Words By: Duke DuRock
Reflecting back upon this year’s Lightning in a Bottle (LIB) experience, everything exceeded even our wildest expectations. So many of you traveled from far and wide that our little event sold out!
The decade-plus evolution of LIB continued at the beautiful Oak Canyon Ranch in Silverado, CA, a setting that proved to be even better the second time around as new friends and familiar faces gathered together for three glorious days of art, music, creativity, and consciousness – all in an eco-friendly environment.
Growth and Goals
As evidenced by the capacity crowds, LIB has grown considerably since its inception. While more people are becoming part of the community, the shared spirit and family vibe that the festival originally started with remain as strong as ever. “The goal for us is to try and have all these people and still keep the intimacy, vibe and community feel,” explained Jesse Flemming, one of our founding members and Executive Producers, along with serving as primary music booker and programmer.
“This year we were all blown away by how big it is,” added Jupit3r, another longtime principal team member who not only helps with the planning and building of events like LIB, but also performs and then tirelessly works to bring everything back down again. “All the compliments and comments from people are really touching,” he added.
Planning for this year’s LIB was a year in the making. Once the team arrived on-site in mid-May, they, along with hundreds of dedicated crew and volunteers, were able to construct the festival in six days thanks to true teamwork and creative passion.
Any problem-solving from last year’s LIB was something members of The Do LaB set out to improve upon immediately after the 2010 festival. Their year-round work ethic paid off as LIB 2011 had plenty of new discoveries but retained enough of the now cherished creature comforts that made it feel like coming back home.
Familiarity and Freshness
“We’re twice as many people this year and the atmosphere is even better than last year,” marveled Dede Flemming, another founding member and Executive Producer, as he savored his own “LIB memory” with his brothers on the final day of the festival. “It’s just as comfortable and familiar and everyone’s having a great time.”
“You run into all kinds of cool stuff and never know what you’re going to find,” added Josh Flemming, yet another founding member who, along with Heather Shaw, serves as one of The Do LaB’s principal structural designers and builders. The LIB stages that the duo conceptualized and helped create made incredibly beautiful places for audiences to dance and wobble at (such as Shaw’s expansive and colorful new take on The Woogie).
photo by Aaron Gautschi
“We planned a lot of this,” explained Josh. “But when you walk around, you see that everyone brings all this additional cool stuff. We spent a lot of time bringing in so many artists for installations and projects to spread around the festival grounds, corners and pockets, so people can wander around and explore.”
“We spend so much time building it and working behind the scenes, that when we do get a break to walk around and really appreciate what it is that’s happening out here, it’s really special and a surprise,” Dede added. “As Josh said, we booked a lot of art and music, but everything else is the spontaneous stuff that just happens and really makes the festival what it is.”
A big ingredient in the magic that makes up the festival is no secret, it’s the people that attend LIB each year who bring their own open-mindedness and energy that makes the environment so warm and welcoming.
A Family Feeling
“The audience was great,” said Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation, one of LIB’s headline acts this year, after his DJ set with longtime production partner Eric Hilton closed the festival. “I’ve been to Do LaB events before and there have always been such open minded people at those. Whether it’s all different kinds of genres of music or art, people are just open for whatever here.”
photo by Aaron Gautschi
“This is really unlike any other festival I’ve been to,” remarked Gladkill, one of the many talented new artists to make their LIB debut this year. “Beautiful environment, atmosphere and amazing people. It’s a real family feeling and I’m just honored to be a part of it.”
Gladkill and his fellow Headtron Agency musicians Stephan Jacobs, Goldrush, Chris B. and Russ Liquid all helped usher in a new generation of talented producers with fresh takes on electronic music. These new artists paired perfectly with established acts like Thievery Corporation, Beats Antique, Lee Burridge, Bonobo, and Nick Warren, to help make the LIB 2011 soundtrack diverse and dynamic for all musical (and dancing) desires.
Once again, Jesse Flemming seamlessly sequenced all of the artists throughout our three stages over the festival’s three days, ensuring that the music was equally as strong at the beginning and end of each day. There was also an added emphasis on featuring more bands (Y La Bamba, Fools Gold, The Mowgli’s) plus the organic, acoustic sounds of talented singer-songwriters at The Lumi Lounge.
Our beautiful Pagoda from this year’s earlier Coachella festival proved to be an ideal setting for acts booked by Shannon Moore, an LIB performing artist in her own right, with strong support from our own Aaron Gautschi. “The electronic stuff has its place, but take a band like Beats Antique, who now have much more organic elements incorporated then there used to be.”
photo by Aaron Gautschi
“I think electronic music is very futuristic but if you don’t add some kind of human, organic element to it, that it can be a little too digital and harsh,” agreed Rain of Phutureprimitive, who’s own sound manages to blend the two worlds seamlessly.
Diversity and Support
The rich musical diversity and open-minded crowds have helped to make LIB an event that our artists look forward to performing at all year long. “This is by far one of my favorite festivals,” Russ Liquid said after his packed Saturday afternoon set. His own live horns meet electronic sounds were perfectly sequenced in between performances from Phutureprimitive and Gladkill, who all helped kick off day two of the festival. “The kind of people LIB draws are people open to new sounds. And that’s what I’m trying to bring.
“There’s so much nurturing of West Coast artists here,” he added. “The Do LaB is helping people like Kraddy push out new projects with his stage show or supporting Random Rab’s new visual group. The list goes on and on.”
photo by Tensquare
Supporting our ever-growing artistic community has been integral to the Do LaB since day one. The team members enjoy nothing more than seeing artists they’ve long supported, grow right along with the festival, such as this year’s headliners Marty Party and MiMOSA. Now producers such as Stephan Jacobs, Emancipator and Love & Light are set to do the same. “I’m so honored by The Do LaB at how receptive they’ve become to my music,” said Jacobs before his primetime set (that came complete with some slick live vocal stylings from MC Joe Mousepad) at the Bamboo Stage on opening night. “It all started from playing renegade stages here. You put all your time, effort and everything you do into making music and this is where you demonstrate it. Events like this really inspire the music-making that I’m going to be producing next.”
For longtime LIB artists like David Starfire and FreQ Nasty, this year’s festival gave them the chance to debut their new band, The Dub Kirtan All Stars, which was near 15-members strong and encompassed the duo’s trademark heavy bass sounds plus live instrumentation and world music infusion. “Tonight has been the culmination of a lot of things coming together with Darin and I working on music and this new project,” said Starfire after the band’s breath-taking performance. “I’ve played almost every year at LIB and I’m really close with The Do LaB. So it’s been nice being part of the family. As we’re escalating to a new level of music and production, The Do LaB has also brought in more yoga and spirituality…so many festivals don’t have those elements.”
Come back next week for part 2 of our Looking Back At LIB series, which delves into the spiritual side of LIB.
photo by Upperhands