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Lightning In A Bottle, But Outside Of The Box [Event Review]


LiB gives you the opportunity to create your own experience...just don't screw it up. (Photo by Carolyn Craft)

LiB gives you the opportunity to create your own experience…just don’t screw it up. (Photo by Carolyn Craft)

Preparation is absolutely necessary for a multi-day festival with handfuls of acts you want to see, workshops you’d like to attend, and art installations you need to snap selfies with. We trust that our readers already know the basics – if you don’t, we have several guides that cover cooking proper meals for festivals, raving alone, and the items you should leave at home – but even the most seasoned festival veterans can be thrown in for a loop.

  1. Buy car camping: Parking was only available near the entrance of the camping grounds, and even those camping on the outskirts were at least a quarter-mile away. People who brought pedometers logged in over 50 miles of walking over the long weekend, primarily because they had to take several trips to and from their cars to load up camp.
  2. Bring rebar: The seemingly endless valley was beautiful to look at, but terrible to camp on when there was the slightest measure of wind. Several groups lost their canopies on the first night and lord knows how much random festival debris is scattered across the San Antonio Recreation Area (despite the staff’s awesome and elaborate efforts at minimizing waste).
  3. OH GOD, THE DUST: Burners might scoff at this rookie advice, but bring a few solid bandanas that you’re actually willing to wear all day. We’re a huge fan of Buffs since they can be worn several different ways and be dipped in water for life-saving cooling effects.
  4. Budget for a shower (or three): A five-minute waterfall of cold, purifying goodness was a mere $7 in the campgrounds. Consider getting up around sunrise to skip the line and get first dibs on the complimentary Dr. Bronner’s soap.
  5. Leave some room in the car for garbage: The Do LaB prides itself in enforcing the “pack it in, pack it out” rule (as it should). It’s difficult to share that pride as a festival-goer if you’re driving away with garbage falling out of your windows. Another preventative measure is to limit your waste – ditch the bottled water in favor of something reusable, remove packaging before you leave the house, and don’t use so many god damned paper towels.

This isn’t a festival you can pack for at the last minute, but it’s worth the extra work. The return on investment at Lightning in a Bottle is immeasurable and will only continue to develop, pushing many festival boundaries along the way. We’re curious to see what The Do LaB has up their eternally-dusty sleeves, but we promise that Dance Music Northwest will be there next year to find out.

It won't be our last sunset at this glorious, magical festival.

It won’t be our last sunset at this glorious, magical festival.