Somewhere between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Coachella and Burning Man, Lightning in a Bottle has found its place in the rolling vineyards of California’s central coast. For the first time since it’s unofficial start as a birthday party for twin brothers and co-founders Jesse and Josh Flemming more than ten years ago, Lightning in a Bottle or LIB descended upon the San Antonio Recreation Area, about 20 minutes outside of Paso Robles, Calif. Some 14,000 people piled into cars and RVs for the five-day camping music and arts festival that brought out bigger headliners this year — Moby, Little Dragon and Phantogram — on their usually DJ-heavy lineup.
But LIB has never been a festival that prides itself on its lineup, especially when you take into account the fest’s other eclectic stages that focus on self-fulfillment or, in hippie speak, finding your sacred space in life. But once you’re out in LIB, you’re out there, so might as well partake, like Moby, who spoke at the fest’s Temple of Consciousness before his headlining Friday night set on the importance of music as therapy, or YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, a childhood friend of the Flemming brothers, who answered audience questions on Sunday from the same stage on developing a startup.
You find the symbiosis between sanity and insanity at Lightning in a Bottle; having a good time and coming out of the fest a better person go hand in hand. You dance your ass off to some music and stay up till the sunrises, but replenish with fresh watermelon frosts and kale salad the next day after hitting the yoga tent. Phones don’t matter. You lose one friend to a DJ they’d rather see on the Woogie stage, only to make four new ones while you enjoy beats in front of the Bamboo stage. It’s one of those things you should hit up at least once in your life for the simple pleasure of letting your guard down and howling at the sunset from LIB’s Meditation Lookout, an adjacent hilltop above the festival, while Simian Mobile Disco’s glitchy beats echo in the distance from one of the fest’s plateaus.
Go once and we bet you end up going back.
Photos by Watchara courtesy of The Confluence