Named the "Greenest Festival in America" for three consecutive years now, Lightning in a Bottle has moved from its prior location in Orange County to Lake Skinner in celebration of its ninth year and will commence next Thursday, July 11, and continue through Monday, July 15.
Beginning as a small, 100-person birthday party for twin brothers and co-founders Jesse and Josh Flemming, the annual party where friends and family gathered to dance, enjoy nature, and ultimately life, grew into an idea that would host roughly 6,000 people.
"As the years went on and all three [of us] brothers moved to Los Angeles (from Pennsylvania), [we] decided [we] wanted to actually turn Lightning in a Bottle into a proper arts and music festival," said Dede Flemming, brother of Josh and Jesse Flemming and executive producer of Lightning in a Bottle (LIB), in a recent email interview.
"In 2005, we spent much of the year looking around Southern California for the perfect piece of property to hold a music festival and we stumbled upon the Live Oak Camp in Santa Ynez, just outside of Santa Barbara," Flemming continued. "After three years of watching the festival grow from 1,200 people to 6,000 people, we moved to a new and larger location on Irvine Lake. Again, after three years of hosting the event there and outgrowing it, we were fortunate enough to find beautiful Lake Skinner."
Located just a few short miles east from Temecula wineries, close to the bustling cities of Murrieta and Menifee, and within easy access of Interstates 15 and 215, it is no wonder that Lake Skinner was chosen as the host site of a festival this size.
"We were so blown away with what we saw on the (Riverside County Parks) website that we jumped in the car that afternoon and made the trek out there. Shortly after, we met with the parks representatives and began the process of seeking approval," said Flemming.
When asked if Lake Skinner would be kept as the host site for the festival for years to come, Flemming replied, "We hope we can make Lake Skinner a long-term home for our event and are planting seeds in the community and are trying to develop lasting relationships and partnerships. We don’t want to be a group that just comes in and throws an event and then leaves town for the rest of the year. We want to not just be good neighbors but also members in the community."
"Everyone we talk with and deal with has been genuinely excited to see what we’re up to. There are some skeptics out there and we completely understand as we’re not a traditional group putting on a traditional event. That said, we’re confident that people will be pleasantly surprised after seeing what we do and what we bring to the community," Flemming continued.
As stated before, Lightning in a Bottle is most definitely not your traditional event. The festival features over 100 industry leading musicians and performers, a sanctuary for participants to enrich the soul and spirit called The Lucent Temple of Consciousness, and over 300 various experiences in yoga, workshops, speakers, and exotic world music.
Due to the larger space that Lake Skinner provides, another yoga area called the "Learning Kitchen" for food-based workshops was added, along with a primitive skills workshop area called "The Village," and plenty of more art.
Lightning in a Bottle is an all ages, family friendly event that features specific areas and workshops geared towards a younger audience and family interaction.
"Families are a huge part of the event and the overall vibe we’re trying to create," said Flemming. "We have a designated family camp which makes it easy for parents and more enjoyable for kids, as well as a ‘Kidz Village’ which hosts workshops, crafts and games for the kids and parents, a kid-inspired parade through the festival, talent shows, and more."
One of the larger aspects that Lightning in a Bottle focuses on is yoga.
"Lightning in a Bottle promotes a healthy, sustainable, and conscious lifestyle. People come to experience the music and the art, but there is so much beyond that. For example, you can experience a speaker on sustainability, a workshop on sound healing, and an Ayurvedic cooking class all in the same afternoon. Yoga is a fundamental component of the healthy and conscious lifestyle that LIB promotes. Advertisement
[ Pala Mesa Resort ] Each year we invite remarkable
and diverse yoga teachers for participants to experience. As the festival strives to improve and grow every year, so does the yoga line up," stated Gianna Mia DeFlice – licensed acupuncturist, M.A. Chinese medicine, certified yoga teacher, Theta healer at cityofangelshealing.com, and LIBs Yoga Department Head. DeFlice will be teaching a yoga class at LIB titled "Be your brightest self – yoga to shift your vibration" on Friday, July 12, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m.
With the yoga classes being accessible to those of all levels, LIB is a perfect place to experience the art of yoga, even if it your first time.
"Students are bound to stumble upon some of the best yoga teachers in Southern California (at LIB). Because of the artistic nature of the festival, teachers let their creativity shine and push the boundaries of the traditional class format. Every year LIB gets beginners excited about yoga," said DeFlice.
On top of the enthralling performance acts, health-inducing workshops, and fun, family play, LIB is a "green" festival and strives to leave as little of a footprint as possible. LIB promotes the inspiration within attendees to take action for positive, lasting, and sustainable change in the environment, community, and greater good.
"All of the events generators, carts, heavy equipment and trucks run off of locally sourced bio fuels. The festival doesn’t offer the wasteful plastic water bottles at the event but instead has committed to giving all of the attendees free water from filtered water stations around site. We even go as far as separating every piece of trash, recycling, and compost before it leaves the festival. Oh, and all of the food vendors are required to use compostable cutlery and plates at the event so as little waste hits the landfills as possible," said Flemming.
The Free Water Initiative – where free water from filtered water stations is offered throughout the festival grounds – began with the first hand realization of the high cost of water sold at festivals and the large amounts of waste generated by plastic bottles.
"We couldn’t tell ourselves we were trying to be a ‘green’ festival and still allow that wasteful practice to continue," said Flemming.
Instead, LIB will be selling non-plastic water bottles and suggests that attendees bring their own. Plastic bottles will not be sold and LIB asks that no plastic bottles are brought to the event.
Additional water initiatives include an on site Environmental Impact Assessment report, bathroom faucets adjusted to low flow settings, and grey water from showers used to control air pollution by being sprayed on the grounds.
According to Shena Jade Jenson, sustainability director, "The Environmental Impact Assessment is a high level evaluation of the possible impacts LIB may have on the land, water, species, and surrounding community, performed by professionals who focus on Environmental Management & Planning, and Conservation Biology.
"It is a voluntary action taken by the Do Lab so we can understand any impacts we may have and mitigate them as appropriate. Some categories evaluated in the assessment include any possible impacts to air quality, water quality, biological resources, local habitats and migration patterns, soils, noise, and traffic. Because the location is already developed and used for large scale events, it is a good choice for our event in terms of the low likelihood of having any negative impact on the environment.
"The assessment helps us understand if there are any extra precautions we can take to ensure that we are low impact. It was already completed in preparation for the event, and we are happy that there are no red flags to be concerned about."
Lightning in a Bottle is much more than an arts and music festival. It’s a participatory event where by simply being present, you are a part of the festival. The goal of the festival is to inspire you to want to do something.
"If people leave and simply say, ‘Wow! What an amazing experience!’ we’re happy. But what we really strive for is that people take some of what they experienced home with them and find ways to better the world with the tools, tidbits of knowledge, and relationships they created while at LIB," said Flemming. "So much of what we do is community building and every year we get to see the results of that first hand."