I should preface this by saying this is not the recap article I was planning on writing. When we had the opportunity to cover Lightning in a Bottle for the second year in a row, Danny and I didn’t even have to bat an eye before conferring on an answer. Yes, yes, unequivocally yes. Since the time I heard of Lightning in a Bottle several years ago, I knew deep down in my heart that there was something so intrinsically special and important about this festival. Our lives, our friendships and our relationship all revolve around live music. From concerts and clubs to raves and multi day music festivals, we eat, sleep and breathe music and dance like every cell in our body is affected. It’s something that we can both experience individually, communally and romantically all within the same moment.
Two years ago, we said ‘I Love You’ for the first time at Lightning in a Bottle. Last year, we conquered our first major festival as contributors to The DJ List and this year, we were back for the third time – for him, to cover the festival as a photographer for The DJ List and for myself, working on the Press Team with The Confluence – one of the hardest working, boutique PR firms on the West Coast.
We had an amazing weekend and met dozens of warm hearted, life loving, amazing individuals. Unfortunately, those memories are now marred. On Monday morning while we were packing, we noticed that things weren’t right. First, we noticed that our 13″ Apple MacBook Air was stolen. Then, we realized that other trivial things like an Apple Lightning Cord + Phone Charger were gone…and so was our favorite pillow. After putting 2 and 2 together to make 4, we’ve come to the conclusion that we’d been watched all weekend. The two of us had gone back and forth to the tent from the Press Area with our gear several times, and over the course of the week – someone must have been watching. We weren’t just robbed, we were targeted. They didn’t just take from us, we were violated. And, this isn’t just a laptop – this is Danny’s photo laptop.
This is where he’s edited pics from Lucent Dossier, HARD Day of the Dead, Gem and Jam Festival (one of which was featured in the Huffington Post!), Desert Hearts and Sea of Dreams; not to mention, artists like EOTO, Russ Liquid, Paper Diamond, Dreamlyfe, Seven Lions, Bassnectar, Krewella, Cosmic Gate, Armin van Buuren, Markus Schulz, Zion I, G Jones, RL Grime and so much more. He’s also working as a live theater photographer and has deliverables to turn in weekly. The stolen laptop is more than an inconvenience, it’s a monetary drain and is putting his work – his AMAZING work – on hold.
What’s personally disappointing is that this is billed as a transformational festival; this is a supposedly safe place where we can be free, vulnerable and open – with our hearts, our homes, our minds and our belongings. The fact of the matter is that this could’ve happened to anyone – but it happened to us; just because we had to learn a difficult lesson, doesn’t mean you need to learn one yourself. We’ve thought of a few tips and tricks for you guys so regardless of if you’re a photographer, videographer or simple a festival freak who enjoys enjoying themselves – take some notes, be safe and let’s make sure we keep our ever evolving community in check.
- Apply for Car Camping! When your car’s locked, it’s just a giant lock box. If you can manage to keep your car next to your campsite, you’ll be set the entire weekend.
- If Car Camping isn’t available, see if you can get back to your car easily every night to put things in a safe place.
- Check with the Press Team and see if Lockers are available. Bring your own lock.
- Minimize expensive equipment. You don’t need your entire closet of cables, computers and camera gear – just bring your bare necessities.
- Always close your tent completely; lock it if you have a lock
- Never rush through camp – make sure you cover your equipment and retrace your steps.
- Keep your gear on your person as much as possible
- Back up your data on a portable hard drive or on the cloud
- Download ‘Find My Phone’ to keep tabs on your gear
- Stay sober-ish. I’m not saying have fun, but an inebriated mind isn’t the best judge of character or equipment safety.
All of the pictures used in this post wouldn’t have been possible without the gear we’ve had, and I’m crossing my fingers that we don’t have to miss amazing opportunities and coverage because someone decided to be selfish and horrible.
With the immense amount of support I’ve gotten – my friends have told me to make a Go Fund Me page – so here we are.
If you’d like to donate, even if it’s only $5 – anything helps! I don’t care if we make all of the money back for a new computer, I don’t even care if we only make half – I just want us to continue doing what we love doing, because covering live music and being part of this community is something that both of us are so passionate about.