Alright everyone, as you may or may not know, the best festival in California is quickly approaching….LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE! LIB is held on Memorial Day weekend (May 23-28) in Bradley, CA at the San Antonio Reservoir and is put on by the Do LaB.
LIB always has an amazing, eclectic lineup, but it has always been about more than just the music. LIB offers yoga, learning and culture, and art lineups on top of your typical music lineup. There are countless talks, workshops, and healing sessions. Art installations and structures are everywhere, and even the stages are their own form of beautiful art. Some call LIB a transformational festival, a festival that encourages social responsibility, community, and creative expression.
You can start off your mornings with yoga, body painting, or maybe attend a class at the Learning Kitchen and learn how to make a new dish (and try some yummy food!). Attend a meditation workshop, dance class, or even intro to blacksmithing!
A talk I am definitely not missing this year is “Magic and Medicine of the Bee” at the Earth Arts area. I come from a beekeeping family, and I could go on and on about the medicinal properties of honey and bee byproducts. I’m excited to see someone talking about this and sharing the magic!
There are so many activities and fun things happening at LIB too! Each year there is a Soap Box Derby and a 5K, just to list a couple. It is on my list to make it to the Soap Box Derby this year which has always looked like so much fun. People make their own “cars” and race them down a hill! I think one time I saw a vehicle made to look like a banana! I’m not too sure of the specifics of this, but I just know I need to see it finally!
Don’t get me wrong, you will definitely find me dancing to my hearts content at the different stages (Thunder, Lightning, Woogie, Grand Artique, Favela, or Pagoda). But if you don’t give yourself time to explore, you’re really missing out. At my first LIB I found out that on Meditation Hill everyone howls to the sunset, and that you high five everyone you pass on the bridges. There’s interactive art that you can climb or sit on, and rows of vendors that you can easily spend hours perusing. I must have spent at least half an hour at a swing set that we found, just letting myself be a kid again!
Alright so let’s talk about music. What I love about LIB is that each stage represents a different style of music for the most part. Thunder stage is primarily bass and trap for example, while at the Woogie you mostly find house music. The Lightning stage is the “main stage” so you find more of the bigger name artists there and the type of music varies more. I love that each stage has it’s own style, so if there’s ever a time you’re not sure who to check out, just go to the stage that hosts your type of music! This is a festival where you can find a variety of electronic music but you also can enjoy live music. Some artists I’m particularly stoked about this year are: The Glitch Mob, Zhu, Griz, Paces, KRANE, NAO, and MK! I actually have a LIB playlist you can follow on the home page in the right hand panel. Part of the fun of LIB is discovering new artists, so if the lineup looks pretty unfamiliar to you, just start listening and discovering!
In 2017 there was a lake for the first time at that venue, and let me tell you it was a game changer! Instead of laying at camp too hot to move (yes 2016 I’m looking at you), we just took our floaties to the lake and spent a couple hours relaxing and swimming. This year the lake level is not as high as it was in 2017, but it seems like they will still be letting people swim!
I almost forgot to mention that this is a camping festival! LIB employs a free-form style of camping, which means you can take up as much space as your group needs. The camping is not in a neat row, but rather spread out throughout the grounds. This really contributes to LIB’s freeing vibe. Make sure to check out the LIB packing list if you’re not sure what to bring. Remember this will be your home for the next 4 days, so make it comfy!
LIB is a leave no trace event, so please remember to pack it in and pack it out!
I could go on and on about why I love this festival or what it has to offer, but you really need to check it out yourself to get it. The most I can say is that LIB has always felt like home. A place where I belong, where I can be myself, a place free from judgement. People dress in bright crazy colors, people love their neighbors, people encourage expression at every level. This festival is truly transformational. I know I’ll never be the same.