Gathering a bag of your clothing caked in dust, scratching twigs stuck to the bottom of your pants. Sweat spilling off of you and carrying your weekend’s worth of garbage in your hand (“Leave it Better, Leave it Beautiful”). Yet serenity encapsulates you as you begin the slow crawl towards home. A kindred spirit of sharing and wtfness is common currency — Each of us cognizant that something happened here this weekend. And whether we can verbalize just what it was or not, it sits upon our shoulders as we promise to protect it. To bottle the lightning for ourselves as we move forward in time, backward towards the lives we were living before this warp in time.
Lightning in a Bottle is much more than another desert rave. It is the experience of learning that we instinctually long for. Striving towards a positive future. Barefoot upon the playground of life. Stumbling upon circumstances that are too profound to be learned from a book. Gathering around great thinkers of our generation as they impart wisdom upon us.
Meanwhile we align our spines upside down from silks planted in trees for us to play with. We see all ages intermingling. Adults frolicking like children, children breathing deeply in conference with divinity within. Advice and wisdom of the land passed along from our ancestors who have inhabited it for centuries, sweet innocence escaping from the tiptoes of little ones.
We find ourselves at festivals wide open to possibility, receptive to the moment(um) that is bestowed upon us. We invoke our nervous systems, mind, body, spirit to indulge in the moment. Producers of LIB, The DoLab take it upon themselves to create a space where this receptivity is challenged to embrace and engage with positive change. We allow our subconscious to absorb with open pores and multiple sun salutations.
The artists chosen to perform, or the one's that request to perform a la Moby do not play music that subliminally encourages one to party to the point of self-destruction. They move us forward towards infinity and they tell us why its worth the journey. With his complimentary talk on music therapy, the techno shaman, Moby himself, explained his newfound musical sense of purpose as he links with UCLA to discover the tangible healing benefits of music on the mind and body. Stellamara, William Close & The Earth Harp, Fabiano do Nascimento. Endless fun in the sun at the Woogie Stage basking in the sounds of EVeryman alongside Pumpkin through revolutionary Pure Groove Sound System. An unforgettable set from The Gaslamp Killer proclaiming, “It is our choice, and our right to f*cking rock out to this bass tonight!” as he mixed in genres from all over the globe- delivering a performance more engaging than any we’ve seen from a DJ to date.
Unlike the bewildering effect of festival culture's overarching drought of female djs, LIB called in goddesses galore. Top edm artists included Tokimonsta, Anna Sia, Blond:ish, J Phlip, Tara Brooks, and Natasha Kmeto-- not to mention headliners Little Dragon and Phantogram’s emotion soaked lyricism. What’s your excuse ‘Electric (insert any title here) Festival’?
LIB seeks to embody a prototype for conscious evolution communities. As Co-Founder Jesse Fleming reiterated, transformative festivals provide a chance to “change the cultural dialogue”. Lightning in a Bottle does not toss this opportunity aside, they actively engage their attendees, challenging them to pay close attention to what they recycle, encouraging them to look out for one another, confronting the insensitivities of cultural appropriation asking “If a Native person sees you in that headdress, will you feel awkward?” in its extensively informative festival pamphlet.
This year at San Antonio Lake, LIB yet again created a liberated space where we can try on our utopian dreams and envision a future worth procreating into. A collective conscience instills the importance of pushing forward towards tangible change. This is embodied at the Temple of Consciousness, curated by LIB Co-Founder, Dream Rockwell who emphasized the need for realized unity, “If we don’t go together, guess what, we’re not going”. With thought leaders including Daniel Pinchbeck, and Founder of Youtube, “Chad Hurley” imparting wisdom of experience upon our eager ears.
The body is revered at LIB. Yoga icons with followers to rival Justin Bieber and the pioneers of the dance world give workshops throughout the day. Lucent Dossier Experience kicks off their 16- city tour with a mindblowingly majestic performance. Stellamara ushered us through the deepest hours of night with a spellbinding performance featuring the world’s most mesmerizing belly dancers.
A performance that left an imprint of enchantment in the hearts all who chanced upon it in the twilight hours. Elana “Meta” Jaroff , The Furies, and Aradia engage the public with workshops and showcases.
So what sets LIB apart from the ever growing list of international music festivals? A genuine commitment to creating the prototype of a future worth living in. When’s the last time you stepped into an environment that meticulously brought this to life?
At music festivals, massive numbers of individuals come together for a collective experience. Individual receptivity can be accredited to a number of determining factors that often present themselves at these events. It is beyond a doubt that in this community, a certain something happens. One can write off this experience as ‘new age’, ‘hippie’, or ‘frivolous’. But the reality of the situation is that individuals who experience these circumstances let down their guard. Any individual who has attended a music festival is likely to have reached a point in their experience where they didn’t know where they ended and where the music began, dancing harder than they ever thought physically possible.
Scientifically, this is known as a state of ‘trance’ - “a hyper or enhanced suggestibility“. Trance states may be accessed or induced by various modalities and is a way of tapping into the subconscious mind for a variety of purpose. However, it is easy for trance to be used for negative purposes, with malintention, or in the case of most mainstream festivals, for commercial gain.
According to Chief Clinical Hypnotherapist Devla Mahler of Paradise, The Hypnosis Spa, “In the state of trance, the individual, the collective is exceptionally susceptible to the suggestions that they receive from their surroundings- more so than usual. Clinically induced altered states of consciousness if harnessed correctly, can create immediate life changing healing - transformation in both the mind and body. Life long paradigms, and behavioral patterns… can vanish. It is in essence, accelerated neuro-programming. Such is the awe-inspiring power of our subconscious.”
In this way, LIB garners the possibility of life lasting techniques to reach a massive audience with unique experiences that encourage physical, mental, spiritual transformation.
Why is this relevant? With festivals expanding exponentially, either you or your loved one will likely attend one over the course of their lives. Its safe to say that the majority of music festivals have become commercial powerhouses- license for frenzy and limitless recreation at whatever cost. Shots, shots, shots, shots, and a vigilant search for Molly.
Last year’s deaths at NY’s Electric Zoo caused a cancellation of the festival. Questions about overdosing and reckless behaviour are synonymous with raves, whether commercial or underground. One can spend hundreds of dollars to numb the mind and and get lost in a moment. OR one could go to LIB and learn tools to take with you past the weekend while simultaneously having the time of your life.. Wouldn’t you prefer an enlightening experience to one that stirs up catastrophe by encouraging ignorance and greed?
Drug related deaths, sexual assault, sexism lurks in plain sight at these events. From 31 arrests and 2 deaths at last year’s Electric Zoo to recent glorified photo/ evidence of sexual assault at Mysteryland. Where headliners make hundreds of thousands on one night, females remain the image of the festival with their image yet remain absent from the stage.
Lightning in a Bottle seeks to harness the energy of the masses with the intention of paving forward motion. They do so with the focused intention of creating a “microcosm of a future planet” as Co-Founder Jesse Fleming elaborated. This may seem to be a lofty goal, but consciousness is invoked once mind and matter meet to actively engage a practical optimism.
We are presented with the chance to “change the cultural dialogue”, according to Fleming, to incorporate the importance of caring for our Earth, garnering the potentials of our mind, body, spirit. To educate ourselves and practice taking responsibility for our waste. For this, LIB is awarded the Greenest Festival for the fourth consecutive year. As a community, we embrace the chance to clear our thoughts upon the Meditation Lookout where we explore new techniques to heal the modern mind. We are challenged to partake in this experience of uplifting and to incorporate it into our own communities as we move forth.
If you were given the opportunity to live in a better tomorrow, would you embark?
Written by Alyssa Aparicio. Photography by Kelli Radwanski. Videography and GIF's by TallTree.
Alyssa writes to live life twice. As a professional dancer and music journalist, she applies her study of anthropology to the cultural phenomenon of the modern music festival. From SXSW to Lightning in a Bottle, Electric Zoo to EDC, she has traveled extensively performing in and writing about her experiences at the world's most anticipated events. Alyssa is Creative Director & Co Founder of WildSpice Magazine and Art Director of The Carnavalesque Beauty Movement. AlyssaAparicio.com
Kelli feels her way through life and her art. Each of her pieces comes from an emotion, a feeling, a fantasy that once imagined leaves her searching for that reality in her waking life. Her interests are as kaleidoscopic as the images she captures through the lens of her camera, and she hopes that each person who gazes upon them feels a resonance in even just one of its layers. She is a co-founder and lead designer at WildSpice Magazine, and web designer by trade. Check out her portfolio at www.kellirad.com.
Talltree is a freelance photographer and videographer by trade. His specialty? Creating honest art. "The challenge is recognizing what you truly feel and then figuring out a way to express it in a pure form, without filtering too much of the original feeling in the process. The beauty though is that the piece will most likely change into something you weren't expecting, expressing and meaning more than what you began with." See more of his work at Talltree.co