Dear Lightning In A Bottle,
I’ve never thought about writing a letter to festival before, but if one ever deserved a heartfelt personal thank-you from me, it’s you. When we were first introduced, I was a lot different. I was at my first Coachella in 2011 and had no idea what I was doing. I stumbled upon you (the Do Lab stage) because you were conveniently located in the middle of the festival. There was something special about what was happening there that I couldn’t put my finger on. Your vibes were higher than anywhere I had ever been. The people who packed your stage made me feel like we were all already friends. This was the weekend I learned about Lightning In A Bottle, and it was an instant “Fuck, yes!” decision to go to the real thing.
The next month crept by as my anticipation to meet you and see if you could repeat the Do Lab magic grew. The day finally came, and I arrived on site after dark with two friends. Even though it was late, you welcomed us with open arms as your greeter reminded us to pick up after ourselves. This instantly warmed my heart, as the trash at Coachella really bummed me out. I was also impressed that you had a shuttle to help me get my gear to my campsite. These little details really stuck out to me right from the get go. I went to bed that night having no idea where i was – but I felt I was right where I needed to be.
You woke me up the next morning with some upbeat music. As I headed out to explore there was nothing that could have prepared me for what I was about to experience. I discovered a world I never knew existed. This beautiful world was packed with art of all types: large art, interactive art, and dozens of painters creating their masterpieces stroke by stroke. Watching these artists over the course of the weekend helped me understand why art is so incredible. Watching a blank canvas become a work of art unlocked a piece of my brain that would never close again. My DNA started to change.
It was your art that opened me up and your people filled my heart. It took all of one afternoon for me to meet people who remain friends six years later. In all of my travels, I have not found another crowd as friendly and comfortable in their own skin as yours. Your crowd managed to not be intimidating, even though they all had cooler clothes than me. It didn’t feel like a fashion show – it just felt like everyone knew who they were and used their dress to express it. Being around so many complete human beings inspired me to find my Me. It didn’t happen overnight, but I know that I found myself because of you, and for that I will always thank you.
That magic vibe you gave off at Coachella didn’t come close to what i felt at LIB. Everyone I walked past or danced next to had a sparkle in their eye that I couldn’t get enough of. The entire festival felt like a house party of close friends. By the end of the weekend, it was clear that I’d found my people – and you became my home festival. These people would forever shape my life and introduce me to Burning Man, another event that would shape the present-day me.
This will be my seventh consecutive year celebrating with you and I have to say that watching you grow has been an absolute pleasure. Each year you get a little bigger, and yet you manage to maintain your magic and silliness in the community. It is almost overwhelming to think of the tens of thousands of people you have changed. Minds are opened, hearts are filled, and our world is improved all because of the space you create for us to grow.
I know I am not alone when I say that there is no way we (the festival community) could ever fully thank you for all for the magic you have brought into our lives. In the meantime, we will make you proud by picking up after ourselves and doing our part to amplify your magic this weekend and back into our day to day lives.