Striking GOLD With Lightning In A Bottle

It’s hard to wrap your mind around all the events of 2023 so far, but for me, and I’m sure many others, Lightning In A Bottle was an absolutely life-changing event. Taking place in the Central Valley region of Southern California from May 24th-29th, an eruption of expression took place that would shake the ground we all stood on getting to the festival was smooth sailing with the grounds being significantly out of town and in a perfect location. We arrived about 5 hours earlier than gates were said to open but they still got us through will call, and the front gate inspection very quickly and easily. After getting in, they had us follow to a wonderful camping location they called “sunset camp” which was right by the water and on cool grass with many trees for shade, an absolutely perfect camping spot. With all the artists, activities, and workshops scheduled for the day, we couldn’t wait to unpack, set up, and head out to the festival grounds.

Since this was my first larger festival bringing my little one-and-a-half-year-old son to experience the festivities, I couldn’t imagine choosing a better festival for him. Lightning in a Bottle was not only a place for me to feel at home and explore, but also a place where I could feel safe letting my son run around, meet people, and experience things for himself. While I would HIGHLY recommend bringing a wagon for this festival, the traveling wasn’t as bad as some others I had attended in the past. The ground was smooth, and the campsites were full of friendly people waiting to say hello. The kid zone, inside the grounds, was one of my favorite places to be, my kiddo was able to run around and play with other kids and still be safely contained. There were also many classes, workshops, and discussions held there for families and kiddos alike. I enjoyed the closeness of the kidZone to everything else in the festival including the main stages.

My favorite stage personally was the Grand Artique, which, while not being a “main stage” held my favorite kind of music which was live instrumental types. My favorite set I caught there was by Moontricks on Saturday night, they played all of my favorite songs as well as some new ones I had never heard of. The Grand Artique also featured a wonderful trading post where you could go, armed with the things you valued, and trade the gentlemen for the things they had there. It was a wonderful experience, and they even had many toys for kids to trade as well! The Woogie Stage and ‘The Stacks’ were two other stages near the kidzone, on either side of the Grand Artique, that showcased their own unique sounds and vibes throughout the weekend.

The main ‘Lightning Stage’ was the one that we entered from our campsite, and had some of the best set like ones from Beats Antique and Rezz. One thing I deeply enjoyed experiencing at the main stage was the ‘Earth Harp‘ which had strung harp chords from the very top of the lightning stage to the ground and had an artist running his hands along the strings to create this deep, harmonious harp sound that reverberated through every cell of your being, such a mind-blowing and unique experience. The other main stage was the Thunder Stage which showcased incredible art and sets upon its stage and in the grounds by the crowd. The stage showcased many incredible acts like Balkan Bump, The Floozies and even the Lightcode Set from LSDream. That set was special to me since I was able to catch it at Gem and Jam 2023 in Arizona and caught it for the second time in California. That set along with so many others, gave us a comfortable soundtrack for our exploration of that area of the festival.

Beyond the main stages, there were so many things to experience. There are so many art carts, renegade stages, and art exhibits to keep any festival-goer busy for days. The vendors showcased their art, creation, and unique wares for purchase along every free space of the festival. I also enjoyed the jive joint which held an endless amount of cassette tapes for people to mix and match any way they chose. They even brought entire front rooms with end tables and televisions to enjoy and relax in! I also found the vendors to be plentiful and diverse, the porta-pottys were always clean, accessible, and without questionable environments and the water stations were the same. Always available for a refill or a cool off whenever they were passed. Overall, LIB was a festival that had enough for everyone. Incredible sets, amazing food vendors, jaw-dropping art and workshops and a discussion on every subject imaginable. Lastly, the icing on the cake or the cherry-on-top for me was the fact that the entire festival was held along the edge of a gorgeous lake that had perfect beaches all along it, ready to cool off whenever the time was right. If you are looking for a festival that ‘has it all’, music, community, nature, and creation, this is definitely the one for you and your crew! Be sure to keep updated with the LIB crew at because 2024 tickets sales start this month!! Don’t miss your chance to catch tickets at their lowest price all year! See you at Lightning in a Bottle 2024!