The Lightning in a Bottle festival returned Memorial Day weekend after a one-year hiatus bigger — and better — than before.
We’ve come to expect The Do Lab to only go big, bold, and beautiful in their multi-platform, lifestyle-agnostic, installations and event productions. We’ve been dazzled by The Do Lab-produced Lucent Dossier Experience, the Do Lab Tent at Coachella and Lucent L’Amour Valentine’s love-fest. But Lightning in a Bottle – in it’s ninth iteration – is the sum of all parts and yes, the sensory overload can be thrilling.
What began as a small family affair in the early 2000’s came of age during 3 years (2006-2008) at Live Oak in Santa Barbara County (see our photos and posts from past LIBs). This year the 3-day festival, at its new home at Oak Canyon Ranch near Irvine, featured a wider scope of programming — adding speakers, workshops, yoga and more in a zen-like “temple of consciousness” forested area adjacent to the campground.
Two DJ stages were offset by the main Lightning in a Bottle stage, which featured an eclectic mix of performers and musicians, from March Fourth Marching Band to the lo-fi post-rock stylings of The Album Leaf to the Eastern European-inspired acoustic sounds of Fishtank Ensemble to the booming beats of The Glitch Mob. All to be outdone by the sideshow shenanigans of Lucent Dossier and Vau de Vire on an adjacent stage between sets and the sight and sound of William Close and his monstrous Earth Harp.
True to The Do Lab’s roots as a radical arts collective, the grounds were transformed into a wonderland of installations and dozens of live art stations at which paintings were created for a silent auction benefiting Sonic Muze, a non-profit that helps provide art and music supplies for local schools in need. Most notable was the lack of trash visible throughout (a lack of meat as well). By providing multiple water stations (basically consisting of a hose with a filter and multiple spigots) and not allowing sales of bottled water, the festival avoided the oft-criticized wasteland of plastic bottles that is standard at most events. LIB chartered a new motto at its new location: “Leave it Better, Leave it Beautiful” a policy which included the planting of 32 native trees at the outset of the festival.
Video by Matthew F. Smith.
Video by Sander van Dijk.
All photos by Andy Sternberg
Originally posted at LAist.