After a week long recovery from Lightning in a Bottle in Bradley, CA., I have finally regained the ability to recollect memories from this magical festival without experiencing massive sensory overload and will do my best to give you the scoop on this wonderfully splendid event. This experience was indescribable. The energy and vibe of every single person at this festival was like none other I’ve ever experienced. Warm welcomes greeted us every step of the way from the front gate to our final camping destination. Once my camp was finally set up I ventured out to explore the vast LiB playground.
First stop was the Woogie Stage, where house music reigns supreme and the semi- constant 4 to the floor beat reminds you of a heart’s pulse. Here, you have no choice but to move and sway to the music until you reached a beautifully symbiotic bounce with everyone around you from all walks of life. When the relentless sun finally gave way to the stars, the scorching temperatures dissipated and the woogie transformed into a beautiful glowing gypsy haven.
The Bamboo stage was my favorite stage of the weekend. Bamboo’s lineup blew everyone away with cutting edge sound from all genres. This stage was full of energy from start to finish. Incredible musical bouts from genre bending producers like Ryan Hemsworth, Sweater Beats, Sabo, What So Not, and Cashmere Cat and many others raised the crowd’s energy to spacetime warping next level. The powerful surge of love and unconditional embrace of diversity was positively overwhelming. I have never seen someone legitimately praying to ward off evil spirits during a set… ever. Alas, this is Lightning in a Bottle, a festival like none other. Instead of being shocked or alarmed by the odd ritual, I actually felt more at ease and happy to see someone two decades my elder enjoying the beat-laden sounds of TOKiMONSTA. It makes you realize how truly connected we can become under just a few well pitched chords here and there.
The cou-de-gra and final homage to the overall theme of the festival was the Lightning Stage. Full of eclectic sounds from historical road builders of genres like Moby who took you on a musical roller coaster that time traveled back to the 90s and took us on a journey back to present day. Beats Antique, infused with epic props displays, quirkiness, and mesmerizing belly dancing, wrapped the night up perfectly with a unique hybrid of live instruments and electronic synths. At one point I had to rub my eyes and blink twice to make sure that I wasn’t just imagining the giant Yoshi-like dinosaur that seemed to magically appear on stage. The mind blown look on everyone’s face during their set was absolutely priceless, and perfectly described the whole weekend.
As a virgin to Lightning in a Bottle, I had no idea what to expect and I’ve personally never been involved with the whole “hippie/gypsy lifestyle” whereas most of my friends quickly adopted its sacred tenants. However, after spending a weekend in the empty lake bed turned electrical wonderland, I realized the culture was perfect for an amazing festival: Benevolent, invigorating, positive, and a damn good time. I found myself wrapped in a scarf and sporting a new gold cape in minutes. All in all, this was one of the best festivals I’ve attended, and I tip my hat to the LiB squad. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make it all come to life, and I can’t wait for next year’s adventure!