Words cannot describe how magical this year’s Lightning in a Bottle experience was, you truly had to be there, but I will try my best in the words that follow…
We drove down from our perch at the radio station here in Santa Cruz, a quick two hour drive to the San Antonio Recreation Area in Bradley, California where the festival has been held now for three years. Made it to the camp grounds after a quick and easy check in at the gates where they scanned our wristbands from the comfort of our car!
The magic began as we started unpacking our camping gear and meeting people. Everyone was welcoming and all smiles as they unpacked, ready to start the festivities. The Do LaB really put their all into this weekend, because there were workshops, speakers, and yoga already going on since Wednesday! Five days of activities!
We unpacked our gear, stretched our legs and headed into the festival Thursday as the sunset. And though it seemed to me that the music would only start Friday, there were numerous tents, stages, and bars that had music going on all that first night. It was amazing getting the initial look at the festival layout and art before the festival actually “started.”
Friday began for us at the Woogie Stage with Italian-German, Belgium producer Sacha Robotti. Who set the bar high for the weekend with his funky-bassheavy dance set. On top of the great music start, the Woogie stage was an outstanding piece of artwork all on its own with pipes framing the stage and large funky pillars placed around in the crowd.
Woogie Stage at Night – Photo by Andrew Jorgensen
Friday evening’s highlights were Los Angeles, OWSLA producer Mija at the Thunder Stage and then following her, The Polish Ambassador who is from Oakland!
Big Gigantic blew us away per usual showing off his talents with the saxophone and a non-stop-energy electro jazz set. (Photo left by Juliana Bernstein)
We closed off with Grimes and Cashmere Cat headlining the Lightning and Thunder Stages and leaving us ready for two more days of music, art, and yoga!
We made it to Namaste Yoga before the music began the next day for a much needed hour of yoga to rejuvenate our bodies and get in touch with ourselves. Instructor Mark Morford reminded us to thank the sun and remember to stay grounded during all the commotion and activities of the weekend.
Photo by Andrew Jorgensen
On Saturday, our music adventures began again at the Woogie with Dirtybird producer Justin Jay. Then, following, was one of everyone’s (from our group’s) highlight, Space Jesus with his style of what he describes as “alien baselines” he did the Thunder Stage justice.
Our night continued at the Lightning Stage, with French-Cuban twin sisters who go by the name Ibeyi. The two played their own keyboard and drums and filled the stage with their astonishing voices. Later, we made our way to the eclectic bass beats producer The Librarian as she kept us dancing for her whole set. And as I made my way backstage to meet up with and interview Minnesota, I got a chance to introduce myself to Andrea, The Librarian, and chat! If you scan the Lightning in a Bottle lineup you notice the large presence of female producers. The festival founders responded to a question about the gender ratio in the lineup and said “it just happens”, there are so many good female producers and they deserve to make their appearance at such an amazing festival like LIB!
Saturday ended with a bass-heavy set by Bleep Bloop, Haywyre, and Los Angeles female producer TOKiMONSTA who played tracks off her new album Fovere including her track “Put It Down” with Anderson .Paak. Closing off the night were headliners and UC Santa Cruz alumni Minnesota & G Jones!
Sunset at LIB – Photo by Aaron Glassman
Sunday was both exciting and the mark of the ending weekend. Every evening LIB attendees had a sunset ritual of howling as the sun slid behind the camp grounds and mountains. My personal highlight of that night were the three sets who went back to back at the Thunder stage, Dimond Saints (photo right by Aaron Glassman), EPROM and Mr. Carmack who “threw down” as they say and did not hold back. Finally we made our way to Chet Faker who you might know from his Lockjaw EP with Flume. Chet Faker’s signature voice closed off the night for the main stages. The night did not stop there, though. The music and festivities continued till the early am’s at the tree house Favela Bar, club-like Pagoda bar, and throughout the campsites and festival grounds.
Lightning Stage – Photo by Juliana Bernstein
KZSC thanks the Do LaB and Confluence for such an incredible weekend and amazing photos, since my iPhone cannot do this festival justice. We were so honored to be able to join the community and be part of something so beautiful!