Lightning In A Bottle 2018 Review – Complete LIBeration of the Soul
Lightning In A Bottle 2018 is an incredible boutique festival that left me feeling truly transformed in the mind, body, and spirit. Romping around Native land in the dusty reservoir of lake San Antonio in Bradley, California for four days was a much needed dose of connection with the soul. Limited cell phone reception, yoga and workshops everyday, sweet humans camping in harmony together combined with the most diverse musical and artistic lineup I’ve been privy to was the perfect recipe for a festival experience unlike any other.
My journey to Lightning In A Bottle 2018 began with a flight to Las Vegas from Miami and a magical 7 hour drive through the vast desert lands of Nevada to the lush rolling green hills of California. We arrived early evening Thursday and our ingress into the festival was smooth and much faster then we expected. Check-in and parking was well-organized and we were lugging to our campsite on a pedicab in the blink of an eye! Our campsite was situated in the Tomato Patch off Corporate Ladder and Ethiopia Way, close to the visually playful art of Jake’s Jellyfish Experience and bumpin’ beats from Boogalo City by the Dirty Beetles, with an amazing view of the sunset blessing us each evening from our tent. The campsite commodities were conveniently placed throughout, only requiring a short walk to get to the restrooms, showers, and food. Speaking of the food, the meal selections were incredible. There was no shortage of variety to feed on. I tried some of the dankest pizza ever at The Dough Lab, and drank delicious fresh juices every morning at The Juicery. There was a smorgasbord of vegan and gluten-free foods everywhere too, so all festival attendees had enough fuel to keep dancing and camping. Our campsite was flanked on both sides by the kindest people I have met in my entire life. They helped us set up our tent, shared food with us, gave tips about the festival, and created so many laughs and stories. Our camp neighbors truly elevated the festival experience, highlighting the palpable loving atmosphere of connection and unity that resonated throughout the festival for the weekend.
Once situated at camp, it was time for the party to begin. Venturing towards the festival, there were renegade sound camps littered along the way decorated with tapestries, LED lights, and smiling campers. I have several favorite things about this festival, but one of the main ones was how detailed The Do Lab is with the aesthetic visuals. This was my first West Coast Festival, and I remember many years ago watching Coachella videos that I said to myself, the Do Lab stage is where I would be! Lightning In A Bottle seems to be a nice middle ground between Coachella and Burning Man. The lighting and decor throughout the festival was beautiful and yummy to look at. Climbing up the first hill, we were bathed in a trippy blueish light that casted a pink light behind my shadow. The Thunder Stage was a beauty to gaze upon and the first to greet us. I attended a press mixer where we interviewed Co-founder Jesse Flemming about the festival and he informed us the Thunder Stage was newly designed this year with it’s cloth stitching roof. The cloth was shipped in from Los Angeles just hours before the festival was scheduled to begin, deepening my appreciation for the immensely hard work the Do Lab crew pulled off to create this experience. I closed out Lightning In A Bottle at the Thunder stage with CloZee and PhuturePrimitive. CloZee was phenomenal, I struggled to hold back tears during her set. Not that it was tearjerking music, but it was the last night of the event and I was so overcome by emotion, wanting to capture the feeling of love and bliss I experienced over the weekend and take it home with me in a bottle. PhuturePrimitive took my soul to another dimension, and had me envisioning I was landing on a alien space ship planet.
Continuing past the Thunder Stage led to an open field before the next bridge. Dotted around the field was a Fire Flow Zone where I sat mesmerized by the lithe dancers playing with the burning flames. There was a fun art installation called the Zoa by the Chromaforms Art Collective that was essentially a big spiky iridescent ball that could be smacked around by festival goers. Off to left way up on a hill was the Rink-A-Dink Roller Rink with a sparkling disco ball shimmering above it and a neon pink world’s smallest Ferris wheel behind it. To the right was the Pagoda Stage, which banged out heavy bass music all weekend, continuously drawing in music lovers like moths to a flame. Past the Pagoda deeper into the festival was the second main stage, the Lightning Stage. Hands down the best set we caught here was GRiZ! He threw down a phenomenal set, taking us on a musical journey with a saxophone that had us getting down to some funkaliscious beats intertwined with trap-like bass. A musical genius, GRiZ’s set made me feel like I had went on a rollercoaster without my feet ever leaving the ground. The GRiZ fanbase is strong, with several people around me belting out lyrics to their favorite songs by him. The visuals for this stage certainly match it’s namesake- flashing like lightning with beautiful design.
Crossing over the bridge to the further reaches of the festival, I experienced another endearing aspect of Lightning In A Bottle- the high fiving! I just loved that! It made me feel so close and engaged with everyone. Why don’t we high five people like this in everyday life? After this festival, I left wanting to continue that extroverted kindness in my everyday life. For most of the weekend I could be found over here bouncing between my favorite stages, Favela Bar and The Woogie. Every time I passed by Favela I had to jump in and get my groove on. The enormous disco balls hanging from the trees and the ability to climb up and all around the stage made for an awesome vibe, and the tunes were top notch the entire time. Ahmain, Roxy Venus, and Brandon Ernst were most notably the best sets I caught. I enjoyed Favela for the interaction it provided. The Woogie was gorgeous, with psychedelic floating alien plant structures dotting the area. During the day they were colorful and entrancing to stare at, and at night they morphed into ethereal glowing blacklight versions of themselves. Notably Walker & Royce absolutely drove the crowd wild here, definitely one of the most epic sets of the weekend. PurpleDiscoMachine had us boogying down to funky town and Oohna Dahl put us all in a trance that still had our feet moving. I had so much fun at this stage, I highly recommend passing through here on your journey next year.
The final and most important component of this amazing experience at Lightning In A Bottle was the yoga classes and the workshops. There were workshops, meditations, sound baths, and yoga glasses galore! These really rounded out the festival and drove home the feeling of something for everyone here. I attended several of the yoga classes, my favorite being the beginner Acroyoga hosted by Andrew 7 Sealy. His energy was infectious and instructions very clear, I was flying and basing like a professional by the end of the class. I also participated in the Liminal Dream practice workshop hosted by Jennifer Dumpert, which was very interesting. There were so many interesting and informative lectures offered that it was difficult to choose just one! Doing yoga with hundreds of others was an exciting time, a very uplifting and strong energy could be felt in the classes. On Sunday I experienced a healing sound bath by Indy Rishi Singh in the Beacon tent. His haunting voice and instrumental still gives me goosebumps in the best way when I think about it. I also popped into the Learning Kitchen for the Lightning In A Blender class hosted by Ashley Marah. What a treat it was to hear her methods of preparation for her delicious smoothies we sampled throughout. You can spend the entire festival educating your mind and moving your body if you so chose, without ever having to dance at any stage. But of course, Lightning In A Bottle offers the best of both worlds, and that is something truly unique.
Overall, Lighting In A Bottle 2018 absolutely blew my mind. There are still so many other areas that are worth mentioning! The Jive Joint and the Do Over Salon were going off all weekend, with shows and performances hosted at the Jive Joint and makeovers offered at the Do Over Salon. The Fungineers pop up dance show had me laughing my ass off and dancing to their quirky pop song remixes. Next year don’t miss catching a gorgeous California sunset atop Meditation Mountain and experience a sound bath in the Gong Sanctuary. Om Shan Tea had tea offered 24 hours all weekend and comfy spot to relax, as well as the Dub Gypsy Kitchen offering a plush oasis to escape the heat and cool off with some exotic eats. The Cultural center offered workshops all weekend, and it was so heart-warming to pass by the Kid Zone and Family camping area and see all the babies playing and having the time of their lives. The Grand Artique stage was a must-see, and the Soapbox Derby on Saturday drew a large crowd and a creative caravan of crafted derby cars racing for the win. For those tired of eating camp food, The Last Supper club offered a chance to have a proper sit down meal, and the Lightning Without A Bottle camping area offered a sanctuary for sober festival attendees. DanceSafe and The Zendo Project were on-site to ensure everyone was safe and cared for. It’s also worth mentioning the creativity of the totems and costumes/outfits here was beautiful. I loved seeing all these beautiful souls free to express themselves in whatever way was perfect for them. This was also one of the cleanest festivals I have ever attended, I was so proud to see how conscious people can uphold the ethos of the festival. If you can’t tell already, I want you to come to this festival next year because it is absolutely wonderful and you will leave here a better person then when you arrived.
Until next time party people! Keep an eye out for pre-sales for tickets to Lightning In A Bottle next year!
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