Published on July 26th, 2013 | by gatsbyadmin0
Lightning in a Bottle
Wonder. Joy. Gratitude. Self-Expression. Creating a container for such magic is the greatest challenge in the festival community. Striking a balance in setting bounds on this expression while organically allowing for growth and development is an important part of the evolution of arts and music events. At Lightning in a Bottle this year, the lightning was unmistakeable and the bottle exquisitely adorned, if poorly shaped and placed. The Do Lab knows their stuff–the production and all of the art and music and magical outpouring of gifts was in keeping with the spirit of LiB, but the new location failed the to do the festival justice, on several key accounts, most notably late night sound.
The “bottle” which contained the lightning–the magic–of this unique gathering, was one a genie would be pleased to call home. Luxe and rustic fabrics played against each other to create shade, intimate nooks, and relaxing places for learning,connection and tranquility. Repurposed cans went from profane to sacred in the Temple of Consciousness and natural materials shone at the Bamboo stage. Mid-afternoon dance parties at the Woogie stage (nicknamed “the treehouse” for its elevated perch, were accommodated by a swath of hammock-populated trees and the blessed water and mist cannons. In addition to these playgrounds, participants delighted amongst the offerings of Lighning in A Paintcan, the Do Art Foundation‘s live painting and exhibition and fundraising auction. In the Temple of Consciousness area an entire village of vendors, healers and artisans brought tepees, yurts and pop-up workshops to life. Each of the elements there…the metal-smith, weaving her gorgeous armor, the heartist bringing the earth’s gifts into sacred form, the glassblowers mastering fire, and the miller dying linen with indigo….the alchemy was palpable here.
Everywhere was art and performance. People giving their gifts..theme spaces like “Frontierville” and Amori’s Cabaret–a popular late night rendezvous….bold characters galavanted amongst the crowd. The production was thick, and it created a strong atmosphere. This was a saving grace during the late nights, which felt empty and odd and somewhat meandering without the presence of main stages. Due to an agreement with local authorities, the stages were shut down at midnight each night. This left late night options like the Cabaret and a Psychedelic Bingo match, as well as art installations to wander amongst. The feeling was a bit like Burning Man…wander till something strikes your fancy…however, most participants were not anticipating that sort of free-wheeling evening, and it seemed that many felt let down on Saturday night. Even the “renegade” sound camps that had originally been sanctioned to do late night sets were squashed, as security whipped around with megaphones and Kubotas on the hunt for sound. The scene was a tad absurd on Shakedown Street Saturday night as a guard used a megaphone, from across the path, to request that a vendor not use amplified sound…which was the grand total of an iPod being played through a single speaker. It felt a little bit like Footloose meets Festival….”you mean no music allowed?” So, of course, out came the hand drums…..
This is not to say that the event lacked music. Headliner Nicolas Jaar was a stand out of live electronic sound manipulation, as was Andreilien’s afternoon space jam on the bamboo stage, complete with mud pit. The Bay Area’s Liberation Movement was an awesome discovery on the Temple on Sunday night, and LA’s Lucent Dossier Experience blew minds with their incredible aerial and fire performers, live art projection, dance and music extravaganza. Another favorite was Gigamesh‘s saucy afternoon on the Woogie stage.
Overall we were transfixed by the community building interactions, empowering and provocative lectures, intense healing and immense expression. Next year we hope The Do LaB finds a home more suited to LiB’s unique blend of vibrant…and sometimes loud revelry….and maybe, just maybe some water we can swim in?