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Review: Lightning in a Bottle 2024

This past Memorial Day weekend, Lightning in a Bottle celebrated its 21st anniversary festival, and it was something really special! Thousands of festival-goers flocked to Buena Vista Lake in Bakersfield, California, to immerse themselves in a weekend of music, art, and community. Lightning in a Bottle has always been a beacon of creativity and freedom, and this year was no different. With a lineup that boasted some of the biggest names in electronic dance music including Skrillex, Lane 8, ISOxo, Fatboy Slim, Clozee, Nore En Pure, Bob Moses, and Honey Dijon along with a huge venue with 8 stages of music, the festival proved once again why it remains a beloved staple in the EDM community.

Photo credit: @GETTINY-Juliana Bernstein

Nestled in the serene surroundings of Buena Vista Lake, the venue for LiB was nothing short of spectacular. The lake itself provided a refreshing oasis where attendees brought huge floaties and cooled off during the day before the sun set. The festival grounds were meticulously organized, ensuring that even with the large crowd, there was always space to dance, relax, or explore. There were 3 GA camping areas which were titled High Noon, Sunset, and Sunrise, along with group campsites and RV camping located around the main festival grounds. For campers looking for something a bit more luxurious, they could choose the Atlaswyld for premium glamping and a private beach club.

Photo credit: @GETTINY-Juliana Bernstein

For the first time ever, LIB introduced a new pre-set camping package called Easy Peasy for people who traveled from afar or just didn’t want to bring all their camping equipment. The Easy Peasy was a less expensive option than the Atlaswyld camping and provided a tent, air mattress, lantern, sleeping bag, and pillows. We opted for this package and it was a total life saver. The Easy Peasy really was such an easy way to get setup with prime real estate right next to the main Lightning Stage entrance. The tents were on grass and right next to the lake as well. We became friends with our Easy Peasy neighbors which made the experience even more fun. We hope the Easy Peasy packages will be back next year because we’d definitely do it again.

Photo credit: @JAMAL.EID- Jamal Eid

One of the best parts of Lightning in a Bottle is its commitment to immersive art installations and experiences. As soon as you walked through the gates, you were greeted by a wonderland of creativity. Gigantic wooden and light up sculptures, interactive and colorful art cars, and mesmerizing light shows transformed the festival grounds into a surreal dreamscape. There were rows of artists around the festival grounds doing live painting as well. Each day workshops and talks offered festival-goers the chance to engage in activities ranging from yoga and meditation to sustainable living practices, fostering a sense of community and personal growth. We joined sound baths in the morning to start our day. Every corner of LIB was designed to inspire and enchant, making it much more than just a music festival.

Photo credit: @GETTINY-Juliana Bernstein

Of course, the music was the star of the show, and LiB delivered an unforgettable lineup. We kicked things off with Honey Dijon at the Woogie stage on Thursday, whose blend of house and techno set the tone for the weekend. On Friday night our highlights were Fatboy Slim at the Woogie who delivered a nostalgic yet fresh performance that had everyone dancing to classics like “Praise You” and “Right Here, Right Now.” Then we caught Lane 8’s melodic house set at the Lightning stage which created such a magical atmosphere. We made our way to the Thunder stage to catch Skream who played an old school dubstep set with a ton of classic bangers.

Photo credit: @JAKEWESTPHOTO-Jake West

On Saturday, Nora En Pure brought her signature deep house vibes to the Woogie, while Goddard came from the UK to drop some drum and bass at the Thunder stage with an electrifying set. We were super excited to see Labrinth’s performance at the Lightning stage and he captivated the audience with his powerful vocals and intricate productions. On Sunday we were awaiting a secret set at the Junkyard stage and it ended up being Rufus Du Sol who pulled up to the festival on a boat from the lake. This set was absolutely packed with fans vibing out to their melodic sounds while the sun set in the background. Everyone made their way to the Lightning stage for Skrillex who closed out the festival with a bang, delivering a high-octane set mixing classic tracks from Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites with tracks from his newer albums, which left everyone buzzing with excitement.

Photo credit: @JAMAL.EID- Jamal Eid

Although these were some of the highlights, you could find new artists and music anywhere walking through the festival. We found ourselves at stages like the Grand Artique, The Stacks, Crossroads and Lighthouse experiencing new acts and performances. One night we ran into karaoke, another we were dancing in a 70s immersive experience at The Mixtape, another we were watching a variety show at the Unicorn Palace, and another we were dancing with a Martian Circus. Lightning in a Bottle truly comes alive at night when the festival turns into a magical and colorful wonderland with glowing lights everywhere you can see. All the art cars glow up and park by the lakeside and have their own DJ sets so people can dance all throughout the night. There truly is so much to do and see, which is what makes it such a unique and amazing festival.

Photo credit: @JAKEWESTPHOTO-Jake West

Lightning in a Bottle was a testament to the power of music and community. From the stunning venue at Buena Vista Lake to the immersive art installations and world-class performances, every aspect of the festival was crafted to create a memorable and transformative experience. Whether you were dancing to the beats of your favorite artist, exploring a captivating art piece, or simply soaking in the positive vibes, LiB offered something magical for everyone. LiB continues to be one of our favorite festivals and we tip our hats to the Do Lab for putting on such an amazing experience. If you’ve never been to Lightning in a Bottle, this needs to be added to your list for next year.

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Matt Flaherty
Founder of Drop The Beatz

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