The start of west coast festival season began with Lucidity Festival in the gorgeous mountains outside of Santa Barbara, California. Santa Ynez and the Live Oak Campground, which hosted the inaugural Lucidity as well as Lunacy festivals, provided a spectacular backdrop and fluid festival setting that proved to be a unique and memorable weekend of music, art, and workshops. Friday found festival goers land searching for the perfect spot to camp and greeting each other excitedly. Large oak trees and foliage provided a welcome respite from the sun, something lacking from many hot summer events.
The grounds were divided into five areas: The Trixter’s Playground – home to the Alive Stage, featuring much of the weekend’s live instrumental and hip hop talent, Warrior’s Way – featuring workshops and designated areas for performers and dancers of all types, The Healing Sanctuary – home to the healing dome and an unprecedented collection of healers blessing festival goers with their medicine and energy, The Nomad’s Nook – featuring a large house stage alongside the well designed Audiowaska Stage (also home to the silent disco for the late night partiers), and finally The Lucid City featuring the Lucid Stage, where the headliners kept our booties moving all weekend long.
Everyone in attendance seemed to be there for the same reasons: to heal, commune, dance, and enjoy life together. Smiles adorned everyone’s faces as they attended workshops and found music spontaneously throughout the weekend. Sound healers bathed participants in ancient frequencies with the aid of singing bowls, gongs, and didgeridoos, cleansing their fields of negative energy and leaving even onlookers in a better state.
A collective from Ojai brought bushels of Ojai Oranges and fresh produce, provided freshly squeezed juice for many. Our good friend Docta Nick and his Conscious Bartending crew shared essential oil infused drinks, teas, and well designed potions to uplift the mind and spirit. The gathering was full of such thoughtful and gracious offerings, as many things were available by gift, trade, or donation.
Besides the abundance of healing and workshop options, the music was top notch throughout the festival, projected in pristine clarity through Funktion One speakers. Kaminanda started things off Friday night as the sun went down and really sparked the energy for the entire festival.
That night saw some of the best sets of the weekend from the duo of kLL sMTH and Atomic Reactor, 2NUTZ, as well as diverse mastermind ill.Gates. 2NUTZ threw down some artfully aggressive beats, ultra-glitched lamentations of the tortured cyborg soul, unleashing tracks off their album Bi-Tetral Inadvertancies and their forthcoming project. Ill.Gates closed the night with fast rap and hip hop remixes, dub infused beats, and fan favorites that made us all want to keep dancing into the night.
One of the best parts of a small, intimate festival like this is the discovery of new workshops and fantastic renegade stage setups. One highlight was San Diego’s Camp Ego Trip, located near the Alive Stage, which started the party back up at 9 am with quality bass music, featuring Kaminanda, Traveler, JoBOT, and west coast favorites Squama and GRiDWORK. Alongside the beats was freshly made sangria, served up cold to keep the dancing bodies movin’.
Saturday featured more impressive music from such names as DJedi and Dubvirus, Auditory Canvas, Wala, MiKHAL, ChrisB, and Digital Rust. GRiDWORK brought his Los Angeles infused trip-hop inspired melodic beats to the masses that flowed seamlessly into MiKHAL’s tribal, bassy set, reminiscent of his Fractal Nation performances in the past. Spin Cycle‘s renegade stage sucked us into spontaneous dance parties all weekend long, adding to the musical choices.
Painters known and unknown created amazing works of art, feeding off the vibes of the music and the energy of the crowd. Some of the best work we have seen in a long time was created this weekend by the visionary artists in attendance. There was a familiar art gallery showcasing some old favorites and new original work from many well known artists, surrounded by sculptures, live music, and a crystal shrine hosting ceremonial tea parties throughout the weekend.
As the festival came to a close on Sunday, many participants wore their dust-covered, weary faces with pride, showing no signs of slowing down, as the music began in the early evening. Seventh Swami brought flowing beats and whomps to get the evening started, delivering a stellar set that had room to move for some of the best dancing the festival goers had to offer. A great Bluetech set transitioned us from day to night, filled with emotion, new tracks and classics:
KiloWatts brought it as usual, with a glitch-hop set filled with toned-down bass lines and subtle melodies. Itching for some hip-hop, we headed to check out Zion I‘s set on the Alive Stage, as ill-esha started her set. Zion I brought an explosive performance with producer Amp Live, getting the crowd in the mood with a quickly evolving mix of familiar hip-hop and soul music.
Hypnotech brought a well-done set of many favorite songs remixed with his signature touch, originals and tracks from such artists as Tipper and Opiuo, getting the crowd in the dancing spirit. Digital Rust impressed as well in the set-up spot; his production has reached a critical level and it’s time to pay attention. Phutureprimitive closed out the festival with a similar set to the one he played last year, with select tracks from his new album Searching for Beauty in the Darkest Places, Pt. 1.
Lucidity has quickly become one of the summer’s no-brainers when it comes to transformational music festivals. Tickets have sold out both years now, and all in attendance had amazing experiences that will be with them for a long time. The emphasis was not on raging (there wasn’t even alcohol sold), but on connecting and learning, and it turned out to be a vibrant and healthy way to kick off the season.
Despite the midnight music curfew, we would like to see the festival continue at Live Oak for years to come. The layout was perfect, the lineup stellar, and the collection of people, healers, and education make this one of the best festivals we have been to.