The Ultimate Guide to Lightning in a Bottle

Lightning in a Bottle 2016

The Basics

Location: San Antonio Recreation Area, Bradley, CA

Date: May 24-29, 2017

Price: 3 day GA – $290 (+ taxes and fees) | PURCHASE TIX

Camping: Yes

Camping Price: Car – $130 | RV – $355-$725 (+ taxes and fees)

Genre: EDM


What to Expect

Lightning in a Bottle is a body, soul, and mind immersive experience. The creators that bring the magic come from the Do Lab which you may have heard of if you attended Coachella in the past. The Do Lab always has a stage set up at Coachella, so imagine that stage as an entire festival. Beautiful. If Burning Man and Coachella had a lovechild, it would be Lightning in a Bottle. Expect the unexpected and find yourself at this festival.

The Do Lab does such an incredible job with this festival by providing immaculate art, music, workshops, yoga, and other things while remaining environmentally conscious and promoting goers to be cautious of their environmental impact. Any past attendee, including myself, can attest to Lightning in a Bottle being one of the best experiences they have ever had and likely continue to go back year after year. Go with the flow and embrace anything that gets thrown at you! 

Update (3/1/2017): LIB Lake is at 49% capacity!!! This is SO exciting because there was not a single drip of water when I attended in 2015. Three cheers for the environment!

Where to Stay

Lightning in a Bottle is a strictly camping festival. There are no hotels or any buildings nearby. Make sure you have plenty of gas beforehand. You are in the middle of nowhere California which is perfect for the weekend to disconnect you from reality.

Camping is automatically included when purchasing a ticket, but you are able to add a car camping pass or if you are extra fancy, you can bring an RV. I would recommend getting a group together to purchase a car camping pass because you will have to lug all your stuff from the parking area into a shuttle into your campsite and back. If you really hate bringing your own tent and roughing it, there are options for luxury camping at an additional price.

This festival is the BEST for camping. No scanning your wristbands in and out as you go back and forth to your camp because Lightning in a Bottle is alive 24 hours and you are camping within the festival. Once you drive in, you’re in and there are no boundaries on what you can do! 

CAMPING TIP: Bring tapestries, balloons, chairs, and other fun stuff to decorate your campsite and an EZ up! As soon as you see the festival, you will wish to have a home base as colorful and vibrant instead of a drab green tent standing alone among the rest. Hanging out at camp is part of the fun, so make a cool place to invite all your newfound friends! 

What to Wear

There really is no judgement at Lightning. Feel free to where whatever you want, and you are likely to get away with nothing at all but I don’t condone it unless you want dirt and stickies in your nether regions. Costumes, bright colors, bathing suits, fun pants, face paint, glitter, etc. You will most likely see the women on stilts dressed up as different animals roaming through the crowd. Be free, be funky, be you! Just make sure nothing restricts you from dancing your heart out. Keep in mind, it gets hot during the day and really cold at night. I wore a big sweater and sweatpants during the night sets as if I was in my bed binge-watching Netflix, like I said, it is not a fashion contest! Lol.


Techno, trap, trance, deep house… You can find every kind of EDM at Lightning in a Bottle. Not as intense as EDC though, headliners in the past consisted of RL Grime, Odesza, Flume, Big Gigantic, Chet Faker, etc and I doubt Flosstradamus will ever make an appearance.

Update (3/7/2017): Bassnectar is headlining this year so let the bassheads come out and play! I saw Bassnectar at Pemberton last year and he is so so so so so so much fun!


Food trucks and booths are set up around the grounds, but food is not the main priority of Lightning in a Bottle. You will be able to find anything you are craving and they have plenty of options for vegetarians, vegans, and other health conscious individuals. 


The art, OH the art! One of the reasons Lightning in a Bottle stood out to me is the amount of cool art installations and pieces to look at and interact with. Artists are live painting murals, you can climb inside the teapots, and the stages are an art piece of their own. Take time to walk around the ground as I’m sure you already will. The art is wonderful, beautiful, magnetic, and transcending. The Mova is the art dome located next to the Thunder Stage which you must step into, trust me. 


Along with the art, food, and music, there are plenty of other things to do at Lightning in a Bottle.

  • Workshops: LIB offers yoga and dance classes throughout the day as well as speakers that talk about everything from cooking to personal experiences of growth and understanding.
  • Silent Disco: The party never ends and as I said earlier LIB is alive 24 hours. You can catch Silent Disco during the really late night/early morning. If you have never silent discoed, check it out! 
  • Meditation Lookout: One of the coolest places to relax at LIB. We took a nap while looking over the entire festival. As its name implies, many people meditate up here so it’s very quiet and peaceful. Make the trek up the hill, you won’t regret it!!
  • Pagoda Bar: Grab some drinks and listen to more music!
  • The Village: Check out the shops set up around the festival to buy a cool new outfit or a crazy tapestry. 


The Do Lab excels as far as production goes. There are three main stages. The Lightning Stage is loud and open with white flags flying overhead to sort of block the beating sun. The bass-heavy Woogie Stage is groovy and inviting with tall, umbrella-like structures scattered around and the DJ booth entangled in the tree. The Thunder Stage rumbles with light, lasers, and sound. When it is going off and you see it from the distance, you are tempted to sprint to the bat-like stage. All three stages look just as cool as they sound. The Temple Stage is not a main stage, but it is small, intimate and still plays bangers.


  • Light up! …that doesn’t mean your joint, but you can do that too. It gets dark, really dark. Bring a flashlight or headlamp to walk around with and keep a lantern at your camp. The campsites have no form of lighting and neither do the port-a-potties. 
  • Be careful and take care of one another. With the mix of alcohol, drugs, and a lot of stimulation, be sure to take care of your body, know your limits, and watch out for your friends. Lightning is a safe place and the medical tents are there to help you. If you see a stranger that is unwell, help them out too! At Lightning in a Bottle, you become part of a community as soon as you buy your ticket. 
  • Bring baby wipes, dry shampoo, and any other hygienic products! Showers are pricey and if you are as cheap as me, you would rather stay dirty for five days. By the end of the weekend, my hair stuck in a bun without a hair tie and I had a pretty thick layer of dirt molding my entire body.
  • Pack warm clothes and blankets! It got surprisingly colder than I expected and I woke up shivering because my measly blanket did not do its job.
  • Portable chargers and disposable cameras! While I had absolutely no service, my phone is my camera and it died on the first day. I have two pictures to prove I went to Lightning in a Bottle in 2015. I believe there may be charging stations now but don’t quote me on this… Or just bring a disposable camera and ditch the phone!

Past Lineups

Written By
More from Casey Berg

The Burner Diaries: Gemini

Ranger Gemini Burning Man: 15 years What is it like being a...
Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *