Lightning in a Bottle is taking place in Bradley, CA (about halfway between SF & LA) on Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-28, 2018. The festival is much more than your standard camping festival, but a microcosm of society. Here you make friends with your neighbors, learn ways to help yourself and your community, and have an awakening experience over the course of a weekend.
Feels pretty heavy, right? LiB can feel overwhelming as an event, but I want to help you feel prepared for your arrival at the festival so you’re ready to jump in full force!
My friends and I are pretty organized. We typically have an Excel Google Doc to prep for a festival that is more than one day. We include everything from general info to a packing list. I’ll share some of my tips though here to get you ready to go.
I mean, we can’t be prepping for the event if we don’t have a ticket! So let’s start there. Here’s the link to purchase a ticket to LiB. You have a few options which we can talk through. First of all you’ll need the standard 4-Day Festival Pass. This is your entry to the festival for the whole long weekend. With that, you have the option of adding an Early Arrival Pass so that you can arrive Wednesday. With that pass you won’t have full access to all the camping areas, just the early arrival areas. You can move your stuff though Thursday AM.
Last year we purchased a car camping pass for the first time and it was a huge lifesaver. My tent alone is so heavy that having the opportunity to just unpack right there and set up camp is a huge advantage. You need one car camping pass per car. These are limited in quantity so make sure to get yours ahead of time!
There’s also the option, if you have a HUGE group, to have one car pass loaded with everyone's camping gear, then everyone else can park in the lot and walk over to unload. The campers don’t have to be in the car (unlike some other festivals). Also, there are shuttles to caravan you and your stuff from the general parking area to make it easier. You could of course also walk it, but I mean, my bags are usually heavy. A good tip is to get a wagon though if you plan on doing it this way.
When it comes to packing, we have a list of items in the Google Doc and then assign each item out so we know who is responsible for what. It helps keep us from overpacking and also from forgetting anything! On the main page of our Google Doc is the MUST HAVEs list (ID, phone, credit card/cash, wristband, sunglasses and ear plugs), which is why you won’t see those in this list.
The sections we have are Car, Camping, Food/Drink, Medicine, Toiletries, and Misc. Here are the items we have in each section in case you would like to do the same!
- Who is Driving
- Car topper if you need extra storage (we do since we have 4 people *carpool life* and a decent amount of stuff)
- Tent stakes
- Rubber mallet
- Canopy wall (these are great to block the sun if it’s coming from one side)
- Reflection Emergency Blankets (we also found that adding these outside our tent really keeps the heat out as the sunrises!)
- Air Mattress
- Air Mattress Battery pump (there are also now ones you can plug into your car, but this is what we’ve had for years)
- Extra Batteries for said pump
- Folding or inflatable chairs (trust me, you’re going to want somewhere to sit on, everyone was jealous last year when I was the only one with a "princess" chair)
- Blankets and Pillows
- Trash Bags
- Brown Paper bag to hold trash bags (I do this b/c it holds your trash bag up like a trash can then!)
- Tarp (used under the tent to protect it)
- Duct Tape (cuz you never know)
- Zip Ties (always come in handy for adding stuff to your tent)
- Solar Tent lights (we add these outside our tent so it’s easy to find at night, and then some inside as we fall asleep!)
- Vodka (plastic bottles only)
- Snack Bars
- Other (I’ll be honest, and don’t tell anyone this secret, but sometimes I’ll save my share of a soda or bag of chips from work, for a festival. Combined with all my friends doing the same thing at their offices as well... we save up a lot of snacks instead of having to buy them. SHHH!)
- Gummy Vitamins
- First Aid Kit (Band-aids, moleskin, neosporin etc)
- Bug Spray
- Towel/shower shoes (TBH I don’t shower at events so I save on packing this ish)
- Shampoo/body wash (eco-friendly since you’ll be outside)
- Hair Brush
- Eyelash Glue (we list this separate because it’s so important not to forget!)
- Face Wipes
- Hand Sanitizer (good to carry around in your backpack)
- Baby Wipes AKA Alexa’s Shower (yes, that’s what it says on the list and no, I’m not ashamed.)
- Glitter (Check out Disco Eyes Bio-Degradable Glitter)
- Body Lotion
- Bluetooth Speakers (we got these REALLY cute animal ones that actually sync up so you can play from multiple at once)
- Festival Box (this is my set of 3 plastic paper drawers that holds everything for every event including temporary tattoos, glowsticks, glitter, a pair of scissors, safety pins etc. all the small items that need to be in one place basically)
- Yoga Mat (I’m here and there on this. I don’t do Yoga enough at the festival to warrant it, and they have padded floors for it, so I’m usually ok and just use a towel for my head or something. Saves space and time walking back and forth to your tent to drop it off after yoga)
- Glow sticks
- Reusable Water Bottle or Hydration Pack
- Towel for Lake Swimming
- Water Pitchers (I have some like this that are great to have at your campsite)
Read all my articles and you’ll be good to go.
JUST KIDDING, but I mean, other LIB articles can be super helpful in explaining all the experiences you can have at LiB - including ways to be more green at LiB, LiB 2018, LiB -a festival guide, and LiB 2016 Recap.
Be sure to download the app before heading to the festival as well. My friends and I, since we have a long car ride, usually take turns reading through the 150-ish courses/workshops/lectures available at LiB on the ride into the festival. I also always read myself beforehand because let’s be honest, 150 is a lot, and sometimes you want to look up what “permaculture” means before you lose wifi.
If you’re like me, half the fun is playing dress up. We always theme our nights with our squad before the festival so we can plan! You want to plan ahead as well so that you don’t overpack.
You also want to prepare for what the weather will actually be like. Since I’m obviously writing this article ahead of time, the weather below might not be accurate and check again as we get closer, but right now we’re looking at days of 83 and nights of 48. You want to make sure you have looks that transition at night so you’re warm.
My friends and I usually theme our day looks, then just plan to be warm at night. You can keep your cute look easily by just adding layers under something, or on top. Leggings are a go-to for me to still wear my cute top or dress, then I add a faux fur jacket.