Lightning in a Bottle has become a staple in the transformational music festival scene for its unifying environment, eclectic musical lineups, yoga, art installations, and eco-friendly attitude. Throughout the years I’ve heard from numerous friends, ‘It’s one of those things you need to attend at least once.’ I couldn’t agree more. A marriage of Burning Man culture and California scenery, LiB is a bit more accessible to the average festivalgoer than That Thing in the Desert, yet promotes a similar ethos.
Produced by the Do LaB, a creative collective of doers, LiB started as a small party in the early 2000’s and has grown into a large event with multiple stages, an impressive list of speakers, and enough art to satisfy any connoisseur. I was lucky enough to catch up with two inspiring individuals who are pivotal in LiB’s production, Founder Dream Rockwell and Executive Producer Monica Fernandez. They spoke with me about their beginnings with the Do LaB, and what it takes to put on a production of this magnitude.
An epiphany at Burning Man left Canadian native Dream Rockwell feeling like she needed to head in a new direction with her life. This led to not only the creation of the Do LaB but cirque-electronic-rock-wonder-team the Lucent Dossier Experience (also an integral part of LiB).
Dream: “I was production managing for another event company that was closing its doors. I left with a 5000-person email list and a wealth of information. I met Josh and Jesse Flemming, and we just clicked. Thus, the Do LaB was born.” Shortly after that, they created Lighting in a Bottle Festival. “We were hugely influenced by Burning Man. It was our freedom playground back in the day. There was no way to attend Burning Man at that time and not have your life radically altered. I hope that is what we are doing now at LIB for our participants.”
Monica Fernandez became a part of the Do LaB family in 2004 after meeting them through the Los Angeles underground Burning Man scene.
Monica: “I was living in Ventura at the time and moved out to Los Angeles in 2005 to be a part of what had just officially become the Do LaB. The rest is history, and now I consider the Flemmings to be my own brothers.”
So much work goes into putting on a festival of this degree, from the location, stage concept creation, lineup, speakers, and décor, to the overall vibe the festival is trying to promote.
Monica: “I have always liked to look at what we do like putting together a puzzle. Presented with a puzzle box with 150 pieces, you begin to organize them, fit them together, and identify the pieces that don’t match – it can be stressful at times and maybe frustrating. Then you start to see the picture in the puzzle, instead of pieces, a beautiful picture that you were a part of creating. In order to be good at a career in production, and to actually enjoy it, you have to really like putting the puzzle together.
Dream: “I think we go through so much intense work to design the vision, source or uncover the presenters we want to feature, to book them, to organize the structures and layout, to think through decor and other elements, etc., etc. So by the time all that is curated each year and we arrive on site we are often so exhausted it feels like we might not make it through the event. But the moment the people arrive, the excitement and energy brought by everyone lifts us up, pumps us up. It’s so revitalizing. It’s a rebirth for us. It’s mystical. The joy streams through us, and the gratitude I feel for everyone coming to enjoy the fruits of our labor fills me beyond full. I love that moment. ”
One of the elements that make LiB so unique is the Lucent Temple of Consciousness, a haven of inspiration that features visionary speakers, wisdom keepers, master teachers, healers, activists, performances and speakers.
Some of the uplifting presenters included in this year’s line-up include Pema Khandro Rinpoche (leading Tibetan Buddhist teacher, humanitarian and scholar), Charles Eisenstein (renowned author of spiritually insightful works like Sacred Economics and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible), David Wolfe (leading health and wellness expert), John Perkins (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and The World as we Dream it) and Guru Singg. Additionally, Jo Tastula and Stuart Watkins (known individually as teachers among the yoga community, but together as Alchemical Magic) will be speaking, plus many more wisdom keepers in the holistic community.
Dream: “We spend the year planning for what we can bring that is both cutting edge and heart opening. This year we have been offered some insight from the secret mystery schools of the world that will positively blow people’s minds. I can’t wait to unleash this information.”
Lightning in a Bottle has also announced that there will be more female musical acts than ever before including 2016 performances from Alina Baraz, Marian Hill, Hundred Waters, Mija, Rubblebucket, TOKiMONSTA, Magda, Ibeyi, Francesca Lombardo, in addition to headliner Grimes. I wondered if this was intentional, which they assured me it was.
Monica: “Most certainly, it was intentional. Jesse and the booking teams were diligent this year to seek out fresh talented women to include on the lineup.”
Dream: “It’s important to have a strong female presence always. Creation requires male energy held within the female who creates life. The female form is the bringer of life here on earth, but not without male. It’s not male or female; it’s male and female. It was key that the boys and I came together to create LIB so that both the male and female voice could become manifest, the structure and the flow would always be present. The boys are masters at structure and form, the logistics. My focus has always been on experience, spirit, rebirth of self, nurturing and healing, and, of course, there is crossover in both directions. We need all of this. When you have both a strong feminine and masculine voice present, you have a holistic experience. That’s what I believe we have created at LIB and why the participants feel so free playing at LIB: it’s holistic experience.”
Seeing such a beautiful event come together so flawlessly year after year lead me to wonder, what would they say to others trying to follow in their footsteps? To create a synchronistic environment or find a team that works together in such an inspiring way?
Monica: “Know what you want. Keep clear on that even when it shifts or changes. Adjust your direction accordingly. Keep your head high and in the game. Use challenges as opportunities to gain new information and experience. Don’t take no for an answer; nothing is impossible. There is always a way to make it happen. Use grace and compassion in communication and leadership.”
Dream: “Believe in yourself. Know yourself as sovereign. By that I mean that the light of the world is shining through you and your voice is a unique imprint that is contained (and unconfined) only through you. What you have come here to contribute your gift to the world. So sing bright and shine bright. Stay light. Stay out of the muck. Stay out of judgment and the maya and stay in creation and inspiration. Find others who are like-minded and create together. You are the masters of the earth. We need your imagination.”
Written by: Karli Jaenike
Head of Communications
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