Lightning In a Bottle: capturing something powerful or elusive and then being able to use it and show it to the world.
Lightning In a Bottle is a celebration of Art, Music, Performance, Sustainability and Life. It takes place annually on May 24th-28th at the Oak Canyon Ranch in Silverado, CA.
Fiction? It is not. (as told by Kaitlyn McKeown/Intergalactic Sunflower)
“Thursday: I picked up my friend from LAX (came all the way from NYC for LIB!) and we hurried to beat traffic to middle-of-nowhere Silverado, CA for Lightning in a Bottle, a 3-day music festival produced by the Do Lab. We got wristbanded and drove into the festival with little hassle. At one point we (or maybe just I) grew a little nervous of a car search approaching. However, the police-looking figure in the distance turned out to be a woman dressed in dominatrix attire (obviously). Our fears were put to rest. We flashed our wristbands and proceeded to park the car. After a few trips back and forth, we pitched our tent, greeted our friends, and were ready to party. A few drinks later, we explored the entirety of the festival grounds, upstairs and downstairs. “Downstairs” there were 3 stages: the Lightning Stage, Bamboo Stage, and Woogie Stage. The Lightning Stage consisted of a grand front of lit wooden pillar-like structures and big screens. The Bamboo Stage was, as you would expect, composed of large pieces of bamboo and colorful red and purple fabric. These were the main stages where the more well-known artists performed. The underground music resided at our favorite stage, the Woogie Stage, which was a triangular assemblage of dark wood and yellow, purple, and blue stretched fabric and featured the most boomtastic speakers, Funktion-Ones. In the Lightning Stage/Bamboo Stage area canvases were set up on the grass around the “fishing hole,” waiting to be transformed into pieces of art. Throughout the duration of the festival, artists painted intently while others gazed over their shoulders. There were also tents of artwork and a little shopping area filled with vendors selling what everyone was wearing (“playa gear”). “Upstairs” consisted mainly of yoga-esque tents and setups and possessed a scenic walk of the entire festival and lake. When we returned to the RV site “downstairs”, our friend blew our minds with some video remixing on his 15 x 5 ft screen before we retired to the tent to rest up for the legendary weekend we were about to embark on.
Friday: We woke up Friday morning and decided first things first: shower, caffeinate, and take care of all responsibilities that wouldn’t be possible to accomplish starting in a few hours. In the course of these errands we also picked up epic breakfast burritos and feasted on them back at the RV site. We headed to the Woogie stage where we danced with our friends and then decided to wander (there was so much to look at!). We dillydallied around till we headed to the Lightning Stage to watch Lynx. She amazed us with her guitar, drum, and insane beatboxing skills. Oh yea, she also belted out some serious vocals as well. In summation, Lynx is extremely talented at every musical talent she possesses. After Lynx, the sun set and several colorful, glowing structures emerged, transforming the festival into a magical wonderland at night. We danced around to Gramatik at the Bamboo stage, were very impressed with the first ever performance by Wilderbe (a dancing/video/music-synced experience), and got weird with Shpongle. Both Wilderbe and Shpongle had some amazingly psychedelic visuals. Then we headed back to the Woogie stage to meet up with our friends to see Justin Martin. By the end, our feet were achy and our bodies tuckered out from a fun-filled day.
Saturday: We headed “upstairs” to the outdoor showers we were advised to use by our wise friends at the RV site. After waiting an hour on line watching a group of people do yoga and hum in harmony, we enjoyed spectacular outdoor showers with the warmth of the sun beating down on us. It was a beautiful day. We laid in the grass at the Bamboo Stage and watched everyone playing around us in big metal balls, on stilts, with hula hoops, and juggling batons. There were parents playing with their kids and mainly adults playing LIKE kids. After rejuvenating our bodies from the previous day, we followed our friends clad in big, poofy princess dresses to Bluetech for his sunset performance with Amazon voice—very powerful. We decided to meander afterwards, during which we met an 8-foot robot and a glowing red dragon propelled through the air by about 20 people, struggled with some wishy-washy straws, and caught a fun little performance at the general store. Then I insisted we NEEDED (or I wanted) to get to the Lightning Stage for Eoto. I don’t know how to describe Eoto other than JUST RIDICULOUS. These guys know how to produce awesome music loaded with driven beats and trippy sounds. They rocked out on several instruments to prerecorded loops and were encased inside a trippy lotus. We were in such awe; we didn’t know what to do with ourselves the entire set. At the conclusion of Eoto, we realized it had developed into a frigid cold night, so we decided to grab some layers before Lucent Dossier Experience went on next. When we got back to the Lightning Stage, we couldn’t tell if they had just gone on or if we had missed a lot of the show, but it seemed like an extremely short performance, albeit a great one. From cocoon/webby things hanging from the top of the stage, acrobats appeared and a weird dance ensued. We then headed to the Woogie Stage where we were disappointed to find the music had ended. But nearby, a cool wooden structure with cut-out holes assembled by other festival goers enclosed a DJ that had the crowd pulsating inside. It drew us in. When you looked up, people were crawling like monkeys on the outside of the structure peering in at us getting down to the music. We wandered around to some other campers’ dance parties and then headed back to home base to rest up for the final day of LIB.
Sunday: After the amazing experience we had at the outdoor showers the previous day, we made it a mission to do it again. Unfortunately not all the showers were open this time, so the line was extra long. But fortunately we had brought molmosas with us and drank them in line, which kept us entertained. Afterwards, we went back to my car to charge phones and nap in the AC and then headed to the Woogie stage. Before getting started we ate pineapple quesadillas with strawberry hot sauce and the best hummus ever. We relaxed and grubbed in the Jerry Garcia lounge (a plush spot comprised of an airbed with blankets and pillows shaded by tapestries) before proceeding to dance refueled. We caught the end of Jeremy Sole and then our lives were changed by Pumpkin. The happiest set of music blessed our ears starting when Pumpkin launched into a cover of “Lovely Day” MC’ed by one of our new friends. Bubbles, jellyfishes, umbrellas, weirdness, sun, and upbeat music—we were in a state of pure bliss. Afterwards, we floated around the campgrounds and lake prior to heading to Idiot Savant at the Woogie stage with our friends and a big red chair in tow. After an awesome dance party and bouncing time in the big red chair, we journeyed over to Bassnectar at the Lightning Stage. Bassnectar commenced with an incredible bass sound which rumbled our bones. But within 10 minutes of starting, the sound system went out. So we decided to go check out the artwork people were painting throughout the duration of the festival, which were all put on display in one spot that night. We picked out our favorite and headed back for Nick Warren at the Woogie stage (we had to end our LIB experience at our beloved stage with Funktion-One speakers). We danced till we could no longer dance and then crashed in our tent where the good vibrations continued.
Monday: The intense 8 am sun turned our tent into a sauna and prompted us to go feast on breakfast burritos before retiring to the grass to relax in the shade. Music was playing on the small “Star Wars” stage (a recreation of the vehicle from the Jabba the Hut race scene) and people were dancing. Eventually we got up and decided to pack up to head back and get some rest before I had to get up at 5:30 am the next day to face reality (ugh). Our friend was DJing when we got back to the RV site, so we woogied a little more. Then our other friend, the tent master, taught us how to roll up our tent properly and we packed up the car. We said our goodbyes and thank yous to our new-found, amazing, friends, picked up some fruit, and hit the road home.
IN SUMMARY: LIB was a fucking ridiculous, amazing, awesome, insane experience. We lived on watermelon juice, coconut water, acai bowls, breakfast burritos, and coffee surrounded by beautiful scenery, inspiring artwork, extraordinary music and wonderful people. Unlike other mainstream music festivals that I’ve attended this was pure freedom. They didn’t forbid hula hoops or CamelBaks (ahem, Coachella), but allowed everyone to bring whatever they desired (and do whatever they desired), including beautiful, artistic creations, cultivating a landscape and atmosphere of playfulness, fun, and liberation. IT WAS JUST RIDICULOUS.”
Music festivals today have become mainstream (nonetheless fun) and a dime a dozen. It’s not often you read/hear about a festival that beats to the sound of it own drums (and other instruments). When something as wubbulously weird, wonderful, and wow-tastic comes to town make sure to join the circus!