. I couldn’t of asked for a better setting to have such an experience in.
The Do LaB is known for having some of the most unique, awe-inspiring art installations at festivals all over the globe. When they put on a festival of their own, though, the art is one of the greatest aspects of the event that makes LiB what it is. At every stage, there were live painters painting on giant canvases. It was so amazing to see their works of art come to life day after day, and see their paintings progress into a finished piece by the end of the fourth day. Not only were there live painters at the stages, but there were also full art galleries around the festival itself. Gazing at these pieces, each being extremely unique from the next, made me truly appreciate the creativity that each human being holds in their own way. The art installations were superb as well, of course. I could’ve stared at them for hours.
Lightning in a Bottle is a place to be your true self and express creativity, as long as that means your safety, or another's safety, is not being harmed. Since attendees camp INSIDE the actual festival, all are allowed to bring their own drinks, food, stoves, shade structures- basically, anything that will make your experience at LiB more comfortable and in turn, more enjoyable. I saw an array of awesome totems, giant bubble machines, and professional cameras that most festivals would ban attendees from bringing. Looking around and seeing everyone doing their own thing, and having the freedom to do as they please was definitely something that gave the festival a special spark.
From attending the festival last year, there were a few things that I was concerned about for this year. The heat and the giant hills to climb were two things that I needed to be more prepared for this time around. Thankfully, The Do LaB did the preparation for me, and took those matters into their own hands. They made much needed improvements by adding shade to every stage at the festival. They created the stages in such a way that the structure itself provided shade for whatever was under it- which was amazing. Not only that, but they also built bridges in between the hills this year, rather than having last year’s stairs to climb. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that the train of high-fives with every person walking in the separate direction on the bridges was one of the best parts of walking around. The Do LaB really took the attendees concerns into consideration and did what they needed to do to make sure everyone was physically comfortable at their event. The improvements were just the cherry on top of an already phenomenal festival.
Being an avid festival goer for the past five years, I have seen and experienced many festivals. Some I would definitely attend again, and also some that I would not. Regardless, Lightning in a Bottle is one that I will attend again and again… and again. This festival has hit my soul like no other, and I know I’m not the only one. From the bass-booming Woogie stage, to the ambience the festival carries, to the amount of work The Do LaB team puts in to create the best festival experience for each one of us… it is apparent that at LiB, Anything Is Possible. I’m already counting down the days until next year. Thank you, LiB!