Music, Art, and Community at Lightning in a Bottle 2014

posted by Rachel McGannon on June 09, 2014

Photos by Oliver Correa

Bradely, California -- The draw of festival life often comes from a subconscious desire to reconnect with the sense of village or tribe. This idea resonated strongly at Lightning In A Bottle, where free spirits from around the globe come to dance, learn, discover, and create together while camping under the hot California sun. A vibrant sense of community could be felt upon entering the festival grounds in Bradely, which was further enhanced through group lectures, open craft-making classes, kirtan, and traditional Native American fire ceremonies. With a plethora of yoga classes, meditation circles, live painting and spiritual exploration being offered daily, LIB is fully engaging and a welcome breath of fresh air compared to festivals strictly focused on the music lineup.

Dream Rockwell, director of Lucent Dossier and co-founder of LIB said, "LIB pushes us to explore new ideas, to go outside ourselves and get a little weirder, a little wilder, a little more free." This festival creates an oasis in the desert for artists and thinkers to come together in a safe and judgement-free environment to ask questions, exchange ideas, connect with others, and live truthfully. It is curated in such a way that one could easily be found discussing urban gardening with new acquaintances in a plant-filled teepee or paired with fellow prana enthusiast in a partner yoga class. The festival grounds (which, even on day 4, were spotless) are built around a Native American fire pit, where ceremonies are held nightly at sunset to observe and give gratitude to the transformative powers of fire but the winds of change blow that sentiment throughout the festival and beyond. LIB encourages its festivalgoers to engage with one another, to come together as a collective, to elevate one another and build, create, and grow as one; for together we are able to accomplish things we cannot do alone.

Music is one of the most powerful conduits for change and that sentiment was not lost on the LIB crowd. Social barriers melted away as the packed dance floor grooved to the dreamy tunes provided by Lee Burridge. Claude Von Stroke broke it down perched high up in a tree with a special guest appearance by J. Phlip. The Polish Ambassador lifted the audience into a dancing frenzy and William & the Earth Harp soothed the crowd with the epic vibrations from their larger than life harp suspended above the audience.

Music wasn't contained to the stages at LIB. There were various teepees throughout the grounds where festivalgoers could escape the sun. In one teepee one could find sound meditation with gongs and didgeridoo. In an a adjacent teepee an impromptu jam sesh could be happening and across from that, a drum circle.

Art is another focus at Lightning In A Bottle. Lightning in a Paintcan invited over fifty artists to live paint throughout the festival grounds culminating in a silent auction. Festivalgoers could watch as artists transformed blank canvases into beautiful masterpieces and all funds raised during the auction were split between the artists and the Do Lab Foundation, a non-profit supporting public art.

Lightning In A Bottle is full of beautiful and unexpectedly amazing moments. This festival welcomes hippie types, office types, gypsies, yogis, and everyone in between to explore art, creativity, music, food, love, and spirituality while building a community that long outlasts the festival itself.

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