Date: May 24th-28th
Location: Irvine, California
Years Running: 12
Overview: Lightning In A Bottle is a transformational festival that combines amazing music, dozens of live artists, workshops and yoga into four days of bliss. The focus of LIB is on absolute freedom. You are on your own schedule and get to decide exactly what you want to be doing at any given time.
Crowd: The crowd for Lightning In A Bottle is flat out wonderful. There is just something about LIB that brings the best out in everyone. LIB brings the Burner crowd and combines it with the best of SoCal. If you are awesome and live in the area there is a good chance you will be going to LIB.
Side Note: The crowd on Sunday night was clearly difference. Many people that just came for Bassnectar didn’t really fit the vibe of the previous three days.
Organization: The DoLab puts on one of the most organized events I have ever been to. They manage to allow total freedom when it comes to staking your claim for camping spots while still remaining totally in control of their event. LIB rocks 24 hours a day and there is always something to find to entertain you. Everyone working there, including the volunteers, are super happy to help with anything you require. The DoLab does it right.
Stages: The stages at LIB are breathtaking. When you consider that it’s only a 15,000 person festival you have to be flat out amazed at the visuals that the stages provide. The sound at the Lightning Stage was disappointing though. During the Glitch Mob set it took them three fourths of the way through the show to figure it out.
Landscape: The landscape at LIB is dirt where you camp and grass where the stages are. This is kind of perfect. You want it to be a little dirty and dusty otherwise it wouldn’t feel like a Burner event. At the same time you want to be able to sit down and watch a show. Lake Irvine is the perfect setting for LIB.
Food: The food at LIB is an issue for me. I understand that they are all about supporting the green lifestyle and I think that is awesome. I just don’t think forcing your believes onto your audience is the way to do it. LIB doesn’t offer any food that contains beef, pork, or chicken. They did offer fish tacos but it’s just not the same. I had a couple meals that I enjoyed, like the pizza, but at some point I want a freaking hamburger.
What makes this festival special? Everything is special about LIB. The vibe. The stages. The people. It all combines into a magical weekend that will be one of the highlights of your year. This is one of those festivals that you have to wonder if it’s sustainable. The bar is set so high that it’s hard to imagine them getting any better. Thankfully I have 100% confidence in The DoLab and their ability to find ways to get better every year.
What could be improved? The food. Give us some organic free range buffalo burgers or something along those lines. It really isn’t that much to ask for.
Overall Rating: 4.75 stars. This festival is amazing and it will be worth the travel no matter how far you have to go. If you can’t have a good time at LIB…. you need to seek help from a trained professional.