More than just a music festival, LIB is a place to celebrate, learn, and grow with each other.
Lightning in a Bottle last weekend was something truly magical. The people, the experiences, everything was built with conscious creation in mind. LIB was more than just a music festival, it was a playground for our curiosities. Where people showed up, tried new things, and despite their differences, felt safe to be themselves. In this recap, I’d like to break down my experience and explain why LIB inspired me to push the boundaries of “who I am” to “who I’d like to be”. Maybe it will inspire you as well.
The 6 Ways of LIB
Lightning in a Bottle is not your average music festival. It is what society considers a “transformative” fest. Everything from the environment, to the classes, to the artists and performers, were carefully chosen to ignite the five senses and give you tools to living a happy and healthy life. DoLaB’s new mission this year, “The 6 Ways of LIB,” has become the guiding principles for all aspects of the LIB experience.
- Celebrate Life
- Create Community
- Respect Yourself, Respect One Another
- Actively Participate
- Honor the Land
- Be a Citizen
Although these rules are simple, DoLab believes that when we work together we can be a powerful driving force for good. They were definitely correct about that. People were looking out for each other. Helping each other understand and grow. Creativity was inspired. No matter how weird it would get at Lightning in a Bottle, it was acceptable because it was an expression of you. On the third day, one of our friends lost his phone around the beach. Someone was kind enough to return and we found it later in Lost and Found. I love being a part of a community that looks out for each other.
Lightning in a Bottle’s festival layout this year was spectacular. Positioned in the middle of Bakersfield, CA, with property right on Buena Vista Lake. The festival was built on a large cove with a beautiful view of the lake and several beach areas for festival attendees to hang out on. The festival grounds built outwards from the cove to encompass the class and camping areas. The tent areas were set up in the surrounding harvest fields. It made walking to the festival a breeze. The camping areas are split into three locations, sunrise, high-noon, and sunset. Our camp was positioned in the high-noon area which was perfect. Only took us 10 minutes to get to the Lightning Stage and food area.
Last year the layout had a ton of hills and an extended festival ground, making it very difficult to reach the other end. It took us around 40-45 minutes, give or take our energy level, to make it to the Thunder Stage. Overall the new location worked out tremendously and I hope to see them throw LIB ‘20 there as well.
The lake followed the festival from end to end and was viewable from pretty much everywhere. The beach areas were a nice touch to this year’s new lake location. There was plenty of room for people to spread out and have their own space. The cove was crawling with people. On the last day, LIB staff held a home-made boat race for everyone to watch. It was pretty entertaining.
Honoring the Land
People were so kind to each other and the environment around them. They were throwing away their food correctly, and composting. LIB gave attendees the chance to sort their trash into recycle, compost, or landfill and outpour of participation was stunning. People were even picking up random trash on the floor. We had a role to play in keeping it clean and we took pride in making sure the festival grounds stayed beautiful. I feel like people were actually going out of their way to help, just because it felt good.
Another incredible thing I saw people doing were building barriers for the animal’s holes and homes; so no one would step on them. I’ve never seen this kind of awareness before at a festival. I even saw a security guard standing near a family of squirrels while they poked out of their holes to eat. It was exciting to see people take an interest in protecting the environment around them.
Classes & Performances
Nourishing the Mind & Soul
Another exciting aspect of LIB were the educational classes and performances surrounding the mind, body, and soul. They offered earth arts and healing arts with classes like Natural Cordage Rope and Bee Magic, Medicine, & Alchemy. They designated a place near the lake called Meditation Grove where they offered different meditation and breathing exercises and a place to chill out. They had prayers daily for the elements like fire dancing and morning water. There were so many unique performances. It inspires the creativity and curiosity inside of you.
One of the more memorable artist performances of the weekend was called “Her Story” by Roxanne Ruby. She is an enlightenment coach who specializes in interpretive dance and fire spinning. The story followed a woman finding her warrior spirit through exploration of her history and religion. Three women danced and sang a variety of songs with different instruments. Their dancing was sexy, confident, and strong. They used silk fans and pashmina scarves to complement their dancing. It was exciting to watch. A very powerful way to start the weekend.
Yoga and Breathwork Classes
In addition to the classes, LIB offered several types of yoga and breathwork exercise classes. It is believed that the essence of life is breath. So several of the classes offered different variations of exercise paired with your breath. Like yoga Nidra, Kundalini, and Flow. I had never experienced Yoga Kundalini before and it was something else. Kundalini is described as divine latent energy, located at the base of the spine. When activated, it gives the body energy to restore, refresh, and reset. I can’t begin to describe how yoga made my body feel. After days of walking and exploring, the Kundalini exercise gave me the push I needed to to bounce my energy levels back up.
In addition to the new yoga classes, this had been my first time taking a breathwork class as well. They had everyone lay flat on the ground. We then began to inhale an intense amount of oxygen, releasing it at the speed of our breath. This allowed for more oxygen to soak into the blood. Which began to open the capillaries, and awake the nervous system. The feeling was nothing short of euphoric. My whole body tingled with sensation. After practice, a man shared his story about how these breath exercises changed him. He was in a car accident a few months back. Lost feeling in two fingers on his left hand. After doing the breathwork he said for the first time in months he could feel the tingle reach all the way to his fingertips. Although my experience wasn’t as intense as his, I certainly loved the class. With practice, I believe breathwork could reach some new avenues of my mind. It could be used as a tool to explore and understand myself. For more information about breathwork journey check out Rob Starbuck.
What makes LIB so unique is the ability to learn and grow while attending. They offered classes like Tantalizing Tonics and Herbal Festival Survival Guide. DoLab brought instructors and teachers from around the globe to teach alternative ways for staying healthy. I just wish they would record them because there was so much to do, I couldn’t keep up! One of the more memorable classes I took over the weekend was called Flavors of the Forest: Cooking with Wild Food. A presentation given by Erica Wohldmann PH.D. She taught us about using various forest seeds and roots to create flour for baking. Quite an interesting subject.
This year’s music lineup was quite unique. We saw some big names in 2018 like Zhu, Griz, and Sofi Tucker. This year LIB approached their lineup differently, with only a few mainstream headliners and a ton of new artists. In some ways it was perfect and in other ways, I did miss some of the stunning performances we saw last year. This year DoLaB featured unique and upcoming artists. Some who had never performed in the US before like Jan Blomqvist & Band. They had been approved for their US Visa just days before Lightning in a Bottle.
Some notable sets of the weekend came from Manatee Commune who rocked the stage with some live mixing of his own instrument solos. What a chill euphoric vibe. It was perfect for a beautiful summer day at the lake.
Shiba San; Toro y Moi; Opiuo; and Slenderbodies made an appearance. Mobley at the Lightning Stage killed his set. Disclosure made an appearance. They also had a ton of smaller venues with random acts and performances.
Elohim‘s performance is amazing. She sang and played the piano while live mixing. She used incredible imagery and unique background synths to amplify her performance. She even danced and moved around the stage. She is a stunning performer who sings and dances on stage.
The Fungineers Truck
The Fungineers with their van would roll up to random spots and begin mixing. They would ride around the festival grounds singing songs, dancing, and live mixing EDM music.
Flying Lotus Special 3D Performance
In addition, Flying Lotus put on a performance in 3D. LIB staff handed out glasses to the crowd and had plenty for everyone. He told the crowd nothing was choreographed or rehearsed. The performance would be the only of its kind. Flying Lotus came out to spin in front of this crystal. As they began showing 3D images, it would engulf Flying Lotus. The imagery was insane. Definitely, interesting setup and I enjoyed the execution.
In the end, CloZee finished out LIB with a fantastic set. She brought out fire twirlers and fan dancers to entertain attendees. She used a variety of instruments and had guest singers while she live mixes her performances. CloZee is a very talented artist and it’s incredible to see her work expand. She can play a variety of genres and still incorporate that same natural energy found in elemental music. It’s a joy to see her live and she was a perfect ending to the magical weekend at LIB.
To conclude, there is so much to appreciate and be thankful for at LIB. There were so many classes and artists I didn’t get to see or touch on in this article but all of it special in its own way.
I definitely feel Lightning in a Bottle inspired me to look for ways to be a better person. To eat healthier, and exercise more. I am truly grateful for the people I met, the experiences I had, and the knowledge I gained from LIB. Thank you DoLaB! Can’t wait until next year.