What happens when three ever-engaging, ridiculously charismatic brothers invite 15,000 of their closest friends to camp, picnic and party somewhere in the wine valley, midway btween San Francisco and Los Angeles? The answer is the biggest and most inventive Lightening in a Bottle to date.
The location of this year’s LIB at a new rural venue truly shaped the weekend. Northern and Southern California brought their share of musicians, artists, hipsters, organic farmers, and spiritual seekers to converge and share ideas, enjoy art, absorb inspiration, and interact with music and one other.
Held on three peninsulas of a dried lake, the Flemmings (the festival’s creators, Josh, Didi and Jesse) built a series of huge staircases to help shuffle people from one vantage point to another. RVs and tents surrounded the festival space. The result made for the feel of a glorious camp out and friendly mega BBQ.
Some highlights included the usual suspects plus a few new.
Lucent Dossier created their special kind of spectacle of wonder. Its creator Dream Rockwell seemed a little more relaxed concerning their work this year. Could it be that she truly has this festival thing down? I would answer a resounding yes! Lucent was on fire, and the space they curates, The Temple Stage, was truly lovely this year. It was one of the more peaceful, lovely and inspiring places within the festival walls.
During the day festival seekers were encouraged to reflect, relax, learn and ultimately just feel good.
The meditation space was set atop of hill overlooking the festival area. Delicate flowers and thoughtfully chosen crystals, rocks and other decorative items surrounded the space. People were encouraged to take their shoes off and lie on floor mats, making for a peaceful nest, perfect for a mid-day get away nap.
The Village was a very special creation this year. Here artists shared their skills and speakers shared their knowledge. Village creators designed the space with sacred geometry in mind. Its huts formed a circle mimicking the petals of a flower, with the intention that energy would circularly flow up, elevating the consciousness and minds of attenders. At sunset there was a fire ceremony thanking the universe for the closing day and directing good intentions to impact the next. I loved the reflection upon festival life and community that was prevalent here. I was honored to see a panel of elder women hailing from various indigenous tribes and a variety of cultural backgrounds speaking about the relationship of men and women both now and in our recent past, and the changing role of all people in modern culture. The Village was the true mindfulness center of LIB.
Lightning in Paintcan, the three day live art show of LIB, once again offered a diverse selection of artists doing their thing. I was so excited to run into an artist new to LIP, whom I met a few years ago at a solo show in Pasadena.
Ngene Mwaura‘s work is a maze of fine lines and wonderful color, woven skillfully together to create imagination provoking etchings. His pieces look like fine art cartoons. Originally from Kenya, one can see the African landscape playfully interplay with the landscape of Ngene’s own imagination in everything he creates? I talked with him a little about his experience
What did you enjoy most about LIB experience?
The environment masked by music and dance and arts of all kinds.
What was the inspiration for your piece at LIB?
My piece was a combination of inspiring thoughts on the way to LIB and a little bit of it too inspired by the people and stories from all people I’ve met.
What was your favorite art installation?
My favorite instillation was the Woogie Stage. I loved how much they added onto the topography and also helped ease the time and make for a much better experience.
As a lover of art and artist, I truly look forward to more of Ngene’s work.
Van Saro was an artist we covered in our preview of this year’s LIB. Much more of a veteran to LIP, having worked there for several years, here’s what he had to say about his experience this time:
My experience at LIB can simply be summed up as, I do it ’cause I enjoy being around good friends and friendly strangers. Not sure where I’m painting next, as I’m taking some much needed time off.
By night, artist Shrine’s stage was a true beauty to behold. He was excited about this piece before it was put together, and now we know why. It’s white and yellow colors and patterns somehow created a paradoxical work of intricate simplicity. More refined then his previous work, this piece reminded me of blend of the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal. It was Gorgeous, and truly one of my favorite Shrine installations to date.
On Saturday night, Moby gave us a super show of mind boggling intensity, as he stepped through his music to connect personally with huge audience.
Another place of nighttime wonder was the Woogie stage. Wow. The lighting here was truly beautiful. Created by Do Labber Todd Alter, who also did the enchanting light design for the The Temple Stage, The Woogie stage was set very much apart from the rest of the festival. Every time one journeyed over, its light towers seemed like breathing, living things watching over the entire festival. If The Temple Stage was LIB’s soul, The Village its mind, then The Woogie was definitely Lightning in a Bottle’s heart.
While this festival continues to grow, it is the creators’ intention that LIB continues to be a place of acceptance, learning, and freedom. This festival wants to inspire and mobilize ideas. LIB continues to strive to become more green and to allow thoughts of all kinds to find a platform and an audience. I hope you enjoy our photo essay below.
Larisa Stowe at Lightning in a Bottle.
Moby giving a talk at the temple at Lightning in a Bottle.
The stage Shrine created for Morgan Sorne’s performances. Photo provided by Shrine.
Ngene Mwaura with Lightning in a Paintcan.
Max Neutra for Lightning in a Paintcan
Hans Haveron for Lightning in a Paintcan
John Park and Van Saro painting live at Lightning in a Bottle for Lightning in a Paintcan.
Daniel Bilmes for Lightning in a Paintcan
Moby performing at Lightning in a Bottle.
Moby performing at Lightning in a Bottle.
Early Bird Circus performing at Lightning in a Bottle.
The stage created for Morgan Sorne by Shrine as seen at night. Photo provided by Shrine (enhancement to the image made by Cartwheel Art).