Lightning in a Bottle Festival | California | Review | Photos

Words & Images by: Annelise Poda

Lightning in a Bottle Music Festival :: 05.24.12-05.28.12 :: Silverardo, CA

Photo gallery below review

Lightning in a Bottle 2012 by Annelise Poda
If you ask anyone that recently participated in the Lightning in a Bottle Festival about their long weekend, it’s a good bet that their eyes will light up and a flood of stories will soon come your way. This annual party held in Silverado, California is hosted by the Do Lab, and they put together a top notch experience this year packed full of some of the most creative DJs on the scene, a variety of workshops, speakers, and dazzling art installations.

The musical lineup and other planned activities make Lightning in a Bottle a very appealing prospect in itself, but the festival goers themselves are what pushed this event to the next level of greatness. People were very inclusive and went out of their way to enjoy each other’s company at this event, and strangers that you camped next to often ended up becoming your LIB family. These good vibes are apparent from the minute you get onto the grounds, and you can’t help but make new friends everywhere, whether while out dancing at night, in the line to take a shower, or at an impromptu sandwich giveaway on the street. It keeps things interesting, as you have no idea what your LIB experience will be like before it unfolds before you.

Lightning in a Bottle 2012 by Annelise Poda
You can spend the weekend at LIB in many different ways. The grassy area in front of the Bamboo Stage is always packed with people doing yoga, hula hooping, doing poi, dancing around on stilts, participating in acrobatics, or just taking a break to sit in the sun. You can take a walk up the hill to The Temple of Consciousness and hear speakers talk about a range of topics, or participate in workshops about glass blowing, home brewing, or learning specific new dance styles. Simply hanging out around your campsite and getting to know your neighbors better over a drink or a meal is also a great possibility. It can be hard planning out your day with so many options to choose from, but whatever ends up happening, it is pretty much a guaranteed weekend of amazing experiences with a community of new friends.

Here are a few of my personal highlights from the weekend along with a photo gallery of images from the weekend.

Pumpkin's Sunset Performance at the Woogie Stage on Sunday

The crowd was in high spirits and packed all around the colorful banners of this stage that bled out house and techno at all hours of the day and night, always accompanied by the hardest pulsing bass around the festival grounds. It was my favorite place to be for most all of the weekend, and this particular set of grooving beats and remixed familiar songs put a smile on everyone's face and an extra hop in their two step. Bubbles floated through the air to the upbeat and melodic sounds, providing a mellow contrast to a lot of the more aggressive and laser accented dubstep sets of the night.

Lightning in a Bottle 2012 by Annelise Poda
Lightning in a Paintcan

It was really cool to wander the festival grounds and see people creating amazing paintings all over the area between the Bamboo Stage and the Lightning Stage. In fact, this Lightning in a Paintcan aspect of LIB has become so big that it is the largest live painting event in the entire United States with over thirty artists participating. All of their works are centrally put on display and auctioned off at the end of the weekend, and all money raised this year will go towards the creation of an art cart designed by veterans and also a mobile mural project.

Shpongle's Friday Set

It was a treat to get to see Shpongle and their new elaborately produced show on the big Lightning Stage. Vibrant melting colors were projected onto the stage as twisting and psychedelic trance beats took the crowd on a trip no matter what state their mind had been in before hearing the music. It was elaborate in every aspect and very entertaining to get to hear this tricked out music that takes samples from all over the world and mixes them up in mind-expanding ways.

Lightning in a Bottle 2012 by Annelise Poda
Psychedelic Spin Hoop Workshop

There were a variety of workshops that people could participate in throughout the weekend, but it was an surreal experience to watch the entire lawn area in front of the Bamboo Stage fill up with hundreds of gyrating hoopers. One guy got the hula hoop motion down for the first time and burst out laughing, an experienced dancer taught others how to reverse the motion of the hoop in mid-spin, and a rogue toddler wandered amidst the crowd performing his own original moves. It was a neat gathering of people helping each other learn new moves while just enjoying each other’s company.

Gramatik's Friday Set

Slovenian DJ Gramatik served up a set of fresh beats at the Bamboo Stage that compelled everyone to dance the night away. Gramatik is one of the artists signed to Pretty Lights Music, a label with a roster of DJs known for their crafty use of samples that get melded with hip hop beats into funky dance tracks, and Gramatik put together a great set of music that gave a boost to everyone’s night at Lightning in a Bottle.

Lumi Lounge and Café

Besides being just a really neat structure, the Lumi Lounge hosted a great variety of bands throughout the festival and served up tasty food and coffee to people wanting to chill out and take a break from the pulsing beats of LIB. It is a great place to sit down and listen to bands that play guitars and singer/songwriter type acts. I really enjoyed the set by The Americans on Sunday night, and their café style seating right outside the lounge area was a great place to hang out and have a drink.

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[Published on: 6/6/12]

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