Festival Review: Lightning in a Bottle Blows Our Minds Once Again – ‘Till Next Time, LIB
Over 20,000 people mobbed to the Central California town of Bradley to dance away their Memorial Day Weekend at The Do Lab’s Lightning in a Bottle music & arts festival. Self-proclaimed to celebrate art, music, performance, sustainability and life, LIB can only be described as the most magical 3 – or 4 if you arrive early enough – days you can find on the west coast.
An LIB veteran myself, having attended the festival this year for the 4th time in 5 years, it is truly amazing to see what The Do Lab has been able to accomplish in this time. After having moved the festival around to 3 venues in this time period, Lake San Antonio has created a breathtaking home – and the bridges built to cross those gnarly ravines that scatter the festival grounds definitely made for more accessible late night exploring.
With only 200 tickets left as the festival gates opened on Thursday, LIB did sell out come Saturday morning – LIB wristbands were sold for either entire weekend or 2-day passes (Saturday & Sunday). This was the first year that the festival sold out.
For those of you living under a rock, Lightning in a Bottle has grown in to one of the largest transformative festivals – featuring more than just music, LIB offers varying yoga sessions, speakers & workshops, and interactive art through out each day of the festival. One of the biggest must-sees for the weekend – especially for those who have never been to Burning Man – was the “Lost Tea Party” from Wreckage International.
Kicking off the festivities on Thursday night with an ‘80s Prom Night-themed dance party at the Pagoda Bar (costume contest included); the weekend was off to a killer start. Call me biased, but those ‘80s tunes remixed LIB-style could have kept the crowd dancing all night.
LIB’s main stage – The Lightning Stage – hosted headliners Odesza, SBTRKT, Tycho and Flume. One thing I have to say about Flume – this show blew everyone away. One of the more main stream artists of the festival with so much recent radio play, Flume was able to really captivate the eclectic audience and create a set that was true to what this particular festival crowd loves. LIB veteran performers Lucent Dossier Experience wowed everyone with their acrobatics and William Close & The Earth Harp Collective’s performance via a harp whose strings travel over the audience is beyond enchanting – this year and every year.
Lightning in a Bottle also debuted its Thunder Stage, replacing the Bamboo Stage from previous years. Otherwise known as “Big Fish” after an appearance at Coachella 2015, the structure allowed for more shade – a must for festival goers after last year’s heat wave. Personal favorites for their amazing beats at the Thunder this weekend include Griz, TastyTreat, Lindsay Lowend, The Opiuo Band, Snakehips, Hermitude and RL Grime. The Thunder Stage enclosed so much bass for each set that you could literally feel the vibration through your body if you were standing under the massive shade structure – I mean, what more can you ask for?
Not enough amazing things can be said about the LIB tree house known as the Woogie Stage. Always a crowd favorite, the Woogie has a personality of its own, playing deep house throughout the day and night. If you ever need a boost during a 3-day raging event, a place like the Woogie is where you need to go. Thomas Jack and BAKERMAT back to back on Friday kept me dancing for 4 hours straight – yes, that’s two 2-hour sets. Closing out the weekend with Fur Coat and John Digweed, the Woogie proved to never disappoint, and left us wishing for more Woogie in our lives.
Rumors of a Woogie Weekend have been floating around since Lightning in a Bottle wristbands were mailed out in April with a teaser flyer, and further confirmation has been made that The Do Lab will be returning to the beloved Oak Canyon Park in Silverado, CA in July. A whole weekend based around the most infamous of Do Lab stages? Count us in.
Overall, LIB again proves to be a life changing event. Thank you Lightning in a Bottle for another extraordinary adventure through your magical grounds – see you next year.