LIB returns after the pandemic with some amazing vibes! For those of us who got Early Arrival, it was a 6 fun-filled days of music, dust, friends, and heat. Here were some of the highlights in music, environment, and people.
The Music 11/10
The diversity in music was immaculate. From wonky Bass Music to House and Techno, to classic EDM and Hip-Hop, whatever music you’re into, it was at LIB. It was a perfect opportunity to get lost and discover new sounds.
Some of my favorites were:
Kyle Watson: because it was the first time I made it out on Friday after the heat died down. And it was at the Woogie Stage which is my absolute favorite in terms of visuals.
G Jones B2b Eprom: after all that House, it was nice to get a little break. It was the final set at Thunder so they closed out with a lot of wubz and even more lasers.
Kaytranada: Saturday was rough for me (I stayed out too late Friday night, lol), but I managed to catch the end of Kaytranada’s set which did not disappoint. It left me wishing I hadn’t slept in so long!
Of the Trees: Sunday was my favorite day, kicking it off with Of the Trees. For me, Of the Trees is an artist I recently discovered so it was dope to get to see a few tracks live.
Rexx Life Raj: THIS WAS MY FAVORITE SET. Why? It was sunset. There were only like 50 people in the crowd. And he performed tracks from Father Figure (a KSJS favorite) along side a live band… a LITERAL live band. Rexx shouted out his best friend in the crowd, “Jimmy” — fast forward to 3 AM at the Stacks — I was hanging with some people from Berkeley and I asked, “did you catch Rexx’s set?” Turns out, I was talking directly to Rexx’s bestie, Jimmy. Small world.
Mr. Carmack: because you know he mixed all the Bay Area Bangers in his set. He knew exactly how to get us to go stupid, dumb, and hyphy.
Griz: Griz ALWAYS puts on a great show! He was on stage dancing with his sax, playing tracks from his recent album, Rainbow Brain, with a few hits from older albums as well. With fire blasting from the stage, it was exactly how I wanted to end things on the final night.
The Environment 5/10
There are some things you simply cannot change — like the heat, the dust, and the sanitary concerns surrounding the “lake”.
Setting up camp in triple digit heat was not my favorite thing to do, but once our canopies were pitched and shade was available, it really wasn’t thaaaaat bad. I wouldn’t recommend this festival to a beginner as conditions were rough, but as long as you had some kind of shade at your campsite, it was very manageable.
The dust was bad this year — I heard people saying that it reminded them of Burning Man — but hey, nothing a mask can’t help with! The dust and the wind teamed up a few times and there were wind storms that pulled up tents, canopies, and lots of dirt into a literal tornado spiral… it was crazy! [insert subtle reminder to use stakes]
Finally, this “lake” — okay, for as gross as it may have seemed, I was in that lake, and I probably would have suffered some level of heat exhaustion without it. I don’t think Kern County or the city of Bakersfield would approve of us swimming if it wasn’t safe. Plus, it made showering off after seem like an absolute luxury.
The People 7/10
From the event staff at check in, to the food vendors and security, the people were friendly AF. It’s easy to be in a bad mood when it’s 97 degrees and you’re dealing with dazed and drunk party animals, but I didn’t come across one bad vibe from the workers and groundskeepers. Everyone was truly awesome!
I ran into a million old friends and familiar faces from past festivals, shows, and events. I made a bunch of new friends and even more memories! I had the pleasure of camping with a HUGE crew, which made wandering off easy since I knew there would always be someone back at camp.
One the other hand, some of the attendees were a bit much. I felt like LIB accidently attracted a bunch of influencers who seemed to care more about their selfies than their trash or cleaning up after themselves. After taking a few years off due to COVID, I feel like it’s inevitable though.
On Monday, when it was time to pack up and go home, it was a wasteland of broken canopies and piles of unsorted trash… as if there was no attempt to pack out. I even overheard a campsite nearby explain that with how much they paid to come to this event, they shouldn’t be responsible for their mess. Sadly, that’s not the LIB vibes I know and love.
I am looking forward to seeing less of this in the future. Until then, we will lead by example, spread the word about packing out, and of course, bring extra trash bags.
Overall, Lightning in a Bottle holds a special place in my heart. I frequent many festivals all over the country and nothing compares to the intricate details and outstanding production at LIB. It’s one of those festivals you have to go to a few times in order to fully immerse yourself in all Lightning in a Bottle has to offer. From the music to art installations, workshops to yoga sessions, it’s truly a festival worth visiting.
Just remember, if you join us in 2023, LEAVE NO TRACE. See you at the Woogie!