I made my way down to Silverado, CA Memorial Day weekend to this year’s sold out Lightning in a Bottle
festival put on by The Do Lab. It’s taken me a few years to get there, but I finally made it. This was my first year attending so I can give you my perspective of the festival as a virgin!
Honestly, I absolutely loved it. Minus a few (I’ll call them) discomforts I experienced my overall experience was one of wonder, inspiration, consciousness awareness, and joy. I arrived there on Friday around 2pm with my friend Usa Devi who I spent the weekend referring to as “Festival Queen”.
Apparently 2pm is the time many people arrive. Although it did sound like a gazillion people were there right at 4pm on Thursday. Anyhow arriving at 2pm and not having a car camping pass as a regular festival attendee means you not only take a people mover to your campsite but you have to fight your way on it against the cutters. Our campsite, due to arriving when we did, was in the upper level which was quite far from general parking. After having to wait what felt like forever (okay maybe it was about 45 min) in the heat with our abundance of glamping gear we fought our way onto the people mover. I only pushed one person off, I promise. [I’m kidding].
To give you an idea of what the people mover is, it’s a large white pick-up truck with red wooden beams on either side. You know the kind they pile immigrants onto in movies when they are sneaking off to the “new world”. I felt somewhat like one of those people. There I was smashed between my belongings and someone’s cooler digging into my back making my way to the Lucent Temple of Consciousness.
After only two trips and leaving the faerie tent behind in the car, we set up camp. I had a small cry but let go of the faerie tent as it was just a little too much to carry. Don’t worry, I was sure to ensure all my necessary glamping gear, aka the full length mirror, made it up the hill with us. Once we finished setting up and faerie beautifying ourselves, Festival Queen and I ventured off to explore the festival.
Now you might be asking yourself, why is she referring to Usa as Festival Queen. Was she really Queen of the Festival, the one so many women dressed up in their fancy outfits strive to be? No Usa was not the official Lightning in the Bottle Festival Queen. If that were the case I wouldn’t have had the delightful experience of the people mover now would I. I call her Festival Queen because I felt like I was part of a royal court being around her.
As we walked around I was pleasantly surprised by the choice of food vendors. There were so many healthy choices which were really nice to see, eat and drink. In fact, we didn’t bring a huge amount of food with us, and we didn’t need to. I typically am not one to eat a lot and at festivals I rarely eat. Usually people are trying to get me to eat. This time was different though. I ate, and ate very healthy. In fact, my friend Madhvi said every time she saw me I was eating, so apparently I was eating quite a bit. Good thing there was so much walking to be done!
This is a festival of music and art, and by my opinion the art was awesome. I really enjoyed taking it all in. There certainly was no shortage of it. Where ever you went there was eye candy and some very cool interactive pieces. Day time or glowing at night the art was plentiful. There were even some memorable Burning Man pieces on display. Sunday was the art walk. All the Lightning in a Paintcan live art is available for bidding in a silent auction. The auction is used to make money for the DoLab’s non-profit, The Do Art Foundation.
If you ask me what my favorite thing to do is, I’ll tell you it is dancing. Ok, maybe it’s dancing and building altars, but dancing is definitely right up at the top of the list. If there is a DJ playing good dance music you will typically find me dancing right in front of him/her. For the most part I found great music to dance to. I’m not a big dubstep fan, so I had tendency to dance away from anyone playing dubstep, but I was still always able to find something I liked to dance to. If you like dubstep, you won’t have a problem finding it there. I spent most of my dancing time at the Woogie Stage. I did make it over to the Lightning stage for some key performances by Lucent Dossier, Beats Antique and Pretty Lights. As to be expected they lit up the crowd with their performances and pretty light shows!
One of the areas of the festival I spent a lot of time at was the Lucent Temple of Consciousness. Being someone who builds altars and sacred spaces I always like to check out what others are doing. And even though it’s spiritual and I know what I’m seeing is a divine creation, I often find myself being slightly critical when I’m taking in what someone else has designed. Let’s just say I have a tendency to inspect the altar before I take it in and connect. I do my best to quiet that voice and acknowledge it’s my ego but sometimes the critical voice makes itself heard. Well on this occasion I was more than amazed by the design and creation of the temple. It was all breathtaking by my standards. When I looked around and considered the attention to detail, the work and energy put forth to create it, I was truly uplifted, and quite honestly a bit mesmerized. There were so many beautiful altars and different spaces created. I didn’t sit in all of them but I certainly found more than one where you could just sit and connect with that inner part of yourself. Derick Ion and the Satya Yuga Collective not only inspired me but allowed me to tap in and express the part of me that makes my heart go zing. They put on tons of workshops as well; everything from kundalini yoga, to permaculture and raw cooking to Marianne Williamson. Seeing the woman that wrote “Our Deepest Fear” was certainly a highlight of the weekend for me.
Now the last area I’ll talk about is the marketplace. I know a lot of people aren’t fond of consumerism at festivals, but I love it. It’s where I can find the type of faerie goddess fashions and accessories that I absolutely love wearing. I also like knowing that I’m supporting independent designers. If you like to shop like I do, you might find the marketplace a bit dangerous, so save up your money if you ever plan to hit this festival. Some of my favorite designers in the marketplace were Kelsey’s Creations, Fourth Dimension Designs, Kucoon Designs, Blue Star 7 and Timjan Design. I think I put together my next faerie goddess outfit with each of their pieces. Watch for it at the Carmel Valley Summer Solstice Celebration or the Sunset Campout this summer.
Before I sign off I want to say how impressed I was by the level of green consciousness the festival’s organizers put forth. It’s a large festival with a lot of people so it can prove to be a difficult challenge to keep people green. They are the winners of the 2010 Green Festival Award so they do have a lot to live up to, and I think they do a good job. Festival Queen was a little less impressed than me suggesting they should have compostable porta potties to be truly green. Based on the way the ground looked every morning after all the craziness died down I think some of the festival goers still need some waking up. But I believe the more the organizers continue their passion for being green the more conscious the attendees will become. You gotta have faith! With a motto like Leave it Better, Leave it Beautiful I’d like to think they are well on their way to waking some of those less conscious attendees up.
There is so much more I experienced and could say about this festival. I truly had a lovely time and recommend it to anyone thinking about checking it out next year. A few words of advice: get a car camping pass, otherwise pack light; bring comfortable shoes, you’ll do a lot of walking; bring a very warm jacket for the evenings, it was COLD; save your money and bring lots of cash if you like to shop!
This faerie gives Lightning in a Bottle five faerie stars! I’m already looking forward to next year! ~ Melanie Dawn