Lightning in a Bottle 2016
Bradley, California. What’s in Bradley, California? Aside from the hills, cows, and endless roads… oh yeah, the greenest festival in America. For the third year in a row, Memorial Day weekend in Bradley is home to the Do Lab’s, Lightning in a Bottle (LIB). It’s so much more than the music here, you have yoga and meditation classes, the Learning Kitchen, and so much art. Part of what makes the experience unforgettable are the hippy lovin’ vibes. As camp was set up, crossing bridge after bridge, giving high fives to strangers that seemed like best friends… we knew for four days we were back at home.
Driving four and half hours from Los Angeles as we pass through rolling hills and seas of grape vines, stomachs filled with butterflies as we come to a halt. As cars are quickly passing through, we arrive to the entrance. Sticking our left wrists out the window, they’re scanned and we’re in! Driving on Low Road towards the festival grounds we’re redirected towards the Zucchini Patch campground. Unloading the truck, we begin to set up camp which will be home for the next four days.
First on the agenda for tonight is 80’s Prom Night at the Favela Bar. Dressed in our best 80’s attire, the sun was set, the moon was out and our night began. We headed east on Monkey Business, entering the festival grounds for the first time we were greeted by the Thunder Stage. Passing the giant skee ball, next was the Lightning Stage and onto our first bridge. High fiving through the second bridge and up the hill, the bass is bumping, bodies are dancing as we enter the dance floor. It’s a place like no other, with a giant tree as it’s center, a stage on it’s right and surrounded with tree houses. Spinning 80’s hit after hit, it was probably the best 80’s set of the event.
Getting an early start to Friday, we decided to sample some of the day time activities. Yoga was first on the list, and we checked out Yoga Om; the class had beginners to full time yogis. Next came the Mystery School where we were enlightened about Conscious Business in the 21st Century. With the sun out and heat beaming down we decided to head back to camp. After some rest, we headed out to see our first set of the night Ekali. The night was filled amazing acts from Emancipator Ensemble, &ME, Kinjaz, Mija, The Polish Ambassador, and closed out the night with Cashmere Cat.
It was Saturday morning now and the rest of our camp crew were rolling in. We informed them know they’d have to play catch up because the last two days have been packed with so much partying! We started the day with another round of yoga, followed by some much needed hammock time. Different food vendors lined the festival where we had to get a taste from. You don’t realize how big the festival grounds are until you’ve been there for three days. Saturday night came alive with Hayden James, we got our boogie on at the Woogie with Magda, thenheaded back to Hundred Waters, and ended up at the Thunder Stage with TOKIMONSTA, and Minnesota b2b G Jones. With our remaining energy we powered on to the Grand Artique.
Sunday Funday!! It’s a bittersweet day, day four of yoga, the music, the vibes, the culture and all our new friends. But it’s also our last night. Heading into the festival, we each grabbed a partner and hopped on the ferris wheel. It’s a cold crisp breeze and you can see all of the festival grounds. Totems hung high as groups were leading into different stages, lights flashed, and you can just see everyone jamming out to their own tune. Sunday night ended just like how it began with big acts like Alina Baraz, Four Tet, Guy Gerber, Mr. Carmack, pantraid, and Chet Faker.
Monday morning, sun is shining, as tents are unzipped a layer of fog starts to burn away. Clearing up you can see everyone starting to pack. Sitting on my chair, as I light my cigarette, sipping on a coffee... reflecting back on the weekend and realizing how amazing this event was. I entertained the idea that this might be my last festival as the hangover slowly crept over me. After 13 years of festivals I can truly call this home. Lightning in a Bottle 2016 is the best festival in my opinion. The production, the music, and the art has progressed greatly over the years and speaks to the promoters enthusiasm to make each year better than the next. Will 2016 LIB be my last festival? With the way the Do Lab is heading, I highly doubt it…