For this review of Lightning in a Bottle, we have decided to give two different perspectives of the event, to give our audience a more comprehensive (although still slightly inadequate) representation of this life changing weekend. First up is our field correspondent and writer, Bret Contreras, followed by Joshua Jacobs; owner and founder of the site. We do hope you enjoy! Please check out the photos as well, taken by our very own Somil Mehta.
Lightning In A Bottle. How does one even begin to describe something as life changing as a festival like this? I’m not really sure because I’ve had maybe one or two things that come close but this experience definitely blew most of the rest out the water. I guess the best way to start is to explain that I literally had no expectations for this weekend. I went into this festival with the mindset that I was going to have fun but I did not have a single clue as to what this festival would be like except that I had heard it was stepping-stone between Coachella and Burning Man; a mix of well-put-together music festival and a gathering for people from all walks of life to come together. So starting from that point I ended the weekend on an incredible high with one of the most at peace feelings I’ve ever had, ever. I came away with the bar set high for everything else that I will go to from now on; LIB ruined me in the best way possible. The music was phenomenal (it literally never stopped); the people were phenomenal; and the environment, natural and man-made was just like a giant playground for your eyes and ears.
I have to say for me to even pick a favorite musical performance I had to mull it over quite a bit because I was thoroughly impressed by most of what I saw. First off, I have to give it up to the Woogie Stage because that stage stole my heart from the moment I heard the first four to the floor beat coming out of it. It was love at first sight (or sound rather). I think to be honest my favorite set would have to be Justin Martins closing set on the Woogie Stage Friday night. I picked him for a few important reasons. Reason one is I think most of my friends were right there next to me 90% of the time so the vibe I was feeling was unbelievable. Second, I was highly anticipating hearing tracks off his recently released album Ghettos and Gardens and getting to hear the bass drop for “Don’t Go”, his remake to Goldie’s “Kemistry”, and “Lezgo VIP” was just fucking incredible. Third, being able to get so close to see him and then having him switch back and forth with J. Phlip at the end of his set was the piece de resistance to a great set and a great day. Ohhh and I have to give an honorable mention for best set of the weekend to Big Gigantic. I had never seen them play before and they fucking wowed me by completely changing my idea of what you can do with a saxophone and some drums. Fucking amazing!!!
The other great thing about LIB was that there was so much more to take in besides the music at each stage. I have to say my favorite non-musical performance was a dance act dubbed Wilderbe. This performance use technology similar to what Amon Tobin uses for his ISAM shows and combines that with live dance and hand picked music. To say I was impressed is a complete understatement. You will have to watch a video to really understand how impressive these guys are. To top it all off this was their first ever live performance and to see how well received the show was by everyone was great. I could go on but I won’t.
To wrap up I have to say my favorite moment wasn’t really one moment. I have to give a shout out to my favorite moment being a bunch of little moments; these moments being every time I met a new person that was part of our very large camping group so awesomely named “Fairy Disco Funk”. As sappy as this all sounds my weekend would have been nothing with out these lovely people and I genuinely enjoyed meeting them and spending every waking moment with them. I want to thank the community of beautiful people at Lightning In A Bottle and definitely plan to come back next year.
Wow. What a weekend. I have to say, I didn’t originally plan on going to this event. I was going to be a responsible human being, and save up my money. However, I was talking to my friend (and fellow MYN teammate) Lyja, and she told me that it was her #1 favorite festival of the year. I was curious as to why, and then I remembered talking with our mutual friend Catt, who had described it as one of the most incredible experiences of her life (she went into much more detail, but I couldn’t find the conversation anywhere). Well, needless to say, I was sold at that point and decided I had to go.
With all the high expectations of the weekend, I still didn’t really know exactly what to expect. I knew there would be music, and yoga, and lectures, and such, but I wasn’t prepared for the people or the vibes that I would experience. That’s what I really want to focus on, because that is what separates Lightning in a Bottle from any other event or even organized gathering that I’ve ever been to. I’m going to list the things that make Lightning in a Bottle better, and we’ll see if you agree:
- The people. Not only is nearly every ‘unskilled’ position taken up by a volunteer of the event, but everyone working is so helpful, considerate (of others and the environment), peaceful, and friendly. The people make this event what it is. The vibes and energy emanating from every single person was contagious; everyone had a smile on their face and couldn’t wipe it clean if they tried.
- The ‘rules.’ One of the things that really made the event great was all of the rules that we were supposed to follow: ‘Pack it in, Pack it out’ was one of them, meaning anything we brought onto the grounds, we were to take back with us. This really helped keep everything clean, and minimized trash pickup at the end. They even had rewards for clean campsites on the last day. The people who organized this weekend knew how to motivate people to keep everything as nature intended, instead of trying to force us to be clean.
- The MUSIC. Since this is technically a music review, I should probably mention the incredible acts that I was able to see. Random Rab, Tipper, Bassnectar, Opuio, Justin Martin, Glitch Mob, Big Gigantic, and many many more. Although they covered different genres such as dubstep, glitch hop, tribal, jungle, tech house, funk, hip hop, and others, the musical acts had one unifying theme: dance your ass off. Not the kind of dancing you see at EDC or even dance clubs, but free flowing, exotic, and erratic dance moves that resemble tribal dancers from another time and place. People let themselves go to the music at this event; and it wasn’t about crowding the stage. It was all about feeling the music and letting the beat and bass roll over you. The lineup didn’t matter; it wasn’t about trying to get from act to act. You just went where the music and your mind took you. So much different from any other concert or festival I had ever been to.
- The activities. Yoga in the morning to focus your breathing, stretch your muscles, and find your center and connection with the Earth. Ferris Wheels, paddle boats, climbing structures, and more to entertain the inner child during the day. Delectable treats and delicious eats; which I was very surprised about considering it was all Vegan and I eat meat two meals a day typically. And throughout; lectures about everything imaginable- sustainability, protecting the Earth, how to treat others, how to dance to dubstep, and more. At night, you could make your way to the Temple of Consciousness and really stretch your intellectual boundaries. I won’t provide any details, but this is one thing I absolutely recommend at least one of the nights you are there.
- Camping. Camping is such a communal experience it really transcends all else. It’s living in the wild essentially, with people sharing beds, sharing food, sharing drink, and everything else you could share. It was an incredible experience meeting and sharing my weekend with all of the people in our camp, and I wouldn’t have traded those people for any others. As I learned during the weekend: ‘We are all here, we all exist, because we are meant to exist. We wouldn’t be here if we weren’t meant to exist.’ That was the theme of the weekend. Everyone in our camp was meant to be in that camp, and the universe organized it to be that way. The camping was one of my favorite parts.
Well there you have it. Lightning in a Bottle 2012: a Fairy Disco Funk magical time. We highly recommend this event for anyone who enjoys listening to music 24/7, eating delicious and healthy food, seeing some of the most incredible live art out there, channeling inner consciousness, dancing like a fool, treating the environment with respect, dressing in ridiculous costumes, and spending time with the nicest, most genuine, fun-loving people on the planet. If any of those describe you, get your butt to LIB and experience it for yourself! Until next year
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