Coming Back Home to Lightning in a Bottle with Do LaB

For the 11th edition of Lightning in a Bottle (LIB), production company Do LaB managed to yet again amaze, mystify and inspire attendees with a magical and transformational experience. Each year seems to top the previous one in more ways than one.

From the world-class music selections, seminars, meditation, and more, LIB has proven time after time that they are one of the best festivals in the country.

The amount of hard work, dedication, love and attention to detail is amounted to by no other festival I have been to. Do LaB has always made sure that no matter what reason you are there for LIB that you always come away with something different than the time before while ensuring your first time there is something you will never forget.

Lightning In a Bottle 2016 via Juliana Bernstein
Lightning in a Bottle 2016 via Juliana Bernstein

Taking advantage of an Early Arrival pass that ensured a supreme camping spot and upon arrival at LIB headquarters in Bradley, CA, it felt as if I had never left and was instantly thrown back to my first time at LIB last year. With my name also being Bradley it truly is a homecoming for me.

The sun shining its immense rays down upon the campgrounds signaled that summer is here and you were among some of the best possible vibes and energies from friends old and new.

There was not a single bad experience with someone to be found the entire 6 day long excursion in central California.

We set up camp at the centrally located High Grounds near the Meditation Lookout and began to roam, drink and embrace the weirdness that would consume the festival grounds as the heartbeat of LIB started to beat with love, warmth and an endless smile.

Pagoda - Lightning In a Bottle 2016
Thunder Stage – Lightning in a Bottle 2016

Lightning in a Bottle is unlike any other festival I’ve experienced. After attending some 30 odd festivals since 2012, each one has something different to offer. Depending on what you are looking to gain from a festival experience, LIB has everything I could possibly want and then some.

The music will always be a focal point for me, however it’s the combination of everything else present that makes up the whole of the adventure.

With an ample amount of side missions to undertake, Do LaB creates an immersive and interactive environment for attendees to participate in and enjoy.

Aside from 3 main stages, 2 bars with all night music, a Grand Artique for folk and indie music; Lightning in a Bottle is filled with yoga, meditation, seminars and workshop opportunities as well. Not to mention some of the best festival food I’ve had the privilege of laying my taste buds into (Dough Lab for life).

To go along with everything on the schedule, the heart of each late night/early morning after-hours insanity was set in the campgrounds.

Lightning In a Bottle 2016
Lightning in a Bottle 2016

There are also a plethora of merchants on site offering their custom and love filled items available for sale. My boys at Damascus out of San Diego showed me some love with their new gear and set me up with a dusk mask that came in clutch over the span of 6 wind and dust filled days.

I was also able to check out a marijuana legalization seminar and festival drug law session, Lion King yoga DJ meditation, and even witnessed roaming ghosts occupying a bamboo bridge on Saturday and a psychedelic bingo event on Friday.

Damascus Apparel - Lightning In a Bottle 2016
Damascus Apparel – Lightning in a Bottle 2016

From renegade stages to campsite DJ’s and cuddle puddles, if you merely had plans or just stumbled upon a random camp you were in good hands.

Meanwhile at the Pagoda and Favela Bars, some of the best underground house and experimental bass music I’ve ever heard took place as well as a groovy 80’s Themed Prom at the Favela on Thursday night.

Camping Grounds - Lightning In a Bottle 2016
Camping Grounds – Lightning in a Bottle 2016

Among the haze of my memory during the weekend at times, what I can tell you that the sets that stood out to me the most were those by artists I had never seen before.

Starting and ending each regularly scheduled sets at the house haven of the Woogie Stage; the talents of Sacha Robotti, Josh Wink, Four Tet, Guy Gerber, Lee Burridge, andhim plus a Woogietastic set by Justin Jay provided the perfect way to start day and warm things up for the beginning of each morning before the onslaught of endless rambunctiousness till the sun came up.

Lightning In a Bottle 2016 Lineup
Lightning in a Bottle 2016 Lineup

A steady driving energy, beat and mind set of house music is the only way to go at a festival of this nature as a way to either start up your batteries or recharge them.

At the Thunder Stage, non-stop earth shaking bass rang through the infamous Do LaB stage. From witnessing Bleep Bloop, TOKIMONSTA, G. Jones b2b Minnesota, Mija, Pantyraid, Dimond Saints, Autograf and EPROM, ravers and hippies alike got their existential freak on and I’ve never seen so many top-notch, otherworldly totems in one place.

Mija and TOKIMONSTA impressed me the most as acts that turned up and those also in attendance can attest to this fact.

Lightning In a Bottle 2016 via Juliana Bernstein
Lightning in a Bottle 2016 via Juliana Bernstein

I honestly did not spend much time over at the Lightning Stage. While Lightning in a Bottle has always done a superb job at hand at it’s curation, most of my time was spent at the other stages and bars throughout the festival. I was however able to catch Jamie XX, Lucent Dossier Experience and Hundred Waters and just a bit of Big Gigantic for good measure in passing from the Thunder Stage.

No matter what reason you are there for LIB, you will always go away with something different than the previous time.

All in all this year’s Lightning in a Bottle surpassed any expectations I might have had and put me right back to when I went for the first time last year and then some.

The accumulation of weirdness everywhere you looked, endless adventures with friends new and old, laughing spells and infinite dancing made up for one of the best weekends of my life.

Do LaB

To be in a place where nothing but love and good vibes are present is what holds LIB together and I can’t wait to go back home again next year and many more years to come.

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