10 Experiences That Make Lightning In a Bottle Unique

Article by: Graham Berry|@Festival_Writer

Mon May 16, 2016 | 00:00 AM

There once was a time when music lineups were the only way to tell one festival from another. The stages pumped out a signature vibe and spectators meandered from one to the next in search of ever better experiences. However, somewhere along the way, fans started asking for more. While some festivals fell from grace, others rose to the challenge. The result? A rapidly changing festival landscape. Now, along with badass lineups, festivals like Lightning In a Bottle Art & Music Festival are answering the call with richer programming and inspired experiences, effectively turning a non-participatory show into an interactive adventure.

As a pioneering event that Rolling Stone just called “the perfect introduction for first timers,” Lightning In a Bottle serves as a portal for self-exploration with a litany of experiential elements designed to transport music lovers to a more expansive way of being. Huffington Post even included LIB in a list of 5 West Coast Music Festivals That Go Beyond the Music. As the mainstream comes to better understand the transformative world of this event, here are 10 experiences this year that a LIB festival-goer is unlikely to discover anywhere else.

Family-Style Dinners

Last year LIB introduced a full-fledged, family-style, sit-down dining experience to satiate appetites that require something with a bit more panaché than the average festival's food fare. Dinners are locally sourced, fully organic and prepared with compassion at three separate locations throughout the festival. While a few festivals have dabbled with some over-the-top catering options, LIB is promoting conversation, connection and enough sensational cuisine to shake things up.

Premier Live Painters

In collaboration with the Do Art Foundation, LIB is home to Lightning in a Paintcan, a robust art show with live painters scattered throughout the central part of the venue. With artists like Ngene Mwuara, NoMe, Amanda Sage, Hans Walør, Dela, WRDSMTH, Stephen V. Williams and Chris Saunders, LIB has become a beacon for painters across the country as a sanctuary for the free exchange of expression and a celebration of the spirit that drives them create.

Cacao Ceremony

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If spirituality is what you seek, pick up an early arrival pass and check out the Cacao Ceremony at the Temple of Consciousness on Wednesday, May 24. Participants will enjoy an authentic precession guided by South American spiritual leader, Porangui. This intention-setting ceremony offers participants the chance to experience a transcendental take-off prior to the start of the festival with authentic chants, guided meditation and a chocolatey elixir known by indigenous tribes to promote expansion of the mind and opening of the heart.

Immersive Environments

Super Tall Guru
Photo by: Guru

The theatrical, themed spaces at LIB are one aspect that fully separates it from other festivals, not least because they are so interactive that passersby occasionally becomes the stars of the show. While many of these iconic LIB spaces and performers – like Jive Joint with Super Tall Paul, Amori’s Casino & Burlesque with Paul E. Amori, The Grand Artique and the Fungineers – have since been infused into festival programming at Electric Forest, Shambhala, Electric Daisy Carnival, Symbiosis, Envision, Coachella, LIB remains the gateway for much of the most preeminent talent in the industry.

Boutique Camping with Onsite Concierge Service

Lightning In A Bottle Boutique Camping 2016

Let’s say camping isn’t your thing, but you don’t want to stay in a hotel. Or maybe you want to camp but don’t have the time to deal with the fuss of getting everything ready. LIB has a Do It For Me option that's pretty plush. In addition to getting some primo merch, the fest's boutique camping option comes with a real bed, a massive tent in a reserved in a centrally located (but quiet) space in the festival, and onsite concierge service to take care of special requests, onsite reservations and a few other errands.

Interactive Games

Lightning In A Bottle 2016 Daniel Zetterstrom Mega Skee Ball

Explorers at LIB tend to stumble into undulating gales of laughter. It’s the sound of friendships forming and a lot of the time, it’s thanks to the fun activities setup throughout the grounds that lead to competitive gaming and the wellspring of hilarity that comes with it. Without a doubt, stumbling upon a bowling alley in a ravine, or a basketball sized skee-ball game by the Ferris wheel are just a couple of the surprises that revelers get to enjoy. Fun leads to friendship during other activities like Karaoke and LIBingo, a retro take on the popular casino game with 70s-styled disco dancers, prizes and a live DJ.

Soulful Meditations

Lightning In A Bottle 2015 Daniel Zetterstrom Sound Healing

When it’s time to collect yourself, LIB offers a few ways to find a bit of zen. In fact, we counted eight ways to meditate at the festival. Many know the event for its incredible yoga lineups, but in addition to that offering folks can hike to Meditation Point, enjoy an energy healing in a reiki session, or feel what it’s like to experience the medicine of sound at the Gong Sanctuary with Danny Goldberg & Guy Douglas. For music produced from the largest stringed instrument on the planet, see William Close and the Earth Harp Collective; you'll be literally inside the apparatus just by being on the dance floor. 

Educational Workshops at the Village and the Learning Kitchen

Lightning In A Bottle 2014  Hannah Jill Ross

Photo by: Hannah Jill Ross

At the Learning Kitchen, personal health takes the spotlight. It's one of nine unique spaces within LIB that offer many learning opportunities for festival-goers who need a break from dancing and music. These areas host inspiring speakers who show up to pass on fascinating skills and important knowledge. Speakers at the Village and Learning Kitchen are curated to empower others with independence and self-reliance by Cristina Urioste, Eve Ladyapples and Isis Indriya. These three brainy mavens recruit leading intellectuals in permaculture and sustainability, natural health and personal wellbeing, and traditional wisdom and sacred ceremony. Sheer attendance numbers at these workshops is testament to the interest festival-goers have towards eye-opening experiences.

Spiritual Talks at The Temple of Consciousness

Lightning In A Bottle 2015 Watchara Phomicinda Temple Of Consciousness

The Temple of Consciousness represents the spiritual heart of LIB. Titillate your senses with A vast array of topics ranging from sex, love and relationships, consciousness hacking, Kundalini rising, indigenous intelligence, psychedelic culture, liberating practices, self-empowerment, superfoods and longevity. In addition to serving up ceremonial experiences, unplugged sets from Chet Faker and Nahko and a number of yoga workshops, the Temple also offers guests the opportunity to do some soul searching, to remember fallen heroes, or to contemplate the mysteries of life. It’s here that speakers like Prince EA, Dream Rockwell, and Android Jones can be found discussing the power that lies within each of us and the many ways to coax it out.

Fire Spin Zone

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For the first time this year, Lightning In a Bottle is unveiling a supervised, open fire circle! Now members of the flow arts performance community have a designated and protected space where they can tap into what they consider to be physical and spiritual therapy – a sort of flame imbued “prayerformance” that is both hypnotic and exhilarating at the same time.

Breathtaking Art Structures

Lightning In A Bottle 2012 Shack Shrine Daniel Zetterstrom2

Lightning in a Bottle is also widely recognized for presenting colossal art structures by revered artists like Ernest “Hoodie” Salinas, Shrineand Android Jones. In addition to supporting the art community, Do LaB also brings its signature shade structures to LIB to decorate the landscape with colorful hues and vibey spaces. 

The good news: it’s really unlike any other festival, but it has some of the best pieces of almost all the good ones. The bad news: Tickets are almost sold out so if you don’t have one yet, click here to get a ticket to Lightning In a Bottle before they’re gone.