This year’s Lightning in a Bottle Festival was unforgettable – four days filled with world-class artistry, spiritual growth, personal revelations and genuine human connection.
The festival hosted speakers and workshops all day and night, educating us on healing practices, permaculture, cooking and living a conscious life. Yoga ran all day, beginning at sunrise, on two dedicated stages with padded floors. It was a much needed recalibration throughout the day and a place to learn new techniques and concepts to add to your practice. Sound meditation workshops used the power of vibratory frequencies to help get you centered and beneath the incessant dialogue of the mind. I felt the vibratory effects on all energy centers, leading to a state of enhanced consciousness, connection with the surrounding environment and a less agitated state of mind.
It’s why I – and I imagine many if not all of the 20,000 attendees – was there, for that connectedness, that sense of personal evolution and of greater understanding. And LIB doesn’t disappoint, taking the notion of “good vibes” to the next level. There’s a genuine energy that radiates all around and reminds you of what it really is to be human.
Most campsites welcomed new friends with open arms, while hosting dance parties and offering supplies. One of the coolest campsites I saw was one that set up a tent with two giant solar panels and a dozen power strips, to help people charge their phones on the campgrounds.
It was also quite the experience to rejuvenate yourself at a workshop, meditation session or yoga practice, and then be able to walk a few hundred feet to encounter some of the best musical artists in the world. Bob Moses was the act of the weekend, lighting up the stage with deep, rich, bouncy vibes and subtly profound lyrics. Painters constructed masterpieces live while music was playing; large pieces were scattered on a grassy area up for auction and abstract installations were placed throughout the festival.
Being inspired by speakers, seeing artists passionately at work (and play), meeting genuine people radiating with positive energy and being surrounded by natural beauty is a unique experience. Whichever system of energy you believe in, being in that zone for a full weekend helps open everything up and allows energy to flow freely throughout each center. The result is an expanded version of self that doesn’t grasp for or resist things. This energy expands the mind, stretches the limits of what’s possible and aids in deconstructing thought patterns.
The challenge is taking this connected, revitalized spirit and pushing forward with it while integrating back into the stresses of day-to-day life. That’s why it’s essential to continuously seek out these experiences to keep our spirits clear while we work toward fulfilling our aspirations.
If you’ve never been to an arts/music festival geared toward consciousness, sustainability and spirituality, I highly recommend it. Here are a few other festivals coming up this summer to keep an eye on:
7/16 – 7/19 Wanderlust Festival – Squaw Valley, CA
Wanderlust is a four-day celebration of mindful living. It features various types of yoga, meditation, hikes, runs, bike rides and speakers. The location of Lake Tahoe with the Sierra Nevada mountains as a backdrop is one I personally recommend.
7/17 – 7/19 Northern Nights Music Festival – Humboldt County, CA
In only its second year, Northern Nights was a recipient of an award from A Greener Festival in 2014. AGF’s requirements for awards are very stringent, and reflect the effort and focus that NNMF has put into making its festival one of the greener festivals on the planet. This year’s festival is loaded with musical talent, art installations, speakers and workshops. The real kicker here is that the campground is nestled in redwoods and sits on the South Fork Eel River – it’s hard to replicate that type of natural atmosphere.
7/17 – 7/19 Woogie Weekend – Silverado, CA
The Do Lab will be returning to its old Lightning in a Bottle home of Oak Canyon Park in Silverado, California to host its newest event, a full weekend of the Woogie Stage’s vibes and artists. Expect people, art and energy comparable to Lightning in a Bottle, but with more dance music.
8/7 – 8/9 Arise Music Festival – Loveland, CO
Yes – that’s the name of a real city. Arise Festival in Colorado features a lot of what other transformational festivals offer – yoga, meditation, workshops, art installations – but has the unique proposition of being located in a Rocky Mountain oasis.
8/7 – 8/10 Shambhala Music Festival – Vancouver, BC
Shambhala has grown from humble beginnings into one of the most touted events in North America. Each of the six stages has a unique theme and is operated by a different stage director, who gets to choose the artists, production and overall vibe of the area. Previous attendees swear by the life-changing experience you gain from the “Shambhalove.”
9/17 – 9/20 Symbiosis Gathering – Oakdale, CA
Attendees of Symbiosis are adamant about the community that’s formed during this four-day event. This year marks its 10th anniversary, with Art Cars & Art Boats, installations, speakers, healers, workshops, live painting and more. Woodward Reservoir is a peninsula surrounded on three sides by a swimming lake, with shoreside camping.