My first experience with event production company the Do LaB came about in what I imagine was a similar way for many unfamiliar with the groundbreaking visual artist collective – the Oasis tent at Coachella, where the relentless heat is blessedly filtered through a prism of high-pressure water for a few merciful moments. People came for the hoses, but they stayed for the art, that uniquely visual spectacle that accompanies every Do LaB production in the desert and the underground acts the company usually has rocking its stages with the help of a costumed menagerie. Their ninth year at the festival was no different, with Gaslamp Killer, Kaminanda, Idiot Savant and a whole host of acts turning the art installations into a wild, somewhat nightmarish (depending on whether the light was by the sun or the oscillating lights), always unforgettable scene.
Shame on me, then, for not realizing until 2013 that the Do LaB actually curate their own festival just a couple hours south of Los Angeles. Lightning in a Bottle runs from July 11-15 at Lake Skinner County Park in the wine country near Temecula, CA, and is less a musical festival as the common summertime denominator goes and more a cultural event; a hip Burning Man without the blasted landscape and blasted hippies. It’s apparent in the lineup – a smorgasbord of Low End Theory-mainstays and buzzworthy indie pop, furious electro grooves and exotic world music, deep house and chillwave. Few festivals emphasize the human component as mush as Lightning in a Bottle, where the corporate influence is practically nonexistent and you’re just as likely to see people heading off to enjoy some morning yoga as they are a morning beer. At the heart of the experience is the performance art mecca the Lucent Temple of Consciousness, which is about as “free love” as it sounds but far less of an empty cliché than that term would imply. It boasts an intimidating lineup of over 300 speakers, instructors, workshops and music that would be out of place at any other festival – hell, you could spend the entire trip focusing on centering your chakra without even checking out the bands, if that’s your thing.
That, though, would be a mistake. Headliners include Nicolas Jaar, Rusko, Purity Ring and Tycho – check out the entirety of the lineup below. Where the majority of festivals tend to recycle the same (oftentimes great – I’m no hypocrite) artists, Lightning in a Bottle can lay a genuine claim on consistently producing an innovative compilation of forward-thinking, little-known artists that would be hard to imagine in any other setting. It’ll be a pleasure to see how it all unfolds. And to whet the appetite of the locals, the Do LaB will be throwing events in both Los Angeles and San Francisco this upcoming weekend. The former is the icing on top of the annual Venice Music Crawl and will be sending 100% of its proceeds directly to charity; the latter features live painting and a typically progressive stable of musicians backing them up. Check out the links below for all Lightning in a Bottle-related info.