When it comes to music and art festivals, The Do Lab really knows how to give attendees a magical, over-the-top experience. And at Memorial Day weekend’s Lightning in a Bottle, the events collective responsible for creating interactive structures and music stages did a characteristic job at making it a fest that impresses.
Held for the third year at Central California’s San Antonio Recreation Center in Bradley, Lightning in a Bottle is a festival worth looking forward to, not only for the music line-up, but also the experience as a whole. Everyone comes for a bigger purpose of bettering themselves in one way or another, while also having fun and enjoying the creative atmosphere.
The Do Lab added 12 new, large art structures including stages, the mercy booth, and interactive experiences throughout the festival. One of the biggest differences this year was that the dried up lake bed turned into a lake over our wet winter and spring! With the lake as its backdrop, each of the stages were positioned neatly into a peninsula where during the golden hour you were able to dance or sit by the river and enjoy the music.
Many people took advantage of the lake and brought floaties to lounge around on, making it the perfect way to cool off under the hot sun. The once-intimate spiritual campout festival has grown and evolved over the years into a transformational festival promoting ideas like sustainability, social understanding, personal health, and creativity in all mediums.
Once the sun went down, people came out for dancing at the music stages. The three music stages each had different music focuses. The Woogie Stage was on the far side of the festival throwing down Techno and House DJs all weekend. The Lightning Stage is the festival’s main stage where it primarily hosted live acts and more well known electronic acts like Wafia, Brasstracks, Jhene Aiko, Bob Moses and Bassnectar. At the festival’s entrance, the Thunder Stage, also known as the “Big Fish” (a structure The Do Lab has used at Coachella for their stage in 2016), hosted heavy hitting bass DJs.
Some favorite acts over the weekend included TroyBoi, Sam Gellaitry, Wafia, Kaytranada and Bob Moses, and it was also great catching surprise sets by Tokimonsta and Bonobo at the Pagoda Bar.
The community feel of the festival is a big pull for a lot of people. Since Lightning in a Bottle is a festival that encourages attendees to stay on site, the entire grounds become a giant temporary community. You can find compost, recycling and landfill, bins encouraging festival goers to be more conscious of how to dispose their trash. Even if you are new to the LIB community, you quickly learn that everyone is responsible for partying with the environment in mind.
Another thing to love about the festival is how there’s truly something for everyone. Some people like to stay out through the night checking out the intimate DJ sets at the Pagoda Bar, and others enjoy rising early to take advantage of the yoga and meditation classes.
Now I know a camping festival sounds like a pain because you don’t have running water and there’s no escape from the heat (except for shade structures), but trust me this experience is worth it. Being prepared for dry days and hot nights by having a great tent and baby wipes to help you feel “clean” is the key to helping you focus on having an awesome time.
There are pop-up art installations just a short stroll from the campsite as well as food stands, DIY DJ booths, and outdoor yoga in a shaded structure. Attending music festivals are always fun, but it’s nice when they can offer other ways to detach from reality and unplug. Lightning in a Bottle gives attendees a chance to escape life’s everyday stresses by provide a unique space to think deeply and disconnect from the world that lies beyond the festival grounds.
Keep scrolling to see our visual diary of the weekend!
Photos by Tori Kobayashi