Written By Madi Hatter Lawton
This past weekend I made the trek from Boulder, Colorado to Bradley, California for the 17th annual Lightning in a Bottle festival. I had only heard great things about the festival, so I went in with pretty high expectations. Going in with my expectations high, I did not expect to be as blown away by the festival as I was. Everything about it was incredibly well done, from the organization at the box office, the organization parking cars, the trash collectors, water stations, everything was exactly as it should be, fast, easy and convenient. It wasn’t the organization alone that made the festival stand out, it was each of the areas went above and beyond in, raising the bar for festivals everywhere.
Their Green Efforts: One of the ways LiB is actively pioneering the festival scene is by their environmental efforts. Lightning in a Bottle was one of the cleanest festivals I have ever had the pleasure of attending, trash was scarce, and attendees were really mindful about picking up after themselves. LiB made it easy to be clean by providing ample trash, recycling and compost bins to help dispose of waste in the most efficient ways possible. Plastic bottles were also banned at the festival, and no vendors sold them so attendees greatly reduced their trash levels by using a reusable water bottle for the duration of the weekend. Another effort that LiB made in making their footprint a little smaller for the weekend was charging cars $30 to park if the person driving it was not carpooling. This not only saved a ton of space on the festival grounds but it also made people think about how wasteful it can be to drive places alone and not carpool with others going to your destination. Another stride that Lib is taking towards being eco-friendly is supplying all of their stages with LED and fluorescent lighting, which is much more effective because they use less energy to operate and last longer than average lightbulbs. The entire festival is also run on biodiesel, a friendlier alternative to gasoline and other natural gasses. The emissions from the biodiesel are processed through carbon offsets, which help capture methane and other gases that are harmful to our ozone layer. There are solar panels that are used to generate energy for the festival, and the phone charging station for attendees is also completely solar generated!
The Art: The art at Lightning in a Bottle was an entire experience in and of itself. Nearly every inch of the festival ground immersed you in an environment exploding with art and creation. The festival grounds were scattered with sculptures, paintings and more. One of the most notable art installations at the festival was the Android Jones 360.Dome Samskara experience. Android Jones is an internationally recognized artist well known in the music scene for collaborating with names like Tipper and Bassnectar. The experience completely immerses viewers in a world of Jones’ psychedelic inspired, three-dimensional, digital art. The show ran every 22 minutes, and it was free to all attendees of the festival. There were many other captivating art pieces throughout the grounds, including the Tall Ship interactive sculptures that allowed attendees to climb all over them and sit on their masts. Another incredible piece was a giant holographic dome in the middle of the market place at the festival. It was a beautiful focal point for the center of the festival and allowed attendees to come up and interact with it by walking through it or taking photos in front of it. Lightning in a Bottle is also a festival that invites live painters to come exhibit their skills at the festival. LiB helps bring these live artists to the forefront of the festival through their Lightning in a Paintcan program, which included having artists paint four giant large wooden panels in the middle of the event.
The Lineup: The musical lineup at Lightning in a Bottle was impeccable, and it had something for everyone. Bassnectar, the American producer hailing from San Francisco California headlined the Lightning Stage. Richie Hawtin, a Canadian producer known for his techno beats headlined The Woogie stage. Other international and local names that graced the lineup included Troyboi from the UK, Rufus Du Sol from Australia, Bonobo from the UK, and Hernan Cattaneo from Argentina. The lineup brought talent from all corners of the globe to contribute to the musical experience at Lightning in a Bottle. The festival also boasted incredible talent through some of the smaller names that graced the lineup. One of the most notable was Pysmbionic, packing out the Thunder Stage mid day and bringing one of the most lively crowds of the weekend. Psymbionic even surprised the crowd by bringing out a special guest, Minnesota, to play back to back with him. Lightning in a Bottle veterans i.ll Gates b2b with Stephan Jacobs also drew quite the crowd with a rowdy dubstep set. The house music at The Woogie stage was amazing and would get you dancing no matter when you went there.
The Stages: The stages were a one of a kind experience at Lightning in a Bottle. There were seven stages that scattered the festival grounds. The four biggest stages were The Lightning Stage, The Thunder Stage, The Woogie, and Grand Artique. The Lightning was the largest stage at the festival, playing host to names like Bassnectar, Bonobo, Rufus Du Sol, and more. It was a masterpiece in light, structure, and sound. The stage was covered by beautiful tan and white fabric which allowed the crowd to stay cool even during the sweltering daytime sets. The sound, which was powered by PK Sound, was so loud it literally rattled you to your core, in a great way! The stage hosted massive Led screen which played the artists visuals on them in larger than life size. The Woogie was fantastic as well, built up from previous years to have a canopy encompassing the entire area, A giant disco ball acted as the center piece for the stage and reflected all of the lights and lasers adding to the house vibes of the stage.
The Food: The food at LiB was absolutely to die for. Everything from pizza, to sushi burritos, grilled cheese, blueberry pancakes and more. You never ran out of delicious and affordable options. Everything was fresh and make in front of you onsite. There were also allergen friendly options for every allergy imaginable. Most of the stands offered gluten free and vegan options, and there a few stands that were 100% vegan food. Coconut Bliss was among the vegan friendly stands, allowing vegans and those with dairy and lactose allergies to cool off with a sweet treat. One of the best things about LiB was the fresh fruit available at the festival. A slice of watermelon cost $1 and an entire carton of strawberries only cost $4. It was refreshing to has the option to buy fresh fruit at a festival, I wish more festivals offered it!
The Crowd: Lightning in a Bottle was filled with all kinds of people. There were burners, bassheads, frat bros, Coachella basics, and everything in between. The crowd was very eclectic, but was one of the best crowds of any festival I have ever been in. Everyone was polite and respectful, and space didn’t get so crowded that you couldn’t move. Neighbors were friendly, and everyone was smiling. Everyone was dressed to the nines and completely added to the festival experience!
All in all Lightning in a Bottle was one of the best festivals I have ever experienced. The festival was so organized and well put together there was absolutely nothing to worry about besides having fun! The festival experience was one of a kind and it should be on everyone's bucket list! The Do Lab DOES IT!