Taking place over Memorial Day weekend from May 21-25 in Bradley, California, Lightning in a Bottle is a festival that seeks to transform attendants through immersive experiences that extend far beyond the concert stage.
I’ve been attending festivals for several years now, and in that time I’ve seen how corporate sponsorships and belligerent, drug-fueled atmospheres have corrupted their original intentions to create and preserve communities, connect people through music and art, and recognize independent, hard-working artists. This progression has made me a lot more selective about which festivals I attend because the attraction for me has always been to discover new music, meet like-minded people along the way, and have experiences that I’ll remember for a lifetime.
Fortunately, there are those who still value and encourage such experiences within a festival environment. Conceived by the Do Lab in 2000, Lightning in a Bottle is a festival that seeks to transform its attendants through immersive experiences that extend far beyond the concert stage. It takes place in rural Central California, at the San Antonio Recreation Center over a long Memorial Day weekend, from May 21st through May 25th. Camping is including in the ticket price, and the fact that all guests are sharing the same experience, as opposed to having the option to rent a condo or Airbnb, really helps bond festival-goers and enforce the sense of community.
Packed into the five-day weekend are activities that range from seminars to yoga workshops to film screenings and even panels that tackle the issues of “Love, Sex, and Porn.” Guests are encouraged to take part in daily gratitude and intention ceremonies, healing sancturaries, and have the opportunity to learn more sustainable and healthy practices for preparing food. The Do Art Foundation, the The Do Lab‘s public, nonprofit art foundation, has an immersive Lightning in a Paintcan (LIP) exhibition where artwork inspired by the festival will be created, culminating in a LIP Artwalk held at the campgrounds on Sunday, May 24th, from 7pm to midnight.
On top of all of that, the actual concert lineup isn’t too shabby either! Headliners include Flume, SBTRKT, RL Grime, and Odesza, and I personally can’t wait to see AlunaGeorge, SOHN, and Les Sins, Toro Y Moi’s alter-ego stage persona.
Lightning in a Bottle is a festival that you can attend with a clear conscience, knowing that they’re a “Leave it Better, Leave it Beautiful” event committed to leaving their campgrounds in a better condition than they found it by reducing and eliminating waste where possible. I also really appreciate their zero tolerance policy towards cultural appropriation with the ban of Native American headdresses, and by encouraging understanding of the spiritual practices borrowed from other cultures that will be present at the festival.
To prepare festival-goers for this transformational experience, Lightning in a Bottle is hosting Temple Days, a special pre-party urban retreat on Sunday, May 3rd at The Springs in Downtown LA. The event will run all day from 11am to 11pm and include yoga, speakers, workshops, dance, music, and food. Another official pre-party will take place the following weekend on May 9th at Club Nokia with Astronautica, Autograf, and Coyote Kisses slated to perform. While there guests can partake in a Bohemian Bazaar and will have a chance to pick up some much-needed festival gear.
Two of my personal intentions for this year have been to open myself up to more opportunities and approach friendship more willingly. At Lightning in a Bottle, I look forward to opportunities to create, grow, and exist in an abundance of love, acceptance, and truth.
To purchase tickets to Lightning in a Bottle, click here. And head’s up, prices go up this Saturday, April 25th!
The gallery photos are from last year’s festival, taken by Jon Haloossim.