There’s a special reason why hippies, yogis, and music-lovers waited in a mile-long line in the desert at 6 a.m. on a Thursday morning. Lightning in a Bottle, presented by the Do Lab, held its festival in Bradley, California for the third year this past May. Festival-goers were ready to tune out of the real world and enter the wondrous landscape of a festival all about the positive energy and connectivity between art, music, and friendship. Lightning in a Bottle offered a unique experience for first-timers and veterans alike; stages were reimagined, eclectic activities were boundless, and as for the performances, there was endless excitement for lovers of dance music.
The festival’s main stage, Lightning, was home base for live performances from artists like Chet Faker and Jamie XX. The stage also showcased exotic, avant-garde performances like the Lucent Dossier Experience. For those who came to get down to some bass music, Thunder was the place to be. LED screens, lasers, and light shows created the magic for the stage to come alive. Some of the most memorable sets of the weekend came from Mija, Bleep Bloop, Minnesota b2b G Jones, Eprom, and Mr. Carmack. From dubstep to trap to drum and bass, Thunder provided the beats to become the life of the party. The Woogie, tucked far into the very edge of the festival, acted as the playground for techno-lovers. The stage painted a colorful picture with its bright pillars and wild stage design but maintained the sultry vibe with its deep, underwater-esque techno sounds from artists like Four Tet, Josh Wink, and more.
Lightning in a Bottle is much more than a music festival; the activities and classes offered throughout the weekend are there to personally shape your experience. Yoga and meditation classes were popular choices for those who wanted to relax, while late-night karaoke and giant skee ball brought festival-goers out to play. Keynote speakers shared their wisdom at the Temple of Consciousness throughout the weekend, offering inspirational and informational talks for all. Even for those who kept out of the smoldering sun and stayed at their campsite all day, the uplifting and friendly experience inside the campgrounds surely made an impact on every festival-goer. Smaller stages within the campgrounds, like RevoLounge, allowed campers to never stray too far from their site while still being able to hit up a yoga session or groove to some house music.
For the lovers of all things dance music, Lightning in a Bottle satisfied our needs immensely. On Friday night, Mija threw down a wild set at Thunder; beginning with some high energy trap and house, she got the crowd moving and grooving before hitting us with some heavy drum and bass. Saturday night consisted of Bleep Bloop, giving us a wonky and bass-heavy performance at sunset, and Minnesota b2b G Jones, a truly neck-breaking dubstep experience. The party was far from over on Sunday night during a set by Mr. Carmack; Thunder was absolute madness during his booty-shaking set, complete with festival-goers dancing on stage and packing the outskirts to the brim.
While at times the festival acted as a massive party for us all, that’s not to say that attending Lightning in a Bottle was not a transformative experience. At LIB, there is an immediate camaraderie between absolute strangers; there is a positive, radiant energy that follows each attendee; there is a reminder that we take life a little too seriously at times. Letting loose, having fun, and spreading the love is what Lightning in a Bottle is all about. These memories will follow all of us who shared the experience of this year’s installment of the festival; we can’t wait to see what’s in store for LIB 2017.