2011 Lightning in a Bottle Festival, May 27-30–Notes & Photos


Lightning in a Bottle struck again! Another wicked, whimsical weekend of beats, no-baths, and beyond is in the books for the Do LaB. Vibes (and most of the crowd) were high.

The 4-day festival sold out by Sunday, with a capacity crowd of 12,500 people – 11,000 of those camped on site at Oak Canyon Ranch, in Silverado, CA. LIB has been growing steadily since its debut in 2000, with so many people coming back year after year, it feels like a family reunion. The camping was a mini city of tents and RVs, divided into “patches” named after fruits and vegetables. (Our little settlement in the vast village was called Radish Patch, right off “Stay Outta The Lake Lane”.)

By day, the fest was like underground, anti-mainstream summer camp. Hula hooping workshops, yoga, juggling, acrobatics, dancing, chanting, crafting, and eco lectures were scheduled throughout the days. Micheline Berry, Venice-based yoga teacher, led a class in the Yoga Sanctuary called “Rock the Shakti” with DJ Drez and saxophone and flute players amongst the yogis. Energy was high and the sun was shining.

By night, the love fest shifted its focus to dancing and music and community. Walking around in the dark from stage to stage and through the camps was like navigating a forest of LED lights and people dressed up like spirit animals and feathered peaceful warrior princesses.

Friday’s DJ and live music lineup was capped by a crazed aerial circus performance by LIB veterans, the Lucent Dossier Experience. Kraddy (formerly of the Glitch Mob) shined in Saturday night’s lineup on the main Lightning stage, DJing womping glitchy dirty beats accompanied by a live drummer. Fire bursts around the stage surged at peak moments. Later, Pretty Lights took the stage, but in very un-Memorial Day un-So-Cal fashion, it started to drizzle and a couple power outages interrupted the set. Sunday’s lineup featured DJ sets from Eskmo, Bonobo, and others, culminating with Thievery Corporation playing a groovier dance set spotted with reggae and dub.

Rain or shine, day or night, the beats did not stop bumping at all the stages – Woogie, Bamboo, and Lightning – until it was time to pack it all up and disappear in a cloud of dust and gratitude on Monday afternoon. Once again, hats off to the Do LaB for leaving us all tired and inspired. Now that’s how you throw a festival.

Huge, colorful photo gallery of the weekend below.