Lightning in a Bottle: Life Changing in a Weekend
10 Jun 2011

The Author

Profile photo of Jessica Dugan
>>>Dream Chaser Activist * Live Music Enthusiast * Cannabis Industry Expert *Sparkle Spreader * Mindfulness Teacher * Yogi Artist with a Mermaid Soul <<<

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To start this fairy tale off appropriately, I’d have to begin by shouting out the biggest THANK YOU ever to the “Do Lab” and recognize them for their superior hard work and heartfelt dedication. Thank you to everyone who took part in making my first Lightning in a Bottle experience the most successful and luxurious festival of my years. Never in my life have I felt so blessed to be part of something so thoughtfully beautiful and conscious.

By the law of attraction, Lightning in a Bottle and I were meant to be together. At a dull point in my life- a place where I felt stuck- I fantasized about my long lost festival friends, conscious vibes, mouthwatering sounds, and feathers in my hair. My mind painted the perfect picture of where I’d like to be, but no manifestations were anywhere in site. One rainy day in April my festival virgin sister, of all people, reached out to me with her desire to attend LIB. Instantly I investigated the festival, elated to find out that my sister was right on point with her first festival choice. As much as I desired to experience what felt like the best dream ever I couldn’t make much of an effort to get there on my next-to-nothing budget. With a little help from my family, and huge pull from the universe, I was on my magical way.

Before I arrived at LIB, I knew I was going for a very specific reason, but wasn’t sure what exactly that reason was.

Lightning in a Bottle’s mission, “ WE WANT YOU, to leave it better, leave it beautiful!” sums up my report in a nutshell, but I won’t leave you with just that tidbit of information. Lightning in a bottle WANTS YOU to leave the event feeling positively impacted, empowered, and connected to your community. And when you do depart, you leave with new tools to pass on and teach others.

Unlike most music festivals, they also ensure that the land was left better and more beautiful than you found it. This is their request to you as an integral part of the community. LIB takes their love for our environment further than a “Leave No Trace policy”. (lightninginabottle.org)

Participating in an impacting, conscious effort like LIB certainly leaves one feeling inspired and more than capable of cleaning up the messes of our world. I mean—really, I paraded loudly around my campsite, sucking on blow pops, dressed like a mermaid, sipping Malibu Bay Breezes out of an alien water bottle, and you would never know human kind stepped foot on our site after we were done. At the end of the fest we piled up our separated compost, trash, and recycling bags into our car and left the land in silence, respecting its natural territory, grateful for the grounds we slept on those past four nights.

I camped at the String Bean Patch in a circle of Aquarians, so the good vibes were on point in our community campsite, Sparkleberry Lane.  More than lots of love to my Arizona crew: Shannon, Matt, and Alyssa, fire goddess Becca and her acrobat boyfriend Alex, power puff kitten Elliot, Joel, Jean, Alex, and Drew, for brightening up my stay at the beautiful Oak Canyon Ranch. Together at camp Sparkleberry we shared laughs, massages, and knowledge. We learned together that education is crucial and that there is ALWAYS more room to grow.  It’s not about choosing wisely, but educating and raising your own personal awareness. We live in a society that wants us to conform and mold to the system, but that is not our purpose! We were born to thrive and survive in peace and my Memorial Day weekend crew helped exemplify this. Thank you camp Sparkleberry!

Believe it or not, music seemed like a bonus at this festival, as the talent that impressed me the most came from the intelligent speakers who spoke on a range of  topics, my favorite being one on financial stability in our society. Alexis Neely had me in tears and the power of her words will forever beat repeatedly in my heart.  Never have I ever been so moved to follow my “money map to freedom” and break my “Corporate Cathy” habits.  Raw talents included, but are not limited to, speeches on: “The Evolution of Sexuality”, “The Effect of Overpopulation on Planet Earth”, “Plastic Pollution: What You “Can Do”, “Galactic Initiation: Humanity’s Transition to an Interplanetary Species”, and “Healing Our Vessels Through Nutrition and Essential Oils”. It seems that everyone left LIB a little more wise. Even if you missed all the speeches, learning was inevitable as even each door of the porta potties wore a hard fact on the importance of recycling.

Each artist, musician, speaker, volunteer, teacher and attendee came together to provide the most beneficial experience possible. Yoga and meditation classes were held regularly throughout the day and taught by some of the best teachers on the West side of our country. I participated in two classes, locking my body with energy to continue the fest at my greatest potential both mentally and physically.

The food was another delicious encounter at LIB. I knew going into the fest that I was about to taste some of the best vegetarian friendly food known to man, so I came ready to eat! For breakfast I indulged in fresh squeezed lime aid and a delicious breakfast burrito that I still crave to this day! By lunchtime I helped myself to a gourmet grilled cheese stuffed with spinach and tomatoes, veggie burgers, and the most scrumptious fish and corn and pineapple tacos. Yummy! At dinner I shared a “Full of Life” flat bread pizza and possibly the world’s best vegetarian chili and corn bread.  Juices of all kinds circulated the festival grounds too. Have you ever, at a festival, sipped a fresh coconut? What about a fresh squeezed Arnold Palmer?

Never have I consecutively eaten so well, who would have thought this was possible at a fest?

The magic in the music was just as perfect as everything else at the festival. Early on I knew that it didn’t matter where I was or who I was seeing. Of course I wanted to hit up some main acts but because I knew that everything at LIB was done so perfectly, I knew that wherever I was and whomever I was seeing I was sure to be completely satisfied. The stage design alone could easily fulfill any eye candy junkie’s needs.  The Lightning stage hosted all the headliners and was surrounded by what looked like magnified lasers, beaming with fluorescent colors. My first musical encounter appeared Thursday night at this stage, offering me a sneak peak at a very theatrical Lucent Dossier Experience, where a brunette goddess performed acrobats around a steel crescent moon that hung from the stage. Beneath her, fire hoops spun on the floor and dancers fiercely rehearsed for Saturday’s performance.

Friday began with a mellow funk act at the Temple of Consciousness, Cello Joe.  It’s as simple as it sounds, just Joe and his cello, his fly beat boxing skills, and some kickass turntable artist in the backdrop. The Temple of Consciousness was a special place created for peace and wonder. Fabrics of all patterns and colors hung in every direction, and peacock feathers were displayed in genie bottle jars. Decoration trinkets hung from trees and teepees were interiorly designed with monkey skulls and animal bones, all with thought provoking, idea generating purposes.  No picture will do it justice, but I will try!

Moving through the afternoon and one yoga class later, I caught up with a good friend of Sparkleberry Lane’s: The Malah, followed by a beautiful sunset show with Emancipator, complete with a phat “Bombs over Baghdad” mix. After Emancipator, we navigated ourselves to The Lightning stage for Dub Kirtan Allstars, created by David Starfire and FreQ Nasty . Dub Kirtan Allstars fuses underground dance music with the Yoga Kirtan, the call and response chant of devotional Indian traditions. At first I was a bit weary, but after falling in to the trance of the chants, I was repeating the chorus with the crowd and it felt incredible.  During the set there was a screen in the background that provided the chants’ lyrics for all and any to enjoy the power of sound.

After Dub Kirtan Allstars, Random Rab began setting up and I met my three favorite people of the fest! (Special shout out to my homies Kurtis, Kiel, and Troy: much love!) Random Rab softly spoke to us in waves of sound vibrations. His gentle stage presence was illuminated with a rotating three-dimensional cube called the Infinidroid. The Infinidroid  spun around and continuously reflected spirals of color and designs.

Once Rab was finished, my new posse and I traveled through the mazes of jaw dropping live art which was in constant creation throughout the fest, across a lit up bridge that lied on a glowing lake, and back to the orange domed Bamboo Stage where Panty Raid was bumping down fantastic sound. After we raided his noise we traveled back through the museum of outdoor art and to the Lightning stage for Mimosa. Mimosa threw it down like never before and brought the ghetto funk out in each and every one of us hippie-dancing souls.  At only 23 years old, Mimosa stole the gold, perfectly mixing ground humping, Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne, and Tupac.

Saturday kicked off perfectly with a down tempo organic dub feature from Phutureprimitive followed by one of my favorite acts at the festival, Octopus Nebula. After experiencing what definitely felt like the depths of the sea, Heyoka gifted us with his vibes during Saturday’s sunset. As the sky melted upon our faces like freshly sliced grapefruits, neon green beams radiated through black tree silhouettes. Heyoka’s crunchy dub sound vibrated our ears with gentle orgasms and heavy pleasure preparing us for the night.

Once darkness fell we journeyed through an illuminated playground, decorated with intricate details and larger then life spiders, to El Circo. I was impressed with the calm amongst the crowd here; everyone was sitting and watching in awe. Together we knew Beats Antique would take our breaths away, so we respectfully rested and cuddled on one another’s shoulders. At the beginning of Beats I found myself resting my head at the foot of a live painter creating a glorious realm inspired by his surroundings. I could’ve stayed here forever, but had to witness the madness up front.  By about mid set I navigated towards the front of the stage, allowing goddess and world-renowned belly dancer Zoe Jakes to seduce me with her enchanting moves.  Up front, Belly dancing babes dressed in zombie costumes hypnotized us with death, only to transform into pious creatures, one with the wilderness. The stage presence of Beats was like watching a sand storm of diamonds rich with fierce choreographed madness.

By the time Saki Bomb Sunday had arrived so had Invisible Allies and Lynx! Invisible Allies is a collaboration project between West Coast’s Blutetech and East Coast man KilloWatts, who pleasurably mix organic vibrations with fresh futuristic dribbles. The duo casts a silky beat and successfully achieves an overall aura. Lynx performed like an angel and glowed in every direction from whichever instrument she was playing at the time. Her powerful, yet soft-spoken lyrics sent chills up my spine and joy throughout my mind. Lynx made me feel warm and safe and her ambiance had the entire audience flowing together magically.

Throughout all five days of the festival my purpose and reason for manifesting this experience was completely clear. I was granted this gift, this peace, and this dream so that I may share with you our wonderful world of yes and happiness. I believe this enlightening encounter was made possible so I could report its magic back to each and every one of you. My purpose as a Sparkleberry is to Spread the Sparkle, and my ability to communicate awareness through this outlet brought me to Lightning in a Bottle.

Lightning in a Bottle offers the gift of recharging one’s self in an overwhelmingly polluted world through multiple outlets, including: art, education, community, expression, music, yoga, meditation and much more (…they even have a Hug Deli!)

In four days The Do Lab provides for its attendees a means of growth in our society with an impact that could last a lifetime. I left LIB ready to re-approach my path and break what felt like a never-ending rut. My experience at this event enhanced my belief in the human path and our individual duties here on this planet.

Our destination is ours to choose and our outcome is determined by our dedication and commitment to our community, our realization that knowledge is power, and our ability to dream the impossible and live for tomorrow.

Hydrate your mind, fellow Sparkleberries, because health is happiness!

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