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[The Audiofiles] Coachella 2k17: Choose Your Own Auditory Adventure

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Photo:// Daniel Zetterstrom for Do LaB

Over the last two decades, Coachella has transformed from a simple music festival to a cultural time capsule.  Between the LA Weekly ranked munchies to the immersive artistic experiences, and of course the exceptional musical talent – the Coachella Music and Arts Festival provides an adult playground while tickling the senses in all the right places.

In event, and in ethos, Coachella is an elite gathering of international tastemakers and up and coming West Coast talent, ranging from musicians and artists, to stage designers, lighting and sound techs, production managers and more.  The festival curates from the creme of the crop, and the energy surrounding the event is palpable as everyone is operating at their highest frequency. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. For two consecutive weekends, Coachella plays host to 125,000 domestic and international audiophiles, ten stages of music and around 200 musical acts spanning literally every genre, and then creating some live, over a 72 hour span. That’s just on site – so, if you found those numbers overwhelming, now – imagine being there.

That said, one of the many beautiful facets about Coachella is that it’s truly a choose your own adventure type festival, making the weekend anything you want to be. You can go to a punk show at the Sonora Stage one moment, then indulge your inner lyricist with Hip Hop artists from Travis Scott, Denzel Curry, Kendrick Lamar, and Schoolboy Q. Between the Heinekin Stage, Do LaB stage, Sahara Tent, Gobi and Yuma you can spend the weekend at a dance festival – wholeheartedly embracing the PLUR vibes that the event was made for. Or, you can only go to two days of the three day festival and spend the third having an actual vacation in Palm Springs, attend Desert X and come home revived for once instead of coming home burnt out. It can be a fashion show, a foodie’s wet dream or a family reunion, a chance for musical discovery and treasure trove of timeless favorites.  Sometimes it seems like the adventure chooses you, and not the other way around, but either way we all go in with one set of expectations and habitually have them slapped in the face, swirling at 180’s by the time we’re leaving.

The XX, Bon Iver and Bonobo were both gorgeous touches on the main stage, providing an oasis of calm in a colorful, and at times overwhelmingly overstimulating, storm; while in beautiful contrast, Kendrick Lamar closed the stage down on Sunday night, leaving the crowd with something to really think about. Per usual, the Sahara tent opened the doors to significantly more Rap and Hip Hop acts this year, once again providing a proper dance party with artists ranging from SNBRN, Galantis, DJ Khaled, Anna Lunoe, Gucci Mane, Autograf, GRYFFIN and more throwing down while keeping the energy up.

As with previous years, dance music has matriculated through the lineups on other stages beyond the Sahara. The Yuma provided a delightful disco den of deep, tech and progressive house with an internationally acclaimed roster of talent like Nora en Pure, Sasha, Tale of Us, Allison Swing, Dixon, Loco Dice, Hot Since 82, Four Tet-Daphni-Floating Points, and Maya Jane Coles.   Artists from Madeon x Porter Robinson, Justice, Tycho, Nicolas Jaar, What so Not, Jai Wolf, and Tourist were scattered from the Mainstage to the Gobi, and the Mojave to the Outdoor Theater. While the Heineken House and KROQ House both provided refreshing reposes from the rest of the grounds, with ample amounts of shade and air conditioning – two creature comforts that you have a hell of a lot more respect for after several days sweating to the beat in the desert. Last, but certainly not least, my home base and the place that always feels like a family reunion – the Do LaB stage.

As should be expected from Southern California’s premiere party planners, Do LaB’s stage designers outdid themselves with the construction of The Beacon, a bright and bold structure that will be coming with the crew to Lightning in a Bottle. Boasting a unique and expertly curated lineup for each weekend of Coachella, Do LaB’s stage is a wet, wild and whimsical artistic experience, fully equipped with dancing DJs, supersoakers, and high flying acrobatics; a festival within a festival, and a stage that’s a party within a party, quintessentially becoming a gateway drug to the beauty and beats of Lightning in a Bottle.

I think I’ve said this every year of Coachella, but kudos to the Do LaB for their impeccable bookings – perpetually and passionately giving us a birds eye view of the top acts in dance music.  If you’re in the mood for raw, upcoming talent – look no further than the first act each day: KNGSPRNGS, divaDanielle, Jonnie King, Oscure, Gone Gone Beyond and BOGL. Want a proper Sunday Funday dance party? Try the Desert Hearts squad on for size. And when it comes to big name artists, Do LaB provides an arena for artists to return to their roots – or just forge new ones, allowing for musical exploration and artistic experimentation.  For the first time since Chase & Status brought down the Sahara tent nearly a decade ago, Coachella had a true taste of Drum and Bass from Netsky and Liquid Stranger, oh – and then some guy named Skrillex showed up for a secret set and shut the place down, touching nearly every genre of music ever created and even creating a few new ones on the spot.  Other secret sets at Do LaB over the two weekends included Classixx, Richie Hawtin, Louis The Child, Rufus du Sol, Tycho and Autograf.

Two years ago, there was a giant caterpillar that roamed the festival grounds, metamorphosing into a lovely, large butterfly.  That was amazing.  Last year, there were corporate hippos, which were not nearly as cool as the butterfly but art being art, whatever – I liked them a lot more than the giant chairs and lamps which made me feel like my name was Alice, I ate something and now I’m in Wonderland…but Wonderland is just an Outdoor Ikea; anyways.  This year…well, this year someone let Dr. Seuss’s dildo collection loose among the main stages and though it provided some laughable moments, I just wanted that damn beautiful butterfly back.

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Coachella and the Goldenvoice name have grown exponentially over the last decade: adding more days, stages and weekends. But this year, for the first time in a long time – the festival increased in capacity as well, adding 25% in ticketed attendance and finally feeling the growing pains.  As festival population increased, the local Coachella Valley population also exponentially increases – and at a faster rate, to boot: consider the percentage of friends who would come and not even attend the festival, additional amount of event workers to handle the new stages, paired with a gross increase in the amount of events that occur in tandem with the festival – Goldenvoice’s LED Pool Party, Desert X and the menagerie of private parties for and by the musicians.

To combat the population  growth, the grounds were expanded and pushed back – but I actually had no idea where three stages were the first day, because fuck a map apparently. Yes, there’s a lot of room for activities but Coachella might finally be at the point of too much room for activities, when you actually get FOMO mid-festival because you simply can’t experience everything.   Handling the growth of the festival from inside it became relatively manageable by the end, but what wasn’t manageable was the parking situation which became exponentially worse as attendees trickled in through Sunday: causing up to a 3 hour backup as reported by the Press-Enterprise.  And if you wanted to forgo day parking and try using Uber, who has been touted as a partner with the festival itself, users were charged a disgusting minimnum of $175 – sometimes upwards of $250 – due to surge pricing as reported by the LA Weekly.  These two factors alone were enough to drive a variety of non-camping festival attendants to either exit stage left early Sunday and forgo favorite acts from Kendrick Lamar to Galantis, or take to social media to rant and rave about their first world travesties.

The adventures we choose at Coachella forge the musically monumental paths of the weekend, but I think the real testament to Coachella are the adventures we choose after we leave – did we find ourselves wanting more of a specific artist or genre?  Have we been rock fans our whole lives and suddenly find our niche with Dubstep and Trap?  Do we enjoy witty lyricisms in music and have a new appreciation for the incredible hip hop artists that were featured at this years event?  Do we snag our ticket to Lightning in a Bottle immediately upon returning home to decompress because we feel like we’ve finally discovered a hub of technicolor creation that mirrors the kaleidoscopic nature of our soul?

Despite the gradients of heat waves we endured for over 72 hours, each and every festival attendant left Coachella left feeling emotionally recharged, refreshed and revived – even if our sore muscles felt anything but.  We laughed, danced and discovered – not just music, but the true nature of ourselves: that child who had been forced to grow up that we’ve been shoveling under 40 hour a week jobs, forgetting that there’s another part to our soul that has needs and wants to – and fun in the sun with like minded souls to amazing music that touches every subject and genre is a large part of that. The idea of festival is necessary, when the only difference a stranger and I might disagree on is what our favorite act was – not which way they voted.

Keep your eyes on The DJ List as we dish on our top acts, best musical discoveries from the weekend and so much more.  To keep up on all things Coachella and their content curators, follow the links below – and be sure to keep your eyes and ears open because tickets for next year’s gala featuring Beyonce will probably go on sale any moment now.

Coachella // Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Goldenvoice //  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud

Do LaB // Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

KROQ // Website | Facebook | Twitter

Photo:// Watchara for Do LaB

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[The Audiofiles] Early Birds Get the Bounce: LIB PreSale Tickets Go On Sale Today!

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Every once in a blue moon, a festival evolves into more than just a weekend romp with newfangled friends and unlimited hours of music – it becomes a community that cultivates it’s own ethos, a family reunion drenched in techno and technicolor, a place that we call home for one weekend every year. That unicorn of a festival is different for each and every one of us, but for me – it’s Lightning in a Bottle. Now nestled into the campgrounds of San Antonio Recreation Area in Bradley, California – the Do LaB’s fabled Lightning in a Bottle Music and Arts Festival is set to return this Memorial Day Weekend.

Over the last decade, LIB has blossomed into a hub for West Coast Bass, House music that makes you Woogie and a vast array of both internationally acclaimed talent and up and coming, locally loved musicians, painters, and artistic visionaries – and this year, the festival will even have a few extra surprises.

Today, at 10 AM PST, the first round of tickets will hit the interwebs and with a stellar, sold out event last year you can bet your bottom dollar that these highly coveted Early Bird tickets will sell out quick like a bunny, while general admission tickets go on sale January 24th. Unlike previous years, there will be no one day or two day passes available for the event, every ticket will span the four days of the event.

Purchase Tickets Here!Relive the magic, music, and merrymaking of last year’s Lightning in a Bottle with this decadadently delightful video Directed by Ari Fararooy and Produced by Media Stranger.

For more on Lightning in a Bottle and the Do LaB, Head to their socials –

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud

[The Audiofiles] We Don’t Dance, We Woogie All Weekend Long!

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Woogie Weekend 48 Hour sale

Over a decade after their first renegade stage at Coachella and the inaugural installment of California festival favorite Lightning in a Bottle, the esteemed production hub the Do LaB is gracing us with the latest and greatest in festival weekends featuring one of the main attractions of LIB – the Woogie!

Anyone who’s been to Lightning can tell you – the Woogie is a special place to play during the day and dance your blues away at night. There’s some people who don’t ever leave the Woogie, and who could blame them?! Day in and day out, you’re led on a whimsical adventure down the auditory rabbit hole of bouncy, deep, playful and body bumping music. So it’s only right that we’re finally getting a whole weekend dedicated to it.

Taking place at Lightning in a Bottle’s old stomping grounds in Silverado’s Oak Canyon Park, the Do LaB proudly presents Woogie Weekend spanning from July 17 to July 19, 2015. Keeping with the LIB ethos, Woogie Weekend is a ‘Leave it Better, Leave it Beautiful’ event that promotes conscious living within a collaborative, creative community. However, in deviation from LIB this event will be strictly 18+.  The 48 flash pre-sale ends tomorrow morning at 10AM , so don’t sleep – Woogie your way to your tickets right now and be part of this extra special weekend.

For more details on Woogie Weekend, head to their website and for more information on the Do LaB – check out their socials:

Website |Facebook| Twitter.

Cross Published on The DJ List

[The Audiofiles] Losing a Laptop and Facing the Music

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

–> Go Fund Me: Let’s Replace Danny’s Laptop <–

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.

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Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

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Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

[The Audiofiles] LIB ’14: Let The Beauty We Love Be What We Do

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“Let the beauty you love be what you do;
There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the Earth”
Rumi

DJ Tennis at the Woogie

Dirt Devil Sized Woogies

Between the epic amounts of live music and menagerie of performers – from stilt walkers to fire dancers and back to the artists live painting  as part of The Do Art Foundation’s ‘Lightning in a Paintcan‘, the Lightning in a Bottle music festival has consistently and gracefully walked a thin line between Burning Man, where the festival draws it’s transformative inspiration, and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, where The Do Lab’s been curating their own bass heavy, freak friendly stage for the past decade.  Originally held in the sprawling Live Oak Campground in Santa Barbara where Lucidity Festival has been located for the last several years, Lightning in a Bottle’s been jumping around Southern California from Oak Canyon Ranch in Silverado in ’10 to Lake Skinner in Winchester for last year’s festival – all in search of a location they can continue to call home; and with the new location situated halfway plush in the hills of Monterey County between their devoted underground music communities of the Bay Area and Los Angeles  – it feels like they’ve finally found it on the North Shore of Lake San Antonio.

This guy was doing it right.

As with any year, this location wasn’t without it’s challenges – this wasn’t a festival that happened to have a camping option, this was a pretty rough and rugged camping trip that seemed to organically create a music festival inside of itself; and unlike previous years, the camping was intertwined with the festival grounds.  So, whether this was your first LIB or your third – everyone was met with new environmental challenges. Some people came prepared to let loose at a festival for five days, and just happened set up some tents while they did it – others came prepared to really rough it and set up camp for the weekend and happened to enjoy a festival while doing so.

As we waited in line for the mass exodus on Monday afternoon, dirt stained smiles and glistening eyes gave away the Thursday crowd that’d planned for Lightning in a Bottle for months – alternatively, complaints of heat exhaustion, distances to the stages paired with an overall lack of filth emanated from attendants that showed up with a last minute ticket Saturday morning unprepared for the mayhem and the magic. From Thursday when the majority of campers arrived through Monday afternoon when the majority left, we dealt with a high of 100°, a low of 49° (thats more than a 50° shift) and winds of up to 34 mph. If you were there, take a moment and brush that dirt off your shoulders – because there’s an actual chance with all those dust storms and dirt devils that there’s just a little bit still left over somewhere from the weekend, no matter how many times you shower or do laundry.  For those of you that have attended Burning Man, you’re well aware that the weather conditions at Lightning in a Bottle are nothing to joke at – and are at par, if not slightly more intense than last year’s Playa conditions.

Though held at Lake San Antonio, the lake was dry and the lake beds were converted into expansive camping space as well as two renegade stages – The Ditch, and The Drift; the former of which was hosted by Distrikt and now has it’s own Facebook page and the later was basically in my front yard and hosted surprise sunrise sets from the Desert Dwellers and Random Rab.  And for those that are still feeling the hills in their legs and thighs – there’s another reason to pat yourself on the backs, earlier this month on the South Side of Lake San Antonio, the Wildflower Triathlon was held for it’s 32nd year in a row.
Formerly a Chumash Reservation, Lake San Antonio is currently 30 miles from both a Recruiting station as well as an Army Base. Unbeknownst to festival attendants, residents of Bradley were given free entrance to the festival so they could experience the event firsthand and jump to their own conclusions about our intentions.  The second night of the festival, a rugged older gentlemen with an adorably welcoming olive green yoda beanie stumbled into my campsite and sat down with my friends and I.  After a small and socially awkward conversation, we realized that not only was he a resident of Bradley – but a US Army Vet with a conservative viewpoint and at that very moment time – a staunch representation of the reason transformational festivals are so important:

Well, I showed up in my camouflage hunting cap but that felt so out of place, so after looking around at the vendors I found something I was excited to wear – I lean to the right, but I have some real right wing friends and I can’t wait to show it off around them.

I didn’t know people could be so wonderful.  Originally, I didn’t want the festival here because I thought it would be a group of ignorant kids trashing the environment.  ” He admitted, “But now that I’m here, I see people throwing away their trash and looking after one another. This is a special group of individuals. There’s amazing live music, and the art! There’s so much art being created and being explored; I hope they have LIB here again next year, but if they don’t – I still want to go, and I’ll even pay for it.”

The Courtyard / Giggle Juice Cafe

The three main stages of the weekend – The Lightning Stage, The Bamboo Stage and The Woogie – each had such a unique feel and draw, which brought about three different types of musical crowds. Back at the road, back where the festival land starts is the Bamboo Stage – let’s think of this as your ‘One Night Stand’ or ‘Spring Fling’. You go there for a reason: you want to get your head warped and you feel an overwhelming urge to get hit with an epic bass drop; it hits hard, it’s sexy, it wobbles, shakes, can get sweet for a second but overall – the Bamboo stage is pure debauchery.

What So Not

 

 

Baauer

 

From the time Filabusta opened the stage at noon on Friday until the final set on Sunday, when The Gaslamp Killer gave everyone a lesson in Low End Theory as he hit them with the sound of an Earthquake – what happened at the Bamboo Stage was unprecedented, revolutionary and magical. Sunday afternoon was the hottest day of the festival both temperature wise (99) and musically.  From start to finish, the stage was stacked and hosted the surprise set of the whole weekendstarting with  Late Night Radio opening to a rapidly growing crowd.  There might be a limited dancing, but believe me, each and every last inch of shade was taken up by an eager crowd that didn’t care about a dancefloor.  Plantrae followed the only way he knew how, a melodic dubstep set layered with a live electric violin – the skills!   Other notable sets of the weekend came from What So Not, Cashmere Cat, who turned up the sexy on Saturday night, and Baauer who payed proper tribute to the Rap and Hip-Hop influences so readily heard in EDM.

 

Beats Antique Closing the Lightning Stage

The Lightning Stage is the ‘Long term, Serious Relationship’ stage: It’s moving, emotional, light hearted, romantic – but serious, committed (And if it’s Amon Tobin, it can be straight aggressive).  And just as anything emotionally important, the stage was tucked deep into the heart of the festival and was chalk full of emotionally moving music all weekend long.  Between amazing live experiences from Norwegian trio Kraak & Smaak, The Do Lab’s own Lucent Dossier Experience, Chet Faker and Phantogram as well as headlining sets from Gramatik and Gold Panda; each and every artist told a story, strung together beautifully and deliberately.

On Friday night, Moby threw a party straight out of a rave 5 years ago – as we shimmied up to the stage,  Infinity 2008 (Klauss Remix): Guru Josh Project: was blaring from the speakers – a bouncy, fun moment – but not what I had in mind when I chose LIB.  On Saturday, Amon Tobin threw an exceptionally well DJed party for himself and didn’t seem to mind that literally no one in the crowd was moving a muscle to the heavy, aggressive and industrial Drum & Bass tracks.  In contrast, The Polish Ambassador’s Sunset set on Friday night had everybody movin’ and groovin’ to his fresh beats, including the jumpsuited passe he habitually brings on stage with him and Beats Antique closed the festival with a visually stunning performance, getting the entire crowd – including local police officers – to get weird with friends and neighbors alike as they danced their cares away for one last night.

The Polish Ambassador at Sunset

Last but definitely not least, just a hop, skip and a jump across “The Ditch” – there’s that Woogie – your little sultry, sexy, little thing on the side where you go when you want to dance your cares away. From noon til midnight, Friday through Sunday, the Woogie was movin’ and groovin’ to deliciously deep house thanks to a brand new sound system from Pure Groove Audio.

Simian Mobile Disco holding down the Woogie

As the torch was passed from Los Angeles resident Tara Brooks to Maxxi Soundsystem and the bassline for ‘Regrets We Have No Use More’ came on, the dance floor exploded in energy; only to be topped by DJ Tennis, Damian Lazarus and the Dirtybird legend himself, Sir Claude VonStroke.  The jams continued into Sunday night where Lee Burridge played an All Day I Dream Set during the final sunrise and Simian Mobile Disco whipped up a seductive, old school set and reminded the crowd why they’re one of the best DJ duos in the business; simply put – if we ‘Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat’, they ‘Wake Up, Make Dope Music, Go To Sleep’

 

One thing I found – even though my days and nights were packed with activity, I felt like I both saw it all and saw absolutely nothing of the camp grounds.  On the first night during Ryan Hemsworth’s set at the Bamboo Stage, we jumped on the shuttle to Camp 13 (The RV Camp), because….well….just because – and it let us see just how expansive the festival grounds really were; absolutely astounding.If you had time between sets, you could wander into the vendor area to ease your hunger pains or get your fix of adorable festival worthy gear including Spirit Hoods, Jammy Packs, Electro Fur and amazing jewelry from the team at Third Eye Pinecones. As far as food was concerned, it’s a camping trip – so it’s always recommended to bring your own.  That said, the event offered some amazing food options ranging from Vegan to Vegetarian, and even Pescetarian if you were lucky enough to find the mouth watering sushi.  Between the breakfast burritos, seaweed salad, pizza fresh from the Do Lab’s Dough Lab that I’d gladly purchase any day of the week and smoothies – you could have your cake and eat it, too.  I’m all for conscious eating, so this was a great time to actively engage in the practice – but at the end of the trip, all I could think about was bacon.  Next year, if my camp plans a little better – we’ll just bring our own bacon, cook it – and add it to the breakfast burrito; hunger problem, solved.

Though it wasn’t as heavily advertised as the main lineup, other stages boasted smaller, but equally talented musical acts. San Francisco’s Silent Frisco hosted an after hours silent disco for the event once the main stage music had ended. San Diego’s Vokab Company and The Herbert Bail Orchestra wowed The Grand Artique – another alternative source of music for the weekend.  One wandering through the area was enough to delight and amuse the festival at large – with a mock election for Mayor, and a hidden speakeasy with some deliciously free pickle bottoms if you happened to know the password, or Joaquin Murrietta.

During the day, The Temple hosted talks from Bashar and Lucent Dossier Experience creator and Lightning in a Bottle co-founder Dream Rockwell.  Author Daniel Pinchbeck spoke on his book ‘Breaking Open The Head’ – a personal favorite’, Moby gave his thoughts on art as therapy and Youtube creator Chad Hurley divulged his secret recipe for following your dreams. Each night after the speeches were over, the venue hosted music – Wildlight – the emotive sideproject from The Polish Ambassador and Ayla Nereo – wowed the crowd early Saturday morning.  Sunday evening the was curated by up and coming Los Angeles locals, The Luminaries who brought in The Human Experience to close with a moving set on Sunday morning.

Wildlight at The Temple

 

Beyond the large, ornate and often fire engulfed art sculptures – thanks to The Do Art Foundation, easels scattered throughout Lake San Antonio filled with color as the festival grounds filled with happy campers.  A menagerie of local artists, including Vyal, Andrew Knights, Anthony West and Max Neutra, used inspiration from the festival to create paintings displayed at a showcase Sunday night of the festival, fully equipped with a silent auction. All proceeds go directly to the artists and a small percentage will go to supporting the public arts through the foundation, run by The Do Lab.

“This was my second year live painting at LIB and once again I was blown away by the amount of love and dedication that goes into LIB. Painting at LIB allows me to paint in a wonderful setting, converse with strangers about a variety of subjects and consequently feel true connectedness, spirituality and healing. When I paint I try to put the feeling of the music or talk into my work! Last year my painting evolved with the music I heard from the two stages I was I between. This year I positioned myself by the temple of consciousness and my painting slowly evolved into a psychedelic mandala! My surroundings inspire the direction of my work! I love how LIB allows me to push my work into new frontiers. The energy at the festival is my souls food!” – Andrew Knights

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Andrew Knghts with wife Amanda by his finished masterpiece

On Monday afternoon, as the temperature crawled past 100 – and everyone, for lack of a better term, was miserable.  As I looked around, I thought of everything  could do – I asked the Do Lab to turn the hoses back on, but they were busy – and rightfully so – trying to delicately tear down the Woogie. So I did the only thing that came to mind – grabbed a friend, unloaded squirt guns from our luggage, reloaded them with water and aimed them at the three hour line waiting for a shuttle that felt like it would never come.  Slowly, a collection of unspoken frustrated faces instantly lit up with excitement as they were drenched with some of the free water that was provided to the camps all weekend. A two person team became an eight person army, filling misters and hoses – bringing about smiles and laughs, camaraderie and community.

For five days – we camped under stars and a clear sky, told our darkest secrets to strangers and our deepest dreams to friends, laughed at the sight of bubbles and cried when we ran into an unexpected friend. We’ll always light up when ever we hear the words ‘Woogie’, ‘Drift Party’ or ‘Picklebacks’ and howling as the sun goes down might become second nature.  We weathered dust storms and heat waves with smiles on our faces and a bounce in our step.  Whether we met or not, if you were at Lightning in a Bottle – we’re forever bonded by this event.

As we left our beautiful, blissful weekend to returned to reality Monday evening, we were all confronted with current, tragic events in Santa Barbara.  For those of you that are new to the LIB Family, the festival community and the and Santa Barbara are incredibly close knit –  the Live Oak Campground where Lucidity Festival was held this past year played host to Lightning in a Bottle back from ’06 to ’08.  This past weekend was a beautiful, necessary and touching reminder that humanity at its core is wonderful, creative, giving and ever evolving. We build communities and families together, we help our weak and empower our strong. we dance with friends and laugh with strangers, we battle the elements and wish on stars.

We aren’t trying to say that it was the perfect conditions for the festival, but I’d like to argue that it was the perfect storm. The dry lake beds were more than we bargained for, but where some people lamented the exercise – others gleefully ran across, some holding hands, others  balancing ornate sculptures on their chins or giving their friends a piggy back ride – and some of us, including myself, had dance parties in the middle of the ditch and made new friends.  We’re a problem solving community that works together, in the moment, to find the best solution.  We’re strong, charismatic, energetic and whimsical with a lead by example attitude where no stranger is left behind.  Strangers instantly evolve into a camp, a tribe – a family.  People watch out for each other with flashlights, buy two drinks instead of one because they know if they’re thirsty – someone else has to be, too.

Every single person at Lightning in a Bottle – from your best friend to your camp neighbors, stilt walkers to the burlesque show at Amori’s Casino, the painters from ‘Lightning in a Pantcan’, costumed actors who stayed in character all weekend and the musicians themselves – each and every individual has a unique gift to share with the world. And we’ve proudly staked our claim as an empathetic band of weird and wacky humans just itching for our chance to give back.

As with any collective, as humans – we’re only as strong as our weaknesses; the time is now to explore your gifts and give back to the community that’s provided your personal inspiration.  It’s not the ‘Maybe Lab’ – it’s the Do Lab; do it with love, and do it now – there’s a whole family of people that can’t wait to see what happens next.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead

 

Sunrise Set: Desert Dwellers with some Ditch Dwellers

Speakeasy!

My Loves

 

Hosed Down during Plantrae

A huge thank you to The Do Lab, The Confluence, the Do Art Foundation and the extended Lightning in a Bottle family for such a  beautiful weekend. For every dollar donated to the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, The Do Lab will match the donation.  Please visit The Chumash Sanctuary Website for more information.

Lightning in a Bottle: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

The Do Lab: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Youtube

Photography Credit: Daniel Leist

[The Audiofiles] Lightning In A Bottle Is Cruising to Central Cali

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Of all the magical experiences that 2013 had to offer, hands down – my weekend away at Lightning in a Bottle was hands down the best five days of the year.  From the creatively costumed concert go-ers to dance and yoga workshops, right on down to the live musical acts, live art and live entertainment – Lightning in a Bottle expertly tantalizes each and every one of the senses and left me both searching and yearning for more out of myself, my life and the community I surround myself with.

Between last year’s fiasco with the outlying community of Riverside County and a desire to please their loyal fans up and down the coast of California, The Do Lab knew that they had to switch something up about the location.  When the festival was still in it’s early years, it was held in the Santa Barbara mountains and over the last four years has been bouncing between locations around Southern California.  The weekend deserved a location as unique as the culture it emanates, and with it’s new location in the Central Coast – that’s exactly what it’s getting.  This year, Lightning in a Bottle is migrating up to the San Antonio Recreation Area in Monterey County and I couldn’t be more excited.  Not only is it equidistant from the amazing music communities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the new venue boasts more space than at the Live Oak Campground in Santa Barbara and the Lake Skinner Recreation Area in Temecula.  To boot, rain permitting we’ll be able to frolic in the lakes of the recreation area in the sweet heat of Memorial Day weekend; a stark contrast from last year when my friends and I got to tell folks to ‘Nama-stay off the lake!’ while trying to stay out of the immense Summer sun.

During the day, your mind is opened in so many directions with the plethora of enigmatic speakers and workshops.  They’re on everything from urban foraging, sustainability, sexuality, your infinite potential, inter-species communication and much, much more.  last year, speakers for the weekend included visionaries like Alex and Allison Grey, John Perkins and the author of one of my favorite books ‘Breaking Open The Head’ Daniel Pinchbeck;  workshops ranged from ritual movement, hooping, sacred dance and slacklining.  Scattered throughout the festival grounds are amazing, living works of art that evolve with the weekend with phenomenal artists from across the country and some of the most fun I had was routinely stopping by my favorites to see how they’re coming along.

As the sun starts going down, the beats begin to pick up and the community truly comes alive – spinning fire, gathering to admire live art and dancing to the infectious, underground sounds that are throbbing through the epic sound systems of the three main stages (the Woogie, Bamboo and Lightning) or one of two smaller stages at the Lumi Lounge and the Temple.  Each stage boasted a different assortment of acts, community and culture – at the Bamboo stage, you could get your grime on with gLAdiator, Griz, Kastle, Andreniline and the mud people (like, really though), the Lightning stage held the more theatrical productions like Emancipator and Nicolas Jaar and last but certainly not least, the Woogie got you to boogie with deep house DJs like Lee Burridge, Pumpkin and Marques Wyatt.

I went to Lightning in a Bottle with an open mind and no expectations; what I left with was an enhanced world view, self confidence and an amazing support system of friends new and old.

With a little something for everyone, this is an experience that I truly want all of my friends to be part of.  Tickets for this amazing five day experience go on 24 hour discounted sale on 2/18, and on 2/19 they’ll go on sale for full value.  Make sure to get yours quickly, this is one weekend not to be missed!

[Doing It Right] LIB 2013 (or, How I Survived The Hippie Olympics)

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When’s the last time someone not just asked – but insisted – you keep your childlike imagination and magic alive?  For most people trying to make a name for themselves, it’s been a hot minute; and from a young age it felt like most of my friends from high school had their formula for success figured out.  They left our hub in the Silicon Valley for a four year degree that would inevitably translate to infinite amounts of success in the “real world.*”  Me, on the other hand, well….I had loftier dreams and less tangible goals.  I found that love and happiness are better when shared, however you can’t hold them in your hands or stuff them in a box in a corner; a college degree doesn’t make either of them more valid and all the money in the world can’t replace them.

You can travel the world and have all the experiences you want, but there’s something so incredibly special and connective about music festivals.  But take into account my generations propensity to say ‘fuck the man’ and ‘fuck the system’ and the fact most of our spiritual belief systems have little in common with organized religion and you’ll see that the festival is our ‘church’ and our friends are the ‘community’.  Thousands of people jumping to the same beat, hearts syncing in time and singing along with the music; we are in worship and music is our savior.  A recent study has even shown choral singing to be on par with the health benefits of yoga.  My eyes were opened in 2006 with my first Electric Daisy Carnival and again in 2011 with my first Coachella; but if I said that either of these events held a candle to Lightning in a Bottle I would absolutely be kidding myself.  Don’t get me wrong, the music and crowd at the other events are phenomenal in their own right – but Lightning in a Bottle is something completely and utterly different.

The other festivals are centered around music – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that; but Lightning in a Bottle is about the culture that surrounds music.  There were speakers on multitudes of topics, including authors Daniel Pinchbeck (“Breaking Open The Head“) and John Perkins (“Confessions of an Economic Hit Man“), yoga sessions taught by yogis from all over, areas where you could experience sound baths and even a ‘Pineal Playground’ set-up to warp that pretty little mind of yours.  Live artists were out at stations around Lake Skinner during the day and had ample resources for inspiration; from light installations in trees to full on fixtures out in the parks – the people of LIB brought their A-game and you could tell how excited they were to share their unique visions and creations with the world.  What’s more is that almost everything was interactive – you were encouraged to touch, play and experience.  I felt like an overgrown five year old on vacation!

Now, I have to admit I was a little nervous going into everything – I haven’t been camping since I was five and my parents can tell you, I wasn’t exactly “good” at it!  I was so nervous that I would be unprepared, so I made a lovely little cheat sheet with a list of all the ammenities I’d need for the 5 day, 4 night excursion and there’s a few things I can tell you off the bat, first and foremost: I TOTALLY overpacked! I could have brought half as much clothing and would have still had options on what to wear; and there was so much creativity that went into some of the outfits!  Definitely something to take note of for next year.

And as far as camping is concerned….it isn’t exactly camping when you’re with thousands of your new best friends, kickass sound systems, awe inspiring sculptures and have Lake Skinner as your playground.  Everywhere we turned, there was literally something new to experience and someone to meet that chances are – you have some ridiculous connection to. Before the festival even started, I realized in line for wristbands that I was in college dorms with the girl in front of me and for my phone being dead, I ran into at least 50 friends I’d made in college or at festivals.  I even met a girl who used to live in my apartment complex in LA!

My friends and I decided to cruise in to Lake Skinner on Thursday night so we could get the whole festival experience; we wanted a chance to set-up our tent in a leisurely manner and explore the festival grounds.  We waded through a sea of people to get our wristbands (one thing about hippies – they’re a punctual bunch!), we were lucky enough to have friends there starting at 2pm because the line took approximately 7 hours from start to finish for them, compared to our measly 3 hour wait.  Once that was over, you could see eyes light up and smiles pop up on everyone: shit just got so real! Once we got our massive tent it was off to explore…

The second day started with exploring the Temple of Consciousness and the Pineal Playground; we got to be part of a sound bath and then headed down to the lake to catch the view.  Between the swings, shade and speakers we had so much to do during the day before the music started; there was definitely a ‘sleep, eat, mingle,  rave, repeat’ vibe going on all weekend and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Now, before I get into my favorite pictures from the weekend I have a little PSA about the event.  As with every event, not everyone can have a life changing-best weekend of my life experience; it’s simply not feasible – but from the sounds of it people went to an entirely different festival than my friends and I.  The Do Lab gave us more than I could have hoped for with festival grounds like Lake Skinner, top notch productions, amazing art and a culture of people that I can only describe as the middle section of a ‘Hippie-Carnie-Raver’ Venn-Diagram.  I had the time of my life and I hope everyone gives the festival a chance to change them for the better instead of living vicariously through someone else’s bad dream. Though LIB has been around for a hot minute, being able to experience Lake Skinner together for the first time was such a great experience.  Eyes, brains and hearts were wide open and ready to explore.  I know a lot of people are whining and lamenting the fact their reality didn’t match their expectations but expectation hangovers happen when people aren’t willing to take responsibility for their actions.  I got to explore the festival grounds on Thursday when no one was around and take full advantage of the art, fog machines and light fixtures before people got there; on Saturday when the music in the camp turned off, my friends and I hunted down some music and created our own little community within the LIB community and have created bonds to last a lifetime.   Essentially the festival, like life, is an adventure and it’s up to us as individuals to make it magical; and for me – it was so, so much more than that! So on wards – to pictures!

Thursday night at the Bamboo Stage being silly with the boyfriend

Swings, for all ages!

Under the shade of the Tepees

Sunset on Lake Skinner

The people with signs made my day! Also, thank you Mud People for showing us how to get down!

Woogie Withdrawls: It’s a real thing.

Getting to connect with artists and watch them do their thing was awesome; the festival oozed creativity from every angle.

 

Before I get to the videos I just want to say a big thank you to the crews at the Do Lab and Lightning in a Bottle; this was a truly eye opening and awe inspiring weekend and I can’t wait to move the world the way the festival moved me.  I’m a better person for being there and have made friends to last a lifetime.  Thank you, thank you from the bottom of all of our hearts for the weekend of the year and can’t wait for the next one!