The secret is out: Lightning In A Bottle is no longer the small, transformational festival that the coolest of Southern California’s festivalgoers frequent. Thanks to the hard-working Do Lab dreamers and an army of volunteers, LIB has become the standard by which all boutique festivals are now measured.
Every festival blog has nothing but great things to say about the event and the epic experience that it provides. But LIB no longer needs to be compared to Burning Man, Coachella, or any other festival. The festival experience that LIB’s producers (The Do Lab) have created is unlike any other. LIB’s commitment to art, yoga and education are unmatched in the industry.
This transformational edge is so unique that it’s the only thing you ever read about Lightning In A Bottle, which is exactly why I’m not going to repeat it here. If you follow festival news, you already know all about how the sum of LIB’s parts make it one of the very best festivals out there.
I’m going to write about something different. Something you can easily overlook when a festival does so many unique things. LIB marked my 100th festival, so it takes a lot to drop my jaw. But drop it did. What made me sit and wonder how the hell they did that?
The music viewing experience was the best I have ever encountered. The Thunder Stage nearly doubled in width and had LED screens that stretched from the front of the crowd and continued way back into it. Having the screens reach back like this added a new layer to the visual experience. Every show you see at other festival stages (with a few exceptions, like Coachella’s Sahara tent and Electric Forest’s Jubilee tent) only has 2 dimensional visuals up on the stage.
Because the LED screens went so far back into the crowd, LIB’s visuals were lodged in your peripheral vision. Seeing visuals this way is like seeing a show through brand-new eyes. I was instantly obsessed. With this discovery, the Thunder Stage instantly ranked as one of the best places I’ve ever watched music.
Not to be outdone, the Lightning Stage continued is glory from the year before: the sails that provide shade during the day become light reflectors at night. When the LED colors from the stage hit the sails, light bounces down on everyone below. This design is as unique as it is brilliant. I haven’t seen anything else that comes close to mimicking it.
The final piece in LIB’s trio of festival-stage dominance is the Woogie. The Woogie transformed from a treehouse last year into a massive neon playground. The entire stage was composed of dozens of glowing pipes that only Mario and Luigi could navigate. Watching music at the Woogie with its signature cloth pillars created yet another world-class music viewing experience.
Every stage was so well done that my biggest struggle was my inability to be in multiple places at once. Lucky for us I met Virtual Verite and have a 360 degree video you can check out and explore the magic that was LIB.