Now, let me point out from the get go that I am not a music festival person per se. Huge music festivals often fall into the trap of more vibe than music, which is awesome for people looking for a good vibe but maybe not such an awesome venue to see your favorite band ever surrounded by mud and screaming people who’ve never heard of them, all of which at a timeslot conflicting with your other second favorite band who you really wanted to see too.
But niche festivals like Lightning in a Bottle are different. First and foremost, the LIB performances are pretty well spread out as far as I can tell. Secondly, the whole shebang feels extremely Californian, which I dig. West coasters like PANTyRAiD, Tycho, Eskmo, ChrisB, Desert Dwellers, Goldroom, Sex Pixels, and I’m sure several others I didn’t recognize will all be there rocking everything from glitch hop to downtempo. I can support a local festival that supports my friends and their friends. Finally, it’s not just a music festival. There are workshops and seminars on everything from green living to African mythology. Well, actually I can see how those two things can be related, but like, there’s one called “Tits & Asstrology”. So, yeah. That happened.
Anyway, with workshops sporting such colorful titles as “Magic in the Mandala” and “Cosmic Sound Concert” it’s all a bit like bringing Venice Beach to Temecula, which is chill, and plus there’s a didgeridoo class! How cool is that? I totally want to go to that. But what I really started thinking about while looking up this festival is the convergence the ever-evolving DIY mentality has taken us to. How different is a workshop teaching you to build your own green home out of natural materials than learning to program your own MIDI controller through an Arduino, really? In fact, my brother once helped green up his home by turning his window blinds into robots that opened and closed with the sun, and he did that with an Arduino for less than $30. See? Same thing. Basically.
Going even deeper, recalling the common dilemma of being less the music and more the vibe, in this case LIB has done an excellent job of having one support the other. The type of people interested in future music are also those interested in future in general, in abstractions of truths like astrology and whatever a cosmic concert means to them. Because thinking of the future by definition means you can’t rely on the status quo. This festival has put together music, seminars, and workshops all for a demographic who are trying to think a little ahead of what’s accepted. There’s a lurking problem with ego in that previous statement, but in this case I think overall it’s quantifiably true, whether the ego thing will end up being properly mitigated or not.
The DIY future is impending. Everyone knows it. As technology becomes cheaper and information more accessible, nothing we now consider “normal” will be safe. LIB has chosen which end of the spectrum they’d like to be on: the electro-future thinkers full of didgeridoos and asstrology. I think I can support that.