An EastCoaster’s First WestCoast Festival

“Everybody is a reflection of me… and we are all one.” -talking about people’s personal styles [attire] & individualism-

Having recently moved to the West Coast, my summer expectations have been set extremely high as I get ready to experience festivals I never have before on the opposite side of the country. Needless to say, as the weekend of Lightning in a Bottle crept closer and closer I was filled with excitement, almost to the point of near insanity.

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I have long envisioned Lightning in a Bottle as my first west coast festival experience, and with the westward migration of many homies from the Use Your Head fam within the past year, this vision became more luminous. One of my first thoughts influencing this decision was in regards to the “rage gear” or unique costume experience that my homies tend to engulf themselves with. Our cosmic crew does not pack lightly when it comes to party accessories, props, toys, paint, glitter, sparkles, pets, and most importantly the meeting point of all sets: rage sticks. At this point, I was familiar with The DoLaB’s work and have had the pleasure of experiencing their event production, at Sea of Dreams and other NorCal parties. The way they go about assembling stages and developing atmospheres for large scale gatherings and parties is incredible! Surely having to take risks along the way, the 3 brothers’ fortitude inspires Lost in Sound to take things to the next level! All the while they have maintained and organically grown a wild, but especially friendly fanbase.

Clearly the decision couldn’t have been any easier, as I quickly found myself packed up and curating some last minute preparations for our cosmic Gonzo coalition for music festivals here in 2012. After just two hours in Los Angeles, I had already received my first bit of encouragement that LiB was the correct choice when I met up with a fellow LiB-er at 1am to pickup the almost essential, Car Camping Pass. The girl was in her 30’s and had a car packed with toys and tons of gear, invigoratingly similar to mine. As we chatted for a few moments she excitedly but so nonchalantly (as if she was a professional) told me she, “Still had to spend the remainder of her prep time before tomorrow’s festivities putting together the rest of her costumes and rage gear!”

Interestingly enough, the lackadaisical attitude shift or vibes from NY to Cali is initially quite apparent. The experience is less in your face and less dictated by the festival. At most festivals it’s pretty easy to feel free; however, at Lightning in a Bottle I felt like I was on the autobahn, trusted to go at speeds of my own deciding. Unfortunately, when you have an autobahn-like structure you are susceptible to people abusing the system. At Lightning in a Bottle there are a lot less intense people, intensely fucked-up, in tents. You don’t see a plethora of people doing out of line crazy shit merely to get attention from their peers. Of course people push the limits and try to expand their experience in as many non-conventional ways as possible, but you don’t feel people are acting rude, rowdy, or unsafe. In my opinion, the people in this community that draw attention to themselves are the happy and harmless giant buff dudes with full tans donning pink fuzzy underwear and giant raver/playa boots with diva sunglasses and your occasional eyeliner. Hardly something that effects my experience negatively.

Also noticeably different, the family vibe was much more present. At any point during the day you’d see kids running around, playing with each other, getting down on some mini-golf, and even being schooled on how to play with the big kid Burning Man type toys. There was a dedicated Kiddy-Zone, which featured scheduled activities, magic shows, and talks/workshops for the kids and parents alike.

Without exploring the cause-and-effect relationship between the hustling environment and the more family friendly one, it is safe to say I found it much more enjoyable not having hustlers and dealers up in my face the entire weekend. Aside from a few choice substances that I regularly am looking for to help keep it moovin’ through sunrises efficiently, it was nice to not have, “Molly, Doses, Rolls” yelled at me every which way I went. And I’m not only speaking of foxing agents. This goes for art, crystals, gems, & anything else people try and make a dollar selling. I just hardly came across those people that are there strictly to make money. These people have no investment in the participation of the festival, the music, the grounds, or the adventure itself. A common motive of the standard Wook [back east], especially as electronic starts to take precedence over outdated jam music.

On top of all that you then have your more subtle differences like the amount of trash and waste people consume and ultimately leave laying around. As Lightning in a Bottle has grown, unfortunately so has the amount of people in attendance that are less conscious of their surroundings and have a lack of concern for the environment in which we utilize to party. Ultimately, the earth, the festival providers, and the land owners/tenders are not responsible for all of our trash & waste. Self accountability is key and we can’t lose sight of that just because we are at a three day music and arts festival where getting loose is a common theme.

Something that might not be a difference in experience but more of a general feel and vibe at Lightning in a Bottle was an insane amount of love and affection for one another. I’m sure out of the tons of couples I saw many came together, however I also know that tons more connections and relationships, revolving strictly around love, were formed there during those 3-4 days. The bonds between people were aplenty and needless to say, SPARKS FLEW! 😉 Everywhere I looked there were people holding and/or dancing with each other; with nothing but that recognizable twinkle in their eyes and those heart-warming, one of a kind smiles. Plenty of making out and getting down, but on the contrary I didn’t see those girls stumbling/wandering around looking way to foxed up, at which point you express slight fear for their safety and hope that they don’t find themselves in the “wrong” situation… Alone in the middle of the night at a random camp site or away from the crowds with people they might not know.

This is not to say that none of this went down. I don’t want to seem like my vision is jaded, my judgement cloudy, or just plain naive. Everybody’s festival experience is exactly what they make it and so is the company in which they surround themselves. If you are wandering the site at 8am looking to get into some trouble or on the hunt for the more “sketchy” of drugs, you will be able to find those people [that make that their festival experience] no doubt. The relaxing part is that it is more difficult to find said sub-culture, even though it is still there. Overall, the negative influences are less prevalent and with the amount of noobies entering our realm, this is definitely the way I’d rather see things work out!

Leave it Better, Leave it Beautiful. This was Legendary in a Bottle. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Thank-you…

For LiS’s full media coverage of LiB2012, head over to our in-depth article here

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Thank you for reading…

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