Dealing with natural disasters and climate change among the various world conflicts and issues has become a staple in modern times. Music and music culture have evolved and adapted to these enormous changes, with sustainability at the forefront of priorities. This has set a precedent not only for music festivals but for all aspects of daily life.
In this Music Festival feature, we bring you ‘Lightning In A Bottle,’ billed as America’s Greenest Music Festival. Lightning In A Bottle features artists, various speakers, and health enthusiasts from all over the world. The festival organizers have vigorously planned the festivals so that their attendees can go zero-waste or minimal-waste while attending the festival.
A Brief History
Since 2006, Lightning In A Bottle has been hosted in California by the events company Do LAB. According to its website, Do LAB’s mission statement reads, “Design, build, and nurture festivals and event experiences that inspire authentic connections to ourselves, our community, and the environment.”
Lightning in a Bottle (LIB) began in 2001 as a birthday party celebration for brothers and co-founders Josh, Dede, and Jesse Flemming. Discouraged by all the waste generated and thrown around at music festivals as well as a mentality that someone else will clean it up afterward, they decided to go in a greener and more sustainable direction when organizing their private parties and later music festivals. Lightning in a Bottle remained a private party setting, with the event’s reputation growing year after year.
In 2006, they organized a three-day music festival. They drew a crowd of over 1000 people to the three-day festival in their first year. By 2012, they had grown to an attendance of 15,000 festival-goers. LIB was held virtually for the last two editions and will return with attendees on 25 May 2022, at Buena Vista Lake in Kern County, California.
In a 2016 interview with Jarno Stegeman of Event Tutor, speaking on the sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives at the festival, Dede Flemming mentioned, “For us, it is not that we are going out of our way, it is just what we do.”
Between 2011 and 2014, Lightning in a Bottle received the ‘Outstanding Award’ from A Greener Festival. The A Greener Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting events, festivals, and venues around the world in becoming more sustainable and reducing environmental impacts.
With a strong emphasis on the educational element, Lightning in a Bottle is a melange of music, art, and culture. The festival includes guest speakers, visual and interactive art installations, an array of workshops, yoga, and body movement classes, group wellness, meditation sessions, and other attractions in addition to musical performances.
Many artists have performed at the festival throughout the years, including the likes of DJs Bassnectar, Bonobo, electronic music duo Disclosure, DJ and record producer Flying Lotus, electronic house group Rüfüs Du Sol, dance act Disclosure, and many more entertainers. During the virtual events, there were performances by Singer/Songwriter Paskal Suraj Sayan, along with his ensemble, DJ and producer Random Rab, Dance/Electronic DJ Sacha Robotti and Elephant Heart, to name a few. There were also virtual workshops on yoga, wellness, meditation, body movement, and cooking with plant-based diet plans.
Ecofriendly and Sustainability
While attempting to run the festival in the most environmentally friendly way possible, the festival organizers and on-site teams implement a variety of measures to make the festival as sustainable as possible. They also strive to educate attendees on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle and even hold workshops and talks on the matter.
Although sustainability undertakings are more expensive, it is deeply rooted in the festival planning process. LIB incorporates low-input led lighting, bio-diesel generators, and even solar panels when feasible. They have a strict waste separation policy of items left behind that include cardboard, plastic, scrap metal, left-over tents, and other materials. Organic materials collected during the festival are composted and used for farming.
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Because multiple events are conducted simultaneously during the five days, and musical performances take place in the late evenings. The festival’s green team educates festivalgoers on recycling, composting, and keeping the grounds clean during the events of the day. Attendees can even join this green brigade as a volunteer as they conduct MOOP (matter out of place) walks every morning.
Lightning in a bottle plays a version of the song ‘Clean Up’ which appeared in the educative children’s show ‘Barney & Friends’ on their loudspeakers at the end of each day of the festival to encourage people to pick up and dispose of trash at appropriate waste bins.
Check out the upcoming festival sustainable guide by clicking here.
Lightning in a Bottle 2022
Lightning In A Bottle 2022 will take place next week between May 25-30 in central California at Buena Vista Lake. The festival will spread out events and exhibitions with different programs throughout the campsite.
The Compass is an area at the venue that provides a broad range of learning opportunities to engage the senses, expand thoughts, and inspire community change. Attendees will be able to attend talks, workshops, and panels led by world-renowned visionaries, experts, and thought leaders. This year, talks and discussions will focus on Regenerating soil with microbes, Cryptocurrency: The Ownership Economy, Queering the Liminal, and many more.
Classes and workshops on offer include How to Make and Enjoy Mead, Plant-Based Tuna Salad Party, Vegan Sushi, and Ayurveda: Digestive Remedies. Cashless wristbands, local food vendors and merch stores charging stations, and lockers, can be found at the festival. ‘Neptune Nannies’ are set up and provide professional child care to children of staff and participants.
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Musical performances by the rock group Glass Animals, Jamaican reggae singer Koffee, rapper Little Simz, experimental music band Dirtwire, DJ and producer GRiZ, Dance/Electronic group Ivy Lab and recent Grammy Winner DJ Black Coffee are scheduled across six stages.
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