Lightning in a Bottle took place this year from May 27th-30th in Silverado, California. This was the second year where it was held at Oak Canyon Ranch. The layout of the festival was improved dramatically to allow campers easy access to the three immense stages. Last year one of the biggest issues was going up and down the mountain to reach the main camp area and stages. This year it seemed like The Do Lab figured out all the little kinks out and made for one of the greatest events I’ve ever attended.
Right when you drive into the venue an incredible force and vibe takes you. The community unites for this giant gathering of music, art, workshops, and more. People from all over the world unites and creates a small city made up of tents, RVs, renegade sound, shaded areas, grills, and beautiful people. There are three main stage areas that host some of the biggest and rising stars of underground music.
The Wookie stage is one of the first stages you see as you enter the festival looking for camp ground. It was an incredible sight to see. I heard the stage was rocking a FunktionOne sound system but to be honest I stayed clear of that stage. The Wookie stage is generally known for playing House music and too be honest I’m not a huge fan and there was way too much going on to even step onto that dance floor but it definitely was going off every time I came back to camp.
The Lightning stage is where the a lot of the big boys played. The area was massive with an enormous amount of room. This clearly was the main stage area. The production value on this stage was incredible with stunning pyrotechnics during Kraddy’s set. They also brought in giant LED screens for big acts like Pretty Lights and Mimosa. The vibe during the day was more of relaxed journey. I had great memories listening to Invisible Allies during the day on Sunday. I will say many of the opening bands were quite disappointing such as Metal Mother which almost made me wonder what was going on or if this all was just a sound check. The biggest crowd I saw was during Pretty Lights. The place was slammed and had to resort to going backstage to catch his set. Despite Pretty Lights set crashing and having dead air for about 2 minutes kids were still ready to party. Mimosa surprised me with his set as he is known for raging out and playing heavy popular brostep he kept it quite tame and one of the best sets I’ve seen from Tigran. It’s always a surprise though to see such a talented producer not play all originals or even more than 4-5 for hour and half set.
The Bamboo stage is practically where I lived. All my favorites and close friends were playing in this area. The first act I caught at LIB 2011 was Sex Pixels. They won the slot for the mixtape contest and wanted to see who these guys were considering I couldn’t find anything about them on the internet. Turns out they are a duo act and played mainly house music which I thought was odd they were placed on the Bamboo stage vs the Wookie stage considering the style of music they played. Going back to my initial shock of openers were Pussy Monster. I almost felt embarrassed for them as it was one of the worst sets I’ve seen on a major stage. Granted I don’t expect to love everyone but I was just shocked to see such a booking for the opening slot. The rest of the week-end everything I caught on the Bamboo stage was absolutely breath taking for the most part. The vibe and feel of the music being played in this area was clearly geared to more of my style and taste. Friday night NastyNasty stole the show for me. There was nothing that was going to top his set. Having a full 90 minute journey by Jasper was heaven. The way he flowed and broke his set into 30min pieces from dubstep to slow jams to 808 hiphop beats made his set my personal favorite of the entire week-end. A few of my friends also played on the Bamboo stage such as: Stephan Jacobs, Goldrush, Gladkill, ill-esha, Love & Light, Mimi Page, and Joey Mousepad. All of them did such an incredible job up there! Other notable acts were Emancipator, Phutureprimitive, Lynx, and Paper Diamond (which I only heard about and upset I missed Alex’s set).
Lightning in a Bottle doesn’t only cater to the people who are interested in the music but many other things. Many of the workshops I heard were incredible. The art and live painting going on all around the festivals created a real unique experience. Thousands of people dancing, hoola hooping, spinning fire, and sharing each others presence makes this festival one of the better communities to be around. All the vendors and food was excellent. I couldn’t get over how tasty the pizza was. Everything was done with thought and consideration. I never ventured up the mountain this year as it was something I didn’t need to relive. I heard it was gorgeous up there this year but I decided to pass and stay close to camp and others things going on.
Lightning in a Bottle truly encompasses everything you’d want in a festival. It changed my life for the better going last year and this year was nothing short of amazing. The community and people make this festival. The line up may change every year but what doesn’t change is the passion, love, and dedication put into everyone who is involved including you.