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LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE: A FESTIVAL GUIDE

LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE: A FESTIVAL GUIDE

I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about tips for Lighting In A bottle from people so they can be prepared for what will be an awesome festival weekend. The sold out festival is less than 2 weeks away. To help you prepare, I’d like to tell you a few things that you definitely need to remember to do or bring with you for Lightning In A Bottle.

1. Bring a headlamp When the sun sets at the San Antonio Recreation Area, the sun really sets. You’re so far away from civilization you can see the stars, and because it’s not some organized park, there’s quite seriously some areas of limited light. A handsfree headlamp will come in handy for so many reasons.

For one, the festival requires some hiking up and down hills to get from camping areas to the main festivities, and doing so in the dark can become pretty dangerous. Second, when you are getting ready in your tent, or run back alone to find your sweatshirt, it’s a lot easier to sift through your things with both hands and the light on your head. It gets frustrating really fast having to hold a flashlight and try to find something. Third, that porta-potty is a scary, smelly place in the dark. You’ll love your handsfree flashlight in there so you can properly balance and do what you need to do. 

My headlamp I purchased at Target for $10. It works just fine, I haven’t had to replace the battery yet (just about a year old), and I love how small it is so I can tuck it in my backpack for whenever I need it! Trust me, it’s a small investment that will pay back in big ways.

2. Mark your tent

While we’re on the subject of camping at LIB, it’s important to know that it will not be like other festival camping experiences you may have had. This is no Beyond Wonderland or Coachella. Campsites at Lightning In A Bottle aren’t exactly… organized. Well, it’s organized chaos, which at the end of the night doesn’t necessarily bode well for some people. 

Make sure you have some sort of defining characteristic on the outside of your tent cuz a lot of tents look the same in the dark! Maybe it’s a pinwheel or flag, or some LED lights you turn on after the sun sets. You also want to make sure you have a path you remember back to your tent. Try to take the same way in and out during the day to trigger some memories. It’s not like other festivals where there are neat rows of tents. It’s more like clusters of tent communities in various areas.  

3. Bring baby wipes Baby wipes will end up being another unsung hero.  There’s lots of dust since it’s so dry out there, and you might not notice it accumulating on your body. Baby wipes are the easiest way to clean yourself off and take a semi-bath while you wait for shower time. I usually carry them around all day to use to wash my hands or face as I need it, but I also always use them before going to bed at night, so that I feel a bit cleaner in my tent.

The baby wipes are also a great choice if waiting in the shower line isn’t for you. No judgement! Do what you need to do! And use the baby wipes to clean the important bits each day.

While we’re on the subject of camping at LIB, it’s important to know that it will not be like other festival camping experiences you may have had. This is no Beyond Wonderland or Coachella. Campsites at Lightning In A Bottle aren’t exactly… organized. Well, it’s organized chaos, which at the end of the night doesn’t necessarily bode well for some people. 

Make sure you have some sort of defining characteristic on the outside of your tent cuz a lot of tents look the same in the dark! Maybe it’s a pinwheel or flag, or some LED lights you turn on after the sun sets. You also want to make sure you have a path you remember back to your tent. Try to take the same way in and out during the day to trigger some memories. It’s not like other festivals where there are neat rows of tents. It’s more like clusters of tent communities in various areas.  

4. Do as much reading as you can ahead of time There’s tons of activities going on at LIB, and you don’t want to get there and be overwhelmed, honestly that’s how I felt the first year. Try to research beforehand so you can gauge the activities that you want to check out and then be sure to grab a schedule book once you’re there which will be easy to carry around. You want to make time for morning yoga, and some of the lectures on topics you’ve always wanted to discuss.

The full schedule has been released, and can be found here. Don’t be overwhelmed by its size! That’s the benefit to checking it out ahead of time, instead of the day you arrive.

5. Wear good walking shoes The San Antonio Recreation Area isn’t exactly a park, but more of a rocky landscape. The festival is spread up and down hills across the recreation area so you’ll do lots of walking all day long as you go to different activities, not to mention, you’ll probably be dancing all night long. 

Making sure you have the proper shoes is key. Don’t wear a new pair shoes for the first time, and flat sandals won’t offer much protection. While they do have bridges now to connect some of the areas, there still a lot of hiking as you go from your campsite to stages to activities to other unique areas around the festival.

6. Pack clothes for temperature changes It’s hot during the day and drastically cold at night. No exaggeration, we were shivering last year without the proper clothes once the sun set. Something about the sun out there warms your body during the day so much that you can feel it drain out of you at night.

Make sure to pack proper clothes (and any blankets) to sleep with, but also some transitional clothing to wear once the sun sets and you’re still out and about. Everyone gets concerned with the cute little outfit to wear during the day but doesn’t remembered how to take it to the nighttime. Find a nice fluffy jacket, a long coat, leggings (which are easy to layer over whatever you’re wearing), a maxi skirt, socks, pants, whatever it is you’re going to want to put it on. Spirit hoods are always a great option too!

7. Be as sustainable as you can Lightning In A Bottle has won sustainability awards for multiple years in a row. This is because of the efforts they make, and festival goers contribute, to keeping the recreation area beautiful. Take this opportunity to learn about waste with some tips you can take back home with you.

Always clean up after yourself, and take care of any rubbish you see that isn’t yours. Build some good karma points! Be conscious of what you bring to the festival: will it create a lot of landfill? is it something you’re going to want to throw away at the end? Then maybe you should reconsider bringing it. You don’t need everything at this festival.

All around the festival you’ll see bins that give you three options for your waste: compost, recycling or landfill. Make sure to use the proper bin, and if you have questions ask someone nearby who will help you learn how to properly sort. LIB is all about learning new things, and this is a great one to take back to your community! 

All that’s left that you really need to know about Lightning In A Bottle is to go with an open mind. Make some new friends, have some new experiences and enjoy your festival experience! Lightning In A Bottle is more than just music festival, and that’s the key point that I want to take away from this piece. There’s so much more to see, participate in, and learn about that you should never just consider this another music festival or rave. It is so much more.

All photos by Alexa S.


Alexa S
Seeing live music has always been in my top 5 favorite things that I like to do. Ever since I turned 16 and could drive myself I’ve been attending as many live music events as I can. And I love all types of music, from classical piano to dubstep.

TAGS: Alexa S , Chet Faker , festival tips , festival-news , lib , lighting in a bottle , tent camping , the do lab , tips and tricks ,



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