It’s finally May, and the transition from spring to summer has begun. With this transition comes the jam packed Memorial Day Weekend, where festivals big and small are bringing their best to provide a variety to cater to any and every type of festival goer. While many have had their plans locked for quite some time, some last minute decisions are being made by people who haven’t decided how they want to spend their weekend. With options out there like Sasquatch and Movement, it’s definitely a tough decision to be made – but there’s one festival that, in my opinion, is unparalleled and has out shined all other Memorial Day Weekend choices. I’m talking about Lightning in a Bottle, put on at Lake San Antonio by none other than festival masterminds Do LaB. What started out as a private birthday party in 2000 has flourished into a full fledged force in the festival circuit. Now, in 2017, Lightning in a Bottle has so much more to offer than your typical music festival – from workshops and seminars to cooking classes and yoga to the very lineup itself, the list of reasons why you should attend Lightning in a Bottle (aka LIB) is exponential, but I narrowed it down to my top 5 favorite reasons below.
LIB’s newest addition to its festival is the re-imagined area of The Compass, a change from what was The Temple of Consciousness and The Village. The Compass serves as a guide to the uncertain and inspirational, offering a diverse array of educational opportunities that, as Do LaB puts it, engage the senses, expand the mind, and inspire community action. The Compass is comprised of seven parts: Beacon (the largest gathering place, a structure which made its debut as this year’s Do LaB stage at Coachella), Landing, Craft, Crossroads, Haven, Cauldron, and Feast. These areas encompass a variety of different subjects, from keynote presentations to planetary activism to food culture to mystical studies, there is no limit to the learning, wonder, and inspiration that is waiting at The Compass.
This will be LIB’s 10th year curating Lightning in a Paintcan, which is a series of live paintings that will occur throughout the weekend in predominant, visible, accessible areas. You’ll be able to walk anywhere within the festival and see an original, hand painted work of art be created from start to finish. Art installations are another huge reason to attend LIB – they range from small interactive pieces to larger-than-life sculptures and architectural wonders. I remember at my first LIB back in 2015, my favorite art installation was the train of mobile tea pots that you could climb up into. We climbed up the ladder and sat inside that tea pot for what seemed like hours, laughing, bobbing to the two very different sounds we heard coming from the Thunder and Lightning stages. In 2016, one of my favorites was the shrine pictured above, where most people would sit under to relax and drink tea, soup, etc. I am beyond ecstatic to see what kind of art pops up this year!
The Interactive Environments & Experiences
Apart from the most obvious interactive experience which is the music, LIB offers a plethora of other interactive environments and experiences to immerse yourself in. On the interactive environment side – there’s the Grand Artique which transports us back to the frontier days, Amori’s Casino & Burlesque which has been called a “must-see” by every single person I know who has gone, Black Rock Observatory (yes, there will be an actual planetary observatory this year!!!), and one of my personal favorites, The Gong Sanctuary, where time moves differently as chimes, gongs, and singing bowls tune your soul, and so much more. As far as interactive experiences go, there’s the LIB Soap Box Derby, the Do-Over Beauty Salon & Barber Shop, Mega Skee Ball, After Dark Karaoke (conveniently and not-so-secretly located in the ditch under the LIBridge), and much more that I can’t even begin to get into. All in all, there’s no shortage of fun to be had in any place at any given time at LIB.
The Musical Diversity
The main driving force for every festival is always its lineup, and LIB blew me away with this year’s installment. With a lineup that is as diverse as it is lengthy, the curators at Do LaB ensured that there will be a sound to tickle everyone’s fancy, no matter your preference. Going for more of the live music vibe? The Lightning Stage will be home to Bonobo, Rufus du Sol, Bob Moses, Jhene Aiko, Big Wild, and many more talented artists that will be gracing this stage throughout the weekend. Are you a lover of all things house and techno? The Woogie will be your haven, with Richie Hawtin, Nic Fanciulli, Monolink, Stephan Bodzin, and many more stepping up to the decks. Are you fiending for some heavy bass? The duly named Thunder Stage will be shaking it up all weekend long with Troyboi, iLL.Gates, Barclay Crenshaw, spacegeishA, and more. Also, sidenote, Bassnectar will be delivering a legendary set at the Lightning Stage as a he returns to play the festival for the first time since 2012. You can’t miss that! In addition to the already massive lineup, many of the aforementioned (and not mentioned) interactive smaller stages have their own musical lineups to provide you with even more variety.
Last, but certainly not least – The Lake!
Ahhhh yes, although the music, art, and community are what makes LIB as special as it is, the crown jewel of this year has to be the lake we will finally be able to experience for the first time since LIB moved to Lake San Antonio. Previous years, the combination of a dry winter season and scorching spring season always left the lake dried up before we could enjoy it. In all the years I’ve attended LIB (2015 and 2016), I’ve never seen any water in the lake. That all changes this year! Thanks to the bountiful rains of this winter, which has also alleviated much of California’s drought, the lake at LIB has become so full that by the time we move in for the weekend there will be a large lake waiting for us! That means swimming, floating, and some good old wet fun in the sun is a go! As someone who has never experienced a lake at any festival ever, I have to stay, I am too stoked to take a dip!
FEATURED PHOTO BY JORGENSEN PHOTOGRAPHY