WHAT IS LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL?

lightninginabottle sparkedmag

Lightning In A Bottle is a camping music festival with learning, arts and yoga held lakeside at the San Antonio Recreation Area, in the California Hills of Bradley, California.

WHO Vibrant attendees from all over the world along with a strong representation of North American west coast festival enthusiasts.
WHAT A 4-day festival of world-renowned musical acts, talented dancers/performers, world-class yoga instructors/classes, progressive workshops/speakers, a market of sustainable fashion/organic food vendors, amazing art and installations. Permaculture, Spirituality, Movement, Art, Music, Community, Health and Eco Building.
WHY To learn, connect, dance, make new friends and impart lasting memories on ourselves and others.
WHEN May 25th – 29th, 2017 (early entry passes for the 24th available)
WHERE San Antonio Recreation Area at 2091 New Pleyto Road Bradley, CA 93426, 10 miles from Bradley, California. About 3hrs by car from the San Francisco/Oakland bay area. SHARETHEBUS is offering round trips from all major city centers on the west coast, click here for tickets

When asked if large attendance numbers reduced the magic a festival could create for the individual and collective experience, Kevin KoChen, co-founder of Symbiosis Gathering (one of our top 5 festivals in the USA), said no; as long you had unique, stand-alone interactive programming throughout the grounds. These oases of experience are what would assure a beautiful and powerful experience no matter how many tickets were sold. Symbiosis has now developed into a crown jewel of the transformational circuit: a network of privately funded, grassroots alternative festivals driven by Burner (Burning Man) themes. Essentially realigning our mental and physical health through conscious caring for body movement, sustainability, self-reliance, real food, local trade, community connectivity and progressive politics– all set to the beat of electronic music inside well-curated festival grounds.

Lightning in a Bottle, produced by the Do Lab, is one such festival, and also in our top 5. It sits on the shores of the San Antonio Recreation Area lake, 10 miles from the town of Bradley, in the rolling California hills northeast of San Luis Obispo. A mindful, conscious, and beautiful collection of music, art, culture, and expression.

Last year was our first year, and it made an incredible impression. It was their 5th year, and the talk was that augmented ticket sales (around 25,000 attendees in 2016) had begun to dilute the LIB brand. But we didn’t see it that way. What we saw were people of all kinds who had never truly been to a ‘transformational festival’, fall in love with the experience. Not just for the guaranteed entertainment value, but also for the human element, for the learning element, for the connection, for the moment it ‘clicked’ and their outlook on the world changed. We remember reading the LIB Festival Group Facebook pages and post after post were the gushings of personal experience. That is what matters to us, that the culture of conscious caring is expanding. Music festivals are not meant to be private clubs or exclusive groupings, they are meant to be fully inclusive communities of sharing.

Lighting In A Bottle is a ‘transformational music festival’ as opposed to a ‘commercial musical festival’. In future articles at Sparked we will go in-depth to explain the differences and distinguishing elements of the variety of festivals out there, but for now imagine a transformational festival as a well-rounded experience of learning from workshops and speakers, with soundtracks of music ranging in styles and genres both live and electronic, with the exploration of ideas and insights into a better way to live through eating organic/quality food, eschewing that which is processed, and the discovery of your body through movement, dance and yoga.

It’s this type of programming that Kevin Kohen was speaking to. As you wander the roads of the 3 ‘peninsulas’ the festival is built on, and cross the bridges that traverse the ravines between them, you will discover and be a part of something engaging everywhere you go. Dive into immersive environments such as the Lightning Inn by the Imagination Nation (a labyrinth of rooms full of interactivities and play), the Giggle Juice Cafe at the Lost Hotel (a nomadic hotel and participatory theater offering a full-service restaurant and juice bar), The Sitcommune by The Fungineers (a psychedelic hip-hop puppet show for adults), The Tea Temple by Om Shan Tea (a warm tea sit down area for conversation and relaxation), The Highlove Vitality Elixir Lounge (twisting comedy, cirque burlesque, hot drinks and live music) and back for the 8th year, the Grand Artique a wild-west themed environment with a stage for live music, performance art, comedy, speakeasy, and talent show! Connected to the Artique experience is the Skinny DeVille Bar, The Gypsy Encampment and the Trading Post/General Store where you can find all sorts of vintage treasures and useful basics. For a full list of their other immersive and interactive environments including Mega Skee Ball, Late Night Speed Dating, 5K Run, After Dark Karaoke, Fire Show Zone, Soap Box Derby, and our favorite, the Do-Over! Beauty Salon and Barber Shop, click here.

For  your artistic explorations visit the ‘new area’ debut of The White Library (an interactive living art installation by Jade Mangiafico and his team of Arterials), the Mova Gallery (a 360 dome Digital Projection Immersive Art Experience in collaboration with 360Dome.Pro), the  Lightning in a Paintcan (live painting exhibits all over the grounds), The Jive Joint (a New Orleans style house interactive art installation, where you can groove out to the jazzy, funky, soulful tunes produced by Super Tall Paul’s legendary on the spot musical looping). Paul was a mainstay at Bonnaroo for years, and he’s a must see! And of course, the most beautiful art of all, watch the setting sun on the Meditation Lookout, and visit the New Earth Start Temple (NEST), a sanctuary for peace, mindfulness, contemplation, healing, and grounding amidst the wild excitement of the festival. See the full list of Big Art Installations here.

To expand your mind, engage the senses, and inspire community action take in the Points of the Compass, the newly re-imagined area of Lightning in a Bottle offering a diverse array of educational opportunities. To know more about what happens at the 5 compass points named Beacon, Landing, Craft, Crossroads and Haven, click here. The points of the compass are the evolution of the tents that had consisted of the Temple of Consciousness, the Healing Sanctuary and the Mystery School. The speaker and workshop lineups feature discussions covering natural history, local plants, science, and spirituality. Visit the Gong Sanctuary for a sound bath and learn the 5 reasons you should here. Long lived healing arts can be just the piece we need to solve our own specific personal health puzzle, so it never hurts to try them out!

To stretch your body, and not just your mind or imagination, check out world-class yoga teachers beneath the shade structures of Luna Yoga and Yoga Sol. You’ll find Vinyasa, Kundalini, Ecstatic dance, Sound healing, and more. Both these areas will turn into dance parties into the night, so make sure you circle them on your map! You can find a full class schedule here.

And if you think all of that is amazing, then the next part is the icing on the cake. We believe one of the keys to happiness is nutrition. It’s what makes us able to navigate all that life throws at us with energy, clarity and motivation. And LIB has got your back. Not only will you be able to learn nutritional knowledge and biohacking tips at the Learning Kitchen (like the aphroditic mysteries of raw chocolate with Jacqui Lalita, and rising up with dopamine-producing foods by Valerie Farcelais and Jason Cusson), but you will also be purchasing from food vendors that have been required to serve healthy dietary options and to use organic foods local to the Bradley area! Additionally, their disposable waste needs to be compostable (no plastic), and the limited meat vendors must demonstrate ethical sourcing, with proper feeding and treatment of the animals. Check out one of our favorite vendors, Imlak’esh Organics, for their superfood smoothies, and view the full list of diverse food vendors here. Speaking of delicious food, if you are into trying a Gender Fluid Gospel Opera Brunch, then check out the Brunch Royale! (NOTE: Bring your own camping dishes, water bottle and cutlery to LIB and reduce the use of disposables.)

For your style needs, the Market Place at LIB will have everything you desire. Artisans will be offering handmade or fair trade clothing, leather goods, goggles, jewelry of every kind, yoga clothes, waist bags, colorful fabrics, cat ears, spirit hoods and so much more. Express yourself! and in the process, vote with your dollar and redefine what ‘shopping’ means. When it’s quality we buy, it will last us longer, deepen our respect for how it got there, and make a difference in the world at every level. Meet the artists and designers you are buying from and learn their stories. Follow us on Facebook to view our Facebook Live videos as each day we to select vendors to find out who they are, learn about their production and sourcing and why they do it the way they do it.

Then take those new threads onto one of the many dance floors, and show them off! The main stages for music will be: The Woogie Stage for deep house and tech house, the Lightning Stage where the headliners play a variety of electronic and live band sounds, and the Thunder Stage for a laser show accompanying hard-hitting glitch/bass, trap and dub. Additional music areas that often turn to afterhours venues will be the Favela Bar (groovy, deep house), the Pagoda Bar (varieties of house music), The Lost Hotel (electronic), and the Amori’s Casino & Burlesque (live burlesque and cabaret, gaming, wandering characters, live bands, fire shows, DJs and shenanigans).

And, of course, where there is music there is performance art, so while dancing around look out for these: The Furies LA (break dancing, cirque arts), Flight Crew Jump Rope (high-flying acrobatics), Bijoulette (singing and dancing clown troupe), Dragon Knights Stilt Show (art on stilts), MOOPsquad (litter conscious cultural warriors), Love in the Fire (fire dancers), the Sacred G’s (urban dance in LED lit suits), Fou Fou Ha! (fashionista trixter performance art), La Sirenes (provocative choreography), FlÄmboOzle (hip-hop dancers), Cena Stardust (multi-medium dance mysticism), and our favorites Kikimora Studio (abstract live statue characters). See the full schedule of the acts here.

LIB aims to create a communal, transformational, and sustainable environment for cultures to share, learn and combine their knowledge to help us all live better lives wherever we call home. People from all over the world gather here in the heat of the daytime and cool of the night time to share their passions, their energy, and their spirit in order to enhance our collective understanding of what really matters in life.

One of my favorite quotes from a review of last year’s festival when expressing what kind of vibe you find at LIB, is this: “There’s no one here to prove anything to – Coachella can become a fashion scene… to be seen and act cool for example, but LIB is the festival you go to like, let your freak-flag freakin’ FLY!”

This festival really wants us all to get away from the processed world that has become our reality and back to where we find our true happiness: in health, in nature, in expression, in positive intention, learning valuable knowledge to move our lives in the direction that makes the most sense.

To get the latest information about Lighting in a Bottle Festival, visit here, and stay connected to their FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

To get you in the mood, check out the Official LIB Festival 2016 video recap: